The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles 1967 album Sgt Pepper is often cited as the most influential and important album of all time. In what I consider to be a reactionary backlash to this praise Sgt Pepper is also often cited as one of the most over rated albums of all time.

This year this monumental album turns 40 years old. So where does it stand now? In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the 1 album of all time. It doesn?t fair quite as well on the popular music rating website Rate Your Music where it ranks 27 of all time which is behind four other Beatles classic albums Revolver (#1), Abbey Road (#2), The White Album (#10), and Rubber Soul (#21).

Personally while it?s not my favorite Beatles album (that honor has to go to The White Album) I do believe it is the most important and most influential album of all time and I do rank it above Revolver, Abbey Road, and Rubber Soul.

I?ve heard some people say it doesn?t hold up well with time but I disagree entirely. I think this album is absolutely timeless. I don?t think the songs sound like they are from the 1960s necessarily. They sound like they are from the future and the past simultaneously.

I believe all 13 songs from this album to be absolutely essential to the album and this is a very rare thing. What set this album apart from most of the albums that came before it is that it truly plays like an album. While definitely somewhat in debt to The Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds, Sgt Pepper takes things a big leap forward. In many ways I still feel that Sgt Pepper is the perfect cohesive album. It doesn?t take the ?concept? and wear it thin but it also holds together as one work very well despite, and maybe because, the fact that the songs are of such varying styles.

Song by Song Breakdown:

1 Sgt Pepper

The album starts off with the crowd noise which goes into the first song which shares the same name as the album: ?Sgt Pepper?s Lonely Hearts Club Band.? This is a great song and also sets up the rest of the album as part of this loose concept of watching a band perform. This is all made to come together even more by the later inclusion of the Reprise of this song! Paul McCartney came up with the idea of the Beatles pretending to be this different band. The idea being that they could really branch out into all sorts of different styles with no limitations. They could also break free of their image. There?s quite a few layers to the idea but it?s also a very simple idea that isn?t overbearing unlike some later prog rock attempts at ?concept albums.?

2 With A Little Help From My Friends

This track was written by lead songwriters and singers Paul McCartney and John Lennon specifically for the drummer Ringo Starr to sing. This adds another layer to the lyric ?I get by with a little help from my friends.? This song was a hit for Joe Cocker (his cover version was used on television program The Wonder Years.) It also contains a reference to marijuana with the line ?I get high with a little help from my friends.?

3 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

This song is inspired by LSD in my opinion although Lennon denied this and said it was merely inspired by his son?s painting. Many years later McCartney admitted the influence of LSD on this track. This song is often cited as a prime example of 1960s psychedelic music. Besides the other worldly fantastical lyrics the song has a dreamy quality to both the music and the vocals. This song uses a flange effect on the drums and the bass is very prominent in the mix.

4 Getting Better

There?s so many great things about this track I have a hard time deciding what to talk about first. One thing that really does stand out for me though is use of sitar in this track. It?s subtle and yet very effective. A great example of the sort of unique tracks on this album that don?t really have any direct comparison to anything else in rock music, even to this day. I think the sharp down stroke style used on the guitars in this track has been extremely influential in rock to this day.

5 Fixing A Hole

This is another amazingly unique song that has so many layers and so much to discover. I?m still hearing new things in it now and I must have listened to it over 1000 times. The harmony vocals are absolutely incredible (listen to the right side)

6 She?s Leaving Home

This song features McCartney and Lennon on vocals but no Beatles play in the instrumentation. The song was scored for classical musicians. The twists and turns in this album are startling but they somehow all make sense. So much variety. All beautifully and masterly done.

7 Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite

Lennon got all of the lyrics off of an old circus poster he had. A great example of the avante garde attitude of the Beatles at the time. I like to picture this as the wild place she goes after she leaves home. I don?t hear 60s when I listen to this track. I hear another time, another place. A warped distorted but still very relevant version of our own reality. This song is absolute psychedelic weirdness. It?s overflowing with ideas and imagination. The instrumental breakdown after ?Henry the Horse Dances the Waltz? and at the end of the track includes bits of real circus sounds which were all cut up and taped back together randomly. This type of thing you could do quite easily today with Pro Tools but in 1967 it was a very inventive and creative technique. The way it was done also lends to it a timeless quality that isn?t connected to any particular recording technique or trick. This sort of experimentation has been very influential on countless artists.

