Friday, April 24, 2009

The "Imitation Draft"

I had an amazing idea. With the National Football League Draft starting this weekend, I could make predictions on who I thought each team would pick with their first-round selections. How genius is that? I can’t believe I am the first person to think of this. And I even came up with a name; the “Imitation Draft”. Nice, huh? You would assume that the internet and sports-television would just be enamored with this idea, continually beating it into the ground like a fence post in the desert. But, I guess not. The only thing is, I don’t think “Imitation Draft” sounds exactly right. There has to be another word that fits in there better...

Without further ado, the First Round of the 2009 NFL Draft:

#1: Detroit Lions – Michael Crabtree (WR-Texas Tech): Drafting wide receivers is what the Lions do. Every year, the Lions go back to the wideout position, regardless of how many times they have been screwed over and publicly humiliated by those picks in the past. It’s very similar to the Heidi-Spencer relationship.

#2: St. Louis RamsOctomom (and all her kids): The Rams need a lot of help before they can get back on the right track. With this pick, they basically get 8 young prospects for the price of one. It’s a can’t miss.

#3: Kansas City Chiefs – Josh McDaniels (former Denver Broncos head coach): After two months of uncontrollable sobbing, the McDaniels/Matt Cassell bromance is back in full swing.

#4: Seattle Seahawks – Dr. Frasier Crane (Seattle radio psychiatrist): He has a good relationship with the media.

#5: Cleveland Browns – A soon-to-be crappy and disgruntled pass catcher or currently overrated and soon-to-be crappy quarterback. (Name and Position to be determined): The standard has been set. No need for a new coach to come in and change everything up.

#6: Cincinnati Bengals – Andre Smith (Offensive Tackle-Alabama): I keep having these flashes into the future, like Desmond on “Lost”, in which I see the Bengals drafting the moody offensive lineman. He already left the combine early without telling anyone, and he recently fired his agent. And after the Bengals pick him, I can just picture Smith holding out all of training camp, coming in to pre-season like 67 pounds overweight, shredding a knee in his first practice, and then riding around Northern Kentucky for the rest of the season with Tank Johnson, Chris Henry, Cedric Benson, and god knows what in the trunk of that car.

#7: Oakland Raiders – Pat White (QB/WR-West Virginia): The former WVU QB will most likely be some type of QB/WR hybrid in the NFL. And despite the fact that he isn’t scheduled to come off the board until the middle rounds, Al Davis loves his raw speed and skill too much to pass up on him. Plus Al’s getting old, and he doesn’t know if he’ll be around for the third or fourth round.

#8: Jacksonville Jaguars – Percy Harvin (WR-Florida): Former Jags receiver Matt Jones was cut this offseason, mainly due to his problems with drugs and alcohol, most notably cocaine. And since Harvin just tested positive for marijuana at the combine, the Jags felt this would be a good stepping-stone to ease into their selection of a non-drug-using wideout in next year’s draft. I mean, you don’t want put the cart before the horse. Am I right or am I right?

#9: Green Bay Packers – Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR-Maryland): C’mon, this one is too easy. Heyward-Bey….Green Bay. Heyward-Bey in Green Bay. Heyward-Bey scores for Green Bay. Green Bay drafts Heyward-Bey. How could the Packers pass up on this?

#10: San Francisco 49ers – Barry Bonds (Free Agent Outfielder-Major League Baseball): No team in the majors will give Barry a spot on the team, so the former slugger is still just hanging around San Fran. Plus, with all the “test-free” off-time he has had, I’m sure he’s big enough to be an offensive tackle by now, which the Niners could really use.

#11: Buffalo Bills – Jeremy Maclin (WR-Missouri): Newly-acquired Terrell Owens knows he doesn’t have much longer in the NFL, so he needs a young, talented receiver that he can corrupt and groom in his own image, Obi-Wan Kenobi style. “Use the force, Jeremy. This is not the scandal you’re looking for.”