8 Within You Without You

This is probably the least popular song on the album amongst your average rock fan because unfortunately too many people have a hard time opening their minds towards other types of music. This song, just like ?She?s Leaving Home?, features no Beatles on the instrumentation. The music is all recorded by Indian musicians under the direction of George Harrison. Harrison sings and wrote the music. This song to me is absolute essential to the album. ?Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite? should have opened your mind a little bit but this one should really blow your mind right out of your head. You are now in a completely different world. This is an album that deftly takes you all over the world with an incredible journey through the middle of your mind. I really don?t think I?m overstating this or exaggerating. I simply feel if you don?t hear this, then you haven?t really listened to this album and fully experienced it. I think in some ways this is the most psychedelic song on the album. It?s a true journey and it?s very beautiful. I believe the laughing at the end of the album symbolizes your average person who laughs at things that are different or thoughtful.

9 When I?m 64

As of this writing Paul McCartney is actually 64. As far as out as the last track takes you, this one places you right back somewhere else entirely. Such a strange trip, isn?t it? This is another song of many on this album that is not guitar based. The Beatles really were experimenting with instrumentation a lot on this album. This instrumental experimentation has been extremely influential on many bands

10 Lovely Rita

This is just an excellent fun song. The lyrics are fantastic. There are so many just out of this world sounds going on, really listen to everything going on in the mix. And for God?s sake, listen to the reverb on those backing vocals. Awesome. I also just absolutely love the way this song ends with all of the weird vocalizations with the delay. They?re just having a great time making this track that enjoyment directly leads right into my ears.

11 Good Morning Good Morning

This is probably my least favorite track on the album if I have to choose one. That being said it?s still a great song. I?m a big fan of the time changes and of Paul McCartney?s searing Hendrix like guitar solo.

12 Sgt Pepper (Reprise)

The sound of a rooster leads directly into a guitar squeal. One of the coolest segues ever. This version of Sgt Pepper is like the first except it rocks a lot harder. This is a great way to tie together the album and lead into the grand finale.

13 A Day In The Life

This may be the greatest song ever written. In my opinion it is just that. Certainly a fantastic way to end an album. The orchestral buildups are genius and perfectly capture the feelings that could never be put into words. The song itself is can sometimes sound deceptively simple but there?s so much nuance. So much you can hear even on the 1000th listen.

The Top 10 Rock Albums Of All Time According To Rateyourmusic.com

I?m a big fan of the site RateYourMusic.com (I?m also a huge fan of the site http://www.MusicByDay.com by the way!) and one thing I really like to look at is the overall charts to see which albums have been the top rated of all time. If you don?t know what RateYourMusic.com is, it?s a site where music lovers (like myself) rate all of the albums they?ve listened to. Some raters also write their own reviews which can be very interesting to read.

This article is a review of the top 10 rock albums listed (removing the jazz albums that are listed in the top 10 because while I do enjoy jazz I don?t feel I know enough about it to really review it.)

1 The Beatles ? Revolver

As a huge Beatles fan I?m definitely glad they have the 1 spot although personally I feel that Revolver has become a bit overrated in the backlash to Sgt Pepper?s supposed overrated-ness! As great as Revolver is (and it is really great) I don?t feel it should rank above either Sgt Pepper or The White Album. That being said the songs on Revolver are truly timeless and beautiful. The album was also extremely groundbreaking and has been almost incalculable in it?s influence.

2 The Beatles ? Abbey Road

I?d personally probably rank Abbey Road as the fourth best Beatles album so I think it?s slightly overrated as well here. It?s still a great album but for my tastes it?s not quite ?far out? enough in comparison to some of the other great Beatles albums. The second side is quite glorious though.

3 Bob Dylan ? Highway 61 Revisited

I?m not sure you could go wrong with about 5 different Dylan albums here. ?Ballad of a Thin Man? is my personal favorite track on this album.