#12: Denver Broncos – Nick Saban (Head Coach-Alabama): After the whole situation with Josh McDaniels lying about his desire to trade Jay Cutler, the Broncos were glad when the Chiefs took him off their hands. Plus, now they can bring in a guy like Saban, who really prides himself on honesty.

#13: Washington Redskins – Barack Obama (President-United States): Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is notorious for going after big-name guys. Plus Obama lives right there in D.C., so he should be able to find the time during the season.

#14: New Orleans Saints – Ray-J (Rapper): Well, Ray-J was reality star Kim Kardashian's boyfriend when they made their infamous “sex tape”, but Kim is currently dating Saints running back Reggie Bush. Does anyone else smell a new VH1 reality show?

#15: Houston Texans – Hakeem Nicks (WR-North Carolina): It worked for Houston when the Rockets drafted Hakeem Olajuwon, so why not try it again?

#16: San Diego ChargersMiss California (California Contestant-Miss USA): Everyone deserves a second chance. However, blogger Perez Hilton probably won’t be giving the Chargers a very strong draft grade.

#17: New York Jets – Mark Sanchez (QB-Southern Cal): The Jets will be thrilled when this up-and-coming QB drops all the way to the mid-first round. However, his debut will have to be put on hold when a certain someone decides he might, kinda, maybe, sorta want to make a comeback.

#18: Denver Broncos – John Elway (Retired Broncos QB): He doesn’t seem so old and washed-up when you put him next to the Broncos other QBs.

#19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay Rays (Everyone on the roster): Maybe lightning can strike twice.

#20: Detroit Lions – Aaron Curry (LB-Wake Forest): Curry is considered the safest pick in this years draft class, so the Lions are determined to prove everyone wrong.

#21: Philadelphia Eagles – Rocky Balboa (Former Heavyweight Champion of the World): The local hero has proven he can make a comeback as a boxer, but everyone wants to see if he can make it in the NFL. Rocky isn’t so sure, but he’s going to go ahead and try it anyways. Why? Because going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life. (Rocky IV)

#22: Minnesota Vikings – Flavor Flav (Rapper and Reality TV Star): He already has the uniform covered.

#23: New England Patriots – Gisele Bundchen (International Supermodel): Tom Brady asked management if they could draft his new bride, and when he introduced Gisele to everyone in the front office, they had a hard time finding a reason not to.

#24: Atlanta Falcons – Travis (The kid from “Old Yeller”): What? Too soon? Yeah, you’re right, it’s probably too soon.

#25: Miami Dolphins – Knowshon Moreno (RB-Georgia): I’m just praying this happens, so that at some point, this conversation will actually take place: (Ricky Williams and Chad Pennington in the Dolphins weight room)
Ricky: Yo Chad, who’d we draft?
Pennington: Knowshon.
Ricky: Nope, I don’t know him. Who’s Shawn?
Pennington: No you idiot, Knowshon.
Ricky: So we didn’t draft Shawn?
Pennigton: No, I just said that. We drafted Knowshon.
Ricky: Ok, we didn’t draft Shawn. But why can’t you just tell me the name of the guy we did draft?

#26: Baltimore Ravens: Rey Maulaluga (LB-Southern Cal): I think an annoying, over-the-top, attention hogging linebacker named Rey (or Ray) is the one thing this team really needs.

#27: Indianapolis Colts – The Jonas Brothers (Band and Teen Heartthrobs): With Marvin Harrison gone and Peyton Manning starting to hit the twilight of his career, the Colts want to start attracting a younger, less gender-biased fan base.

#28: Buffalo Bills – Drew Rosenhouse (Terrell Owens' agent): Hold on to your hats, Buffalo. This is only the beginning.

#29: New York Giants – Harris Smith (WR/Applebee’s regular): Word on the street is that he’s a big fan of the Fiesta Lime Chicken.

#30: Tennessee Titans – Dr. Drew (Celebrity Rehab Doctor): Vince Young is gonna be just fine.