4 Bob Dylan ? Blood on the Tracks

I don?t quite enjoy this Dylan period as much as his 60s stuff. I think I may even prefer his recent trilogy (at least Time Out of Mind & Modern Times) over Blood on the Tracks, not sure why. This is still a great album, don?t get me wrong.

5 The Velvet Underground ? The Velvet Underground & Nico

I?m a fan of The Velvet Underground yet I do think this album is probably a little overrated here.

6 Radiohead ? OK Computer
This album is now nearly 10 years old and it is the most recent album on the list. I certainly believe it belongs on the list, although I think Kid A should be ranked just as high, if not higher!

7 The Beatles ? The Beatles (The White Album)

This is my 1! I would rank this as the greatest album of all time because of it?s expansiveness and how many times I can replay it without ever getting tired of it. It?s not as cohesive as most (any?) of the albums on the top 10 and it has a few tracks that aren?t that great by Beatles standards yet somehow it all just works perfectly together for me.

8 Bob Dylan ? Blonde on Blonde

I?d rank this one over Blood on the Tracks for sure. Not sure vs. Highway 61 Revisited.

9 Bob Dylan ? Bringing it all Back Home

This is the fourth Dylan album on the top 10 to go along with the 3 Beatles albums. It?s no surprise really. There?s really no competition when it comes to who are the two most important acts in rock music history. It?s Dylan and the Beatles.

10 Pink Floyd ? The Dark Side of the Moon

I actually feel this album should probably rank even higher. It?s a timeless psychedelic classic. This album is just about as close to perfection as you can find.

The Justin Timberlake Story

Justin Timberlake was born on January 31, 1981 and is a Grammy Award winning singer. He first became famous as the lead singer of the 1990?s pop band ?N Sync and later released a solo album in 2002 entitled Justified, selling over seven million copies worldwide.

Timberlake was born in Memphis, TN and began his entertainment career as a child, performing on Star Search and having a role in the Disney Channel variety show, The New Mickey Mouse Club. In 1996, Timberlake joined ?N Sync, a five-part boy band that released four platinum albums in the U.S. and holds the record for the highest first week sales in music history, thanks to the strong debut of the group?s No Strings Attached album. In 2002, the group went on hiatus and Timberlake decided to launch a solo career.

In 2002, Timberlake released his debut solo album, Justified with lead single, ?Like I Love You?, a song he performed at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. The album, which had more of an R&B feel to it as opposed to just pop, claimed the 2 spot on the Billboard Top 200, selling an estimated 439,000 copies in its first week of release. The album would go on to sell 3.5 million units in the U.S. and over 7 million worldwide. From 2002 to 2003, Timberlake would tour with Christina Aguilera on her Stripped tour.

Justin Timberlake has recently made an effort to trade his squeaky clean boy band teenage image for more of an edgy, sexualized persona. Since going solo, Timberlake as also collaborated with the Black Eyed Peas, Nelly, and Snoop Dogg. Timberlake?s biggest run-in with controversy came during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in February of 2004. Performing with Janet Jackson in front of a TV audience of over 140 million viewers, Timberlake ripped off a part of Jackson?s black leather costume in a ?costume reveal? meant to go along with a portion of his song?s (?Rock Your Body?) lyrics, ?better have you naked by the end of this song?. The incident, referred to as the ?wardrobe malfunction? was replayed countless times by the media.

In 2004, both Timberlake and Jackson were banned from the 2004 Grammy Awards, unless they consented to apologize for the ?wardrobe malfunction? at the event. While Jackson declined, Timberlake attended and issued a scripted apology. That very night, Timberlake would take home two Grammy Awards, one for Best Pop Vocal Album for Justified and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for ?Cry Me a River?. In the following year, Timberlake took a break from singing for a couple months to recover from an operation that removed nodules from his throat. In the summer of 2005, he founded his own record company, JayTee records. Timberlake also co-owns his own clothing line, William Rast, along with his close friend, Trace Ayala. Timberlake is currently dating popular actress, Cameron Diaz.