#31: Arizona Cardinals – John McCain (US Senator-Arizona): Once word got out that the Redskins drafted Obama, McCain was just itching to get his shot at revenge.

#32: Pittsburgh SteelersSome mediocre or average player that everyone in Pittsburgh and the sports media will deify and talk about non-stop until everyone else in the entire world just wants awful, terrible things to happen to them. (Name and Position to be determined): All you Steelers fans can go blow it out your…

I’m sorry, but that is all the time we have for the First Round. Enjoy the “Real Draft.”

Thanks for reading

Monday, April 20, 2009

MORE Random Thoughts in My Head

So you’re sitting there, barely surviving another mundane day of work or suffering through those incredibly boring classes, and to your surprise you see…A NEW RANDOM THOUGHTS BLOG!!!! Now freeze-it! That look – the one on your face right now – that’s my gift to you. And because of this, I’d like to personally apologize in advance. Unfortunately there will be no returns or refunds. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Remember, these are my actual thoughts, the ones that waste away the precious minutes and hours of my fleeting life. Enjoy.

If all the mothers and fathers out there actually knew what Flo Rida was saying through the radio speakers and iPods of their teenage daughters, how long would it be before Mr. Rida was mysteriously found dead and washed up on the side of a river bank? I say we set the over-under at 43 minutes.

I watched the recent 60 Minutes episode where they interviewed LeBron James, and I found something incredibly shocking. They reported that in his senior year of high school, LeBron was voted as “Most Likely To Succeed” by the rest of his class. Wow. Those St. Vincent-St. Mary kids really went out on a limb, didn’t they? That one was almost as easy as Clay Aiken’s classmates voting him “Most Likely To Be…Second Place on American Idol.” What? Did you think I was going somewhere else with that one?

If it were at all possible to make it illegal for an individual to talk – and not just in public, but anywhere – the first person our government would try and institute this law on would be Spencer from The Hills. Hands-down, no questions asked. But in case you were wondering, Tyra Banks would finish a pretty close 2nd place.

The newest U2 album, No Line On The Horizon, was released a few weeks ago, and I must say that it is very good. In my opinion, it is their best release since Achtung Baby in 1991, and it’s probably in the early running for best album of the year. But that’s not the issue I want to look at. What intrigues me the most is the longevity of Bono’s voice through U2’s thirty years of existence. From Boy in 1980 to No Line in 2009, Bono has maintained his righteous pipes, making me slightly curious. In these current times, no man is above suspicion, which is why I feel that someone really needs to look into the possibility of Bono being on performance-enhancing drugs. And if we’re really serious about cleaning up this problem, then we have to punish him for any exposures of guilt. I’m thinking something along the lines of a suspension from his sunglasses.

I’ve never done cocaine before, but I imagine it’s something very similar to being a passionate follower of the television show Lost.

Speaking of television, Friday Night Lights was recently renewed for 2 more seasons. This new development has left me rather perplexed at how the creators of the show plan to come up with two extra years of high school eligibility for Tim Riggins. I don’t know how they’re going to do it yet, but I’ll figure it out eventually. And as if you haven’t already figured it out, I do have a massive man-crush on Taylor Kitsch, the actor who portrays Tim Riggins on the show. Now, it’s not like an extremely weird, “Single White Female” man-crush or anything creepy like that. That would be really awkward. It’s just a simple, mildly weird, very slightly “Single White Female” type of man-crush…and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing. And even though my infatuation with Kitsch is completely (repeat: COMPLETELY) normal, he is in fact not my #1 Celebrity Crush. So, since I know you are just dying to find out who is Numero Uno, I’ll lay out my Fave Five for you.

Justin’s Non-Stalkerish Fave Five Celebrity Crushes:

#5: Mila Kunis – The “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “That 70’s Show” star seems like a really sweet girl with a unique and interesting personality, and that’s what really attracts me to her the most.

#4: Taylor Kitsch – I’d prefer not to talk about this one anymore than I already have.

#3: Lauren Conrad – "The Hills" star has let America into her life for the past 4 or 5 years, and I have to admit that I have been right there watching it all unfold. And, I’ve never blogged anything mean or snarky about her either, so I bet I’m just the guy she’s looking for.

#2: Jennifer Anniston – She’s almost old enough to be my mom, but I don’t care. I’ve always had a huge crush on her. In fact, she held the top-spot on this list for a long time, until…

#1: Freida Pinto – I am determined to tie the knot with this up-and-coming, knockout actress and star of "Slumdog Millionaire" for either my second or third marriage, depending on how things pan out for me. Just wait. You’ll see.

And while I’m on the subject of celebrities, I might as well share my thoughts on Miley Cyrus. Miley has been traveling down this trail as “America’s Sweetheart” for quite a while now, taking the country by storm and living as a positive role model for the many young girls that admire and look-up to her. So, obviously, this means that she is heading straight for a huge breakdown and a MAJOR scandal. I don’t support it, but it’s just how the system works. And since this MAJOR scandal is inevitable, I figure Vegas might as well set some betting lines for what this public humiliation might be. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? I’m thinking something along the lines of 5-1 odds for a DUI, 10-1 she’s arrested for possession of crack-cocaine, 25-1 for a surprise pregnancy, 100-1 that she’s paying someone under the table to put a hit on Billy Rae, and 350-1 that the paparazzi catch her leaving Jack Nicholson’s house at like 3:30 AM one morning. You could even parlay some of the odds (such as a DUI and simultaneous arrest for possession of crack-cocaine) and really clean up. I mean, we know something big is just waiting to happen; I say we should at least be able to make some money off of it.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll probably spend the next few days doing some de-compressing before I get back to having thoughts and ideas on a regular basis.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

The Masters Tournament has been a trademark of early April since 1934. It is one of four “major championships” that are held for professional male golfers each year, and is always the first major to be played in each golf season. Over the years, the tournament has developed into arguably the most revered and respected in the world of golf, and is even considered to be one of the most prestigious events in all of sports. Winning the Masters automatically puts you into the history books with the greatest golfers of all time and into a select and esteemed club of those that have obtained the tournament prize – the ever-elusive “Green Jacket”. In fact, Angel Cabrera just slipped his arms into one of those emerald blazers this past Sunday, officially kicking the 2009 golf season into high gear. The tournament, held over four days, is played at the immaculate Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia each year, and has come to be dubbed “a tradition unlike any other.” However, for a significant portion of the major’s 73 years of existence, that tradition wasn’t available to everyone. For a long time, the color of one’s skin – regardless of their ability to play golf – determined their opportunity to compete.

In 1974, Lee Elder won the Mansanto Open, gaining him entry into the Masters Tournament the following year. One problem: Augusta National did not allow black golfers to play on its course. Being that Elder was a professional golfer (not a paying customer) and the fact that he had rightfully earned his spot in the field, he was permitted to play at Augusta for the ’75 tournament. He was the first African-American to play in the Masters, and did so 15 years before Augusta actually allowed non-professional blacks to play the course. Elder’s accomplishment was ground-breaking, yet it merely set the stage for what the future would bring.

In 1997, 22 years after Elder had his historic moment, another occurred on the links of the Augusta National Golf Course. A skinny, wide-eyed, 21-year-old kid by the name of Eldrick Woods won the Masters. What made the victory by this young man (better known as “Tiger”) so historic, was that he was distinctly different from every past winner of the Tournament. In fact, the difference was so blatant, you could notice it simply by looking at him: He wasn’t white. Having both African-American and Asian-American descent, Tiger became the first non-white golfer to don the Green Jacket. Tiger Woods became a legend.