Timberlake is also an aspiring actor. He played a model in the 2000 made-for-TV film, Model Behavior, and in the following year, made an appearance in the film, On the Line, which starred fellow ?N Sync member, Lance Bass. Timberlake will appear in several films in the near future, including Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Richard Kelly?s Southland Tales, Edison Force, and will also be the voice of a young King Arthur in the popular animated film, Shrek 3, scheduled to be released in 2007. Timberlake?s sophomore solo album, FutureSex/Love Sounds, is scheduled to be released on September 12 2006. The album, produced by Timbaland, Will.i.am, Rick Rubin, and Timberlake himself, includes guest vocals by Nelly Furtado and Snoop Dogg. The album?s lead single, SexyBack, first started to receive radio play in early July of 2006.

Fans can get Justin Timberlake Ringtones here.

Hip Hop Beats Online ? New Ideas in Music

Selling on the web has become one of the new frontiers of commerce. We find it hard to think of anything not being sold and bought every minute over the internet; just have a look on ebay.

Hip-Hop producers were quick to understand the powerful worldwide reach of the internet and started selling instrumentals to artists through this channel.

A couple of websites therefore gathered enormous music inventories from professional record label producers, and started selling complete instrumental tracks just like Amazon sell CDs. Pay x amount online, and we?ll ship you a CD with the tracks you purchased. A new market full of opportunities was born.

About a year and a half ago we also understood the potential this new market had. Having promoted our own music on websites such as mp3.com and vitaminic.com, we realised that creating our own service would give us much greater flexibility and reach. We also had around 250-300 instrumentals sitting on our hard drives waiting for rappers and vocalists to rhyme/sing over them. There was no way we could?ve used all of these instrumentals ourselves, therefore why not offer artists worldwide the chance to easily obtain top quality instrumentals for their musical projects?

Hence the birth of La Cantina Productions. Our aim is to give artists who may not be able to afford to buy expensive instrumentals/beats a fair chance to get their music out there. Our typical artists are talented emcees or vocalists, desperately in need of beats, but with little cash.

So how does it all work? Artists just need to visit the website, listen to preview samples of the instrumentals and then purchase the ones they like directly online. We were one of the first websites to offer the possibility to download instrumentals immediately after payment; no more waiting for CDs to arrive through the post, high quality mp3?s can be downloaded immediately.

And it doesn?t end here. Artists record their vocals over our instrumentals and we then take care of promoting their complete tracks in the right places. After years of promoting our own music on the web, we know exactly where the online promotional efforts should be concentrated. Promoting music online requires hard work, but when you know where to go, the job is a thousand times easier.

So in other words, we produce hip hop instrumentals and promote the artists who use them. We take great pride in what we do and hope to see some of our most talented artists make it big over our tracks. We?re not in this for financial gain, but simply for musical enjoyment.

We?re growing fast and are now one of the top online production websites in a market unfortunately already cluttered with ?me too? faceless unprofessional services. We?re not trying to be a business, but simply a group of friends hoping to take hip hop to the next level through the reach of the world wide web.

Jerry Spina and Stone Tone
Founders of La Cantina Productions

Find us at :

La Cantina Productions

Or, email us for further information at info@lacantinaproductions.com

[‘Hip Hop Beats Online,’ article appeared on Fat Controller Issue 2 (the UK National Student Magazine) www.fat-controller.com]

Outkast’s diamond status

OutKast is an American hip-hop duo, comprised of Andre ?Andre 3000? Benjamin (formerly known as ?Dre?) and Antwan ?Big Boi? Patton. Having sold over 20 million records with six albums under their belt, OutKast is easily one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album representing a solo album from each member of the duo, achieved diamond status, selling over 10 million units, a feat only two other hip hop albums have ever accomplished. OutKast?s commercial success corresponds to the duo?s critically acclaimed, distinct and experimental sound, which is rare for such a mainstream rap group.

Benjamin and Patton, both from Atlanta, Georgia, went to the same high school together and would regularly engage in rap battles, only to later team up and form OutKast. In 1992, the newly formed duo signed to LaFace Records and became the label?s first hip hop act. In 1994, their full length debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which included hits such as Git up, Git Out and Player?s Ball, which would reach 1 on the Billboard Rap Chart. OutKast?s second album, ATLiens, released in 1996, reached 2 on the US album charts and includes hits, ATLiens and Elevators (Me and You), which would become the group?s first Top 20 hit.