Unless you live outside the confines of the Milky Way galaxy, you know full well who Tiger Woods is. He is one of the richest and most recognizable athletes in the universe and has stood atop the world of golf for over a decade, his success unrivaled for this generation of golfers. He is the Michael Jordan of his sport, and has single-handedly made the game relevant in today’s society. In all honesty, his importance to the pastime is almost unfathomable; it’s nearly impossible to describe the man’s significance. Tiger Woods is to the game of golf what Lauren Conrad is to The Hills; sure, there may be other people involved, but he’s the straw that stirs the drink. If Tiger’s not playing, you’re not interested – it’s that simple. But with that said, Woods’ victory at Augusta twelve years ago is even superior to his mere presence in the golf world. He became part of something that was much bigger than any athlete or sporting event, because his win aided a battle that spanned two centuries. Tiger made an incredible break-through in the realm of civil rights and minorities in the United States.

By 1997, African-Americans and other people of color had shredded the great majority of the chains and barriers that had held them down for so many years in this country. However, because they had been so oppressed for so many years, there were an endless amount of things that blacks had yet to accomplish, whether it be in sports or just society in general. Tiger accomplished one of those things, and put himself in some very exclusive territory. In fact, the impact of minorities in sports, like Tiger, has played a major role in the overall progression of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947, Texas-Western University’s basketball team starting all black players against Kentucky in 1966, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos wearing the black gloves at the 1968 Olympics are all events that helped the standings of blacks in this country and served (in many ways) as a few of the many stepping-stones that led to our election of a bi-racial President in 2008, Barack Obama. Tiger Woods’ triumph in 1997 is on level with those other historic moments in sports, and yet it doesn’t seem to get the respect and recognition that it truly deserves.

The issue of race in sports is one that exists in the past, present, and will undoubtedly reside in the future as well. Whether it be something positive - like Tony Dungy becoming the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl - or something negative – like the lack of black head football coaches in the NCAA - the topic is constantly relevant in the athletic realm. And with as much progress that has been made in the area of minorities in sports and the amount of attention that the subject has always collected, it’s rather surprising that Tiger’s win in ’97 isn’t mentioned more often among the likes of Jackie Robinson, the ’68 Olympics, and other big moments for blacks in sports. When you step back and examine the entire of scope of Tiger’s first Green Jacket, it’s astonishing how dramatic that moment was.

At the time, Woods was becoming the face of golf faster than *NSYNC was becoming the face of every teenage girl’s newest obsession. Deemed as a prodigy since he was a toddler, Woods’ moment at Augusta in 1997 did more than just state that he had arrived. The young star was barely old enough to buy a beer, and yet he owned the tournament over the four-day period. Just seven years after Augusta National began allowing blacks entry into their golf club, Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer ever (21) to win the Masters, and in the process broke the 32-year-old, 4-day course record by shooting 18-under par (207 shots) for the tournament. And oh by the way, he just happened to be of African-American and Asian-American descent, making him even more unique than the previous all-white winners of the major.

Becoming the first non-white golfer to win such a prestigious and exclusive event, such as the Masters, was earth-shattering at the time. Woods changed the course of history. He fulfilled the dreams of Lee Elder and Jackie Robinson, and even fulfilled the dreams of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. In just 207 swings, Tiger Woods became legendary.

Since that incredible day 12 years ago, Tiger has continued to do pretty well for himself. He currently has 14 major championships under his belt (including 4 total Masters’ victories), 66 other PGA Tour event wins, and the #1 World Ranking among professional golfers. He was also the highest-paid athlete in 2008, earning a measly $110 million from winnings and endorsements. In many ways, his success may be the reason why his 1997 Masters win isn’t given the attention it deserves. For a man that has been on the Mount Rushmore of athletes for over a decade, his mastery at the game of golf has become almost taken for granted. It’s more of a story when Tiger loses a tournament than when he wins one. We have become so use to his greatness that we expect him to win every time he steps on a course. But his prominence shouldn’t dilute what he was able to achieve. It shouldn’t take away from what he did on April 13 of 1997.

Tiger did more than just make a name for himself. He accomplished something that many people assumed would never occur; he accomplished something that was much larger than he was. Woods embodied an entire race and history of people in this country and put them on his back for 72 holes of golf. Putting on that Green Jacket was a very, very big deal – bigger than any other victory, bigger than the #1 World Ranking, bigger than anything else Woods has ever accomplished. That specific feat is more fit for history books than it is for ESPN Classic. And yet, words on a screen could never do it justice, so I hope you will just take my word for it. Because unfortunately, it may be impossible for Tiger to ever receive the respect that the moment truly deserves. I just hope another $100 million or so for each of the next 10 to 12 years will be enough to make up for it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

All The Single Ladies have made the music of today Dead And Gone

The album is dead.

After rising to prominence in the early- to mid-1960s, the album spent around 40 years on top of the musical world. But now, it is gone, cast aside like stove-popped popcorn and water from the tap. It was forced out to make way for the music world’s next obsession, the “single”, which is no longer running second banana. Consider it the end of an era.

When I say that the “album” is dead, I don’t mean in the sense of the vinyl album (which has been dead for years). By “album” I mean a complete and cohesive work of music, of art, put together to tell a story and serve a purpose in the musical universe - a "CD" in today's modern world. The album, in that sense, has met its demise. Now, the “single” has finally established its dominance after seemingly waiting in the wings all these years. At last, it has grabbed the album by the foot and sent it tumbling down the mountain, destroying one of the truly great aspects of the music art-form altogether. We might as well consider it a modern day Yoko Ono.

There is plenty of blame to go around for why things have turned out this way. The finger can be pointed in numerous directions. Here’s one: The Album is lying dead on the cold, hard floor of the abandoned warehouse, and the iTunes Store is standing over it, holding the smoking gun. Over the past 3 or 4 years, the iTunes Store has risen to unforeseen popularity in today’s society. Anyone that owns an iPod or has iTunes on their computer has essentially free access to the store, and can use it to purchase a number of different products for their laptop, MP3 player, or iPhone. In early 2008, Apple’s iTunes overtook the #1 spot as music retailer in the United States, and has remained there ever since. This was an amazing feat at that time, especially considering that as recently as November of 2005, iTunes was 7th on the U.S. list of top music retailers, and was still only 4th on the list in June of ’07!

This “Tila Tequilla-esque” rise to fame by the iTunes Store can be attributed to many factors (lower prices than most dept. stores, easy access, simple to use), but the most popular draw has been that of the $0.99 single. Practically any song, by practically any artist, from practically any time period can be purchased for less than a dollar by anyone with an IQ over 7.5. This has led to an immense surge in the amount of individual songs purchased by people across the U.S. (and the world), which in turn has made the idea of creating an album archaic and unintelligent. Why buy an entire album for $10-$15 when you can simply by the one or two songs you like the best for a couple of bucks? Why waste your time and money on the songs you may not like or may not want to like when you can just remove them from the process entirely? Music fans saw an opportunity for instant gratification that was both easy and cheap, and they jumped at the chance. iTunes simply reaped the benefits. Pulling the trigger was that easy.

But while iTunes was firing the gun, the artists and musicians of today kept watch at the exits, all while their producers circled the perimeter, keeping an eye out for witnesses. Once the majority of bands and singers realized that the majority of their fans cared only about them making a few good songs – not an entire album’s worth of high-quality, thought-out music – the artists acted accordingly. They decided they might as well only put out a few good songs, and not an entire album’s worth of high-quality, thought-out music. Why revamp the entire inside of the house when all it takes to sell it is a fresh coat of paint on the shutters? Artists were getting as much fame and fortune from doing 25%-35% of the work that they were before. Their producers realized that a few successful tracks were all that was needed to sell their product, so why bother with everything else? A combination of business-savvy and laziness suddenly made their lives a whole lot easier.

But before you jump to your conclusions and indict iTunes and the artists for what has occurred, you better take a good look at the real culprit. Here’s a hint: they are standing in your bathroom, just behind the sink. That’s right, WE are the reason the album is dead. We the consumers are the main reason why the album has apparently breathed its last breath. iTunes pulled the trigger, but we gave them the gun. The artists kept watch, but we told them where to look. We were the Judas in this whole scenario; we may not have actually done the deed, but we betrayed the Album and put it in the hands of those who did. It couldn’t have been done without us, and now we are going to pay. You might not realize it yet, but in time, you will. The art of music is in no way better off with singles at the forefront. And if something isn’t done soon, the music world itself might just go the way of the album.

Now, I will admit that my opinion on this matter may be slightly skewed and biased, being that I am somewhat of an anomaly for my generation. I am a huge fan of the 60s and 70s era of music, when the concept album was at the height of its power. I’m kind of a 63-year-old man trapped in the body of a 19-year-old young adult (a very handsome body, I might add). I fit in better at an AARP Convention than I do at VANS Warped Tour. Nevertheless, my subjectivity doesn’t change the fact that music is far superior with thorough and methodical albums, as opposed to the contrary. I truly believe that making an album – a complete work of music that holds a theme, tells a story, and has a broader, deeper meaning – immensely enhances the quality of music in our society. Otherwise, we just get bogged down with single after single after single, inundated by endless 3-minute hits with little-to-no creativity or variation. Everything is the same. It’s like living in the Playboy Mansion…you know, the Ugly Playboy Mansion. There is no originality, no imagination. There are very few risks taken, very few ideas explored.

Today, artists just churn out a catchy tune with easy lyrics, and the youth eat it up with a spoon. Then, when it comes time to actually release a CD, the artists take their 2 or 3 singles, surround them with 8 or 9 half-assed songs that they know no one will listen to anyways, and call it an album. Wrong. Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles is an album; The Fame by Lady GaGa is not. A bunch of random songs thrown together masquerading as an album is not truly an album. That’s like comparing a newspaper to a novel. One tells numerous different stories, while the other develops a complete account. And while I agree that newspapers have their place in the world, they don’t measure up to the uniqueness and genius that novels offer.

But it would be unfair to say that no one attempts to make albums in today’s society. The artists of older generations (Dylan, Springsteen, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, etc.) still put out the same type of albums they were making 30 years ago, and there are still attempts made by other, more “modern” artists to do the same. Jay-Z’s American Gangster, Cold Play’s Viva La Vida, and the recent U2 release No Line On The Horizon are just a few examples of true concept albums from the past few years. Even Kanye West went with a concept album (which failed miserably) in his 2008 release, 808s & Heartbreak. And though these works might not measure up to Dark Side of the Moon, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, The Who Sell Out, Abbey Road and other great albums of the past, no one really expects them to. They simply serve as proof that a successful album can be made in today’s world, regardless of what genre or style of music one might favor.

With that said, a new path needs to be taken. We are too saturated with artists that only make singles. The last ten songs you bought and put on your iPod are the same ten songs you will hear if you turn on the radio for about 45 minutes. These tracks are so overplayed and beat to death that it’s almost idiotic to waste your money buying them. YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!

Unfortunately it will be hard to turn around at this point. For this reason, the music business, and more specifically, the entertainment media, wants us to believe that we will be better off with a few good singles every month than we would be with a few good albums in the same time period. I pray that you aren’t this na├»ve. Remember, these are the same people that tried to convince us that Jim Belushi would be just as funny as John Belushi, and that Crystal Pepsi would be just as refreshing and successful as the original Pepsi. We have all seen how those assurances panned out. Shame on you if you get fooled again.

Eventually, everyone will just get sick of the singles – the one-punch knockouts – and music will become that hated step-child. We as the consumers need to realize how important the concept of a true album is to the society of music, and then hope that the artists, producers, and retailers all get the message. The album needs a re-birth before music becomes obsolete or extinct. If you love music, you will see what the album brings to the table. If you love music, you will see how much creativity and ingenuity it has to offer. A change is needed, and with a little help, a change is gonna come. I believe in you. Now I just need you to believe me. YES WE CAN!!! YES WE CAN!!!

Thanks for reading