Outkast?s third album, Aquemini, also reached the 2 position on the charts at the time of its release in 1998. The album earned the very rare ?5 Mic? rating from The Source magazine, which is equivalent to a 5 out of 5 rating. A year later, the duo ran into legal troubles with Rosa Parks over the title of one of the album?s singles, which bore Parks? name. After five years of legal contention, the suit was eventually settled with neither OutKast or LaFace Records having to admit any wrongdoing. In 2000, the duo?s fourth album, Stankonia, also debuted at 2 on the album charts and would ultimately go quadruple-platinum, thanks in large to such hit singles including: B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad), So Fresh, So Clean, and Ms. Jackson. Ms. Jackson would become the pair?s first pop crossover hit, achieving the 1 ranking on the US pop singles chart. In 2001, OutKast would receive two Grammy Awards, one for Best Rap Album for Stankonia and the other for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for Ms. Jackson. That same year, the duo would release a greatest hits album, Big Boi and Dre Present?OutKast, which included three new tracks. The following year, OutKast would receive Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for The Whole World, one of the new tracks off the record.

In 2003, OutKast released a double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The album, which was basically two solo albums by each member, would ultimately become the duo?s best selling album debuting on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart at 1 and achieving diamond status. Hits such as The Way You Move, Hey Ya, and ?Roses? would keep the album at the top of the charts for several weeks. The album would go on to win the Grammy Award for the 2004 ?Album of the Year?. OutKast?s next album will be the soundtrack to their film Idlewild, which is scheduled to be released on August 22, 2006.

Outkast Ringtones

You Might Be A Chocoholic If …

Are you a chocoholic? Answer these questions to help find out.
chocoholic (def): a person who has or claims to have an addiction to chocolate
If you have more than 2 secret stashes of chocolate candy, you might be a chocoholic. (Be honest.)

* If your top 3 favorite candies all have chocolate in them, you might be a chocoholic.

* If you have more than 4 books at home on chocolate, you might be a chocoholic.

* If your favorite dessert is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ice-cream on the side, then you might be a chocoholic.

* If you name chocolate as one of the seven wonders of the world, you might be a chocoholic.

* If you bookmark more than 2 websites on the health benefits of chocolate, then you might be a chocoholic.

* If your favorite movie is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you might be a chocoholic.

* If you own more than one chocolate-related T-Shirt, you might be a chocoholic. (If you actually wear that chocolate T-Shirt in public, just admit it. You are a chocoholic.)

* If you name your first-born child after your favorite chocolate candy – then you are a definite, full fledged chocoholic.

* If you are a chocoholic, there you may want to try one of two possible cures:

CURE 1: Chocolate Overdose

In several cases a chocolate overdose will effectively kill your chocolate bug for a period of time. At some point, too much chocolate in a given month will cure your addiction – for at least a week. Your personal chocolate overdose limit will depend on your level of addiction. (We sell a variety of chocolates to help you do this in style.)

CURE 2: Chocolate Substitution

Chocolate substitution is another option, if the chocolate overdose doesn’t work. It involves starving your chocolate bug by offering it wholesome candy substitutes. The concept is that your body will gradually forget its craving for chocolate. (We sell a variety of delicious candies to help you do this in style.)

If one of these cures doesn’t work, well, at least you would enjoy the attempt . . .

By the way, here are some great links on the health benefits of chocolate. You may want to bookmark them in case someone tries to convince you that chocolate is not good for you.

* http://www.momscape.com
* http://www.aphrodite-chocolates.co.uk
* http://www.chinesefood.about.com

Well, of course it makes sense that chocolate really is healthy. Chocolate is made from a bean – and so, wouldn’t that be like eating a vegetable? (Try explaining that to your mom.)

Calling All Moviemakers…

Yes, you. Movie Maker. Two ways.

1. MOVIE MAKER. Starts with a story THEY really want to tell. Anything THEY are excited about. Something that they were/are touched by, something that affected them or connects with them somehow.

YOU: A successful network marketer starts with a story – one YOU really want to tell. A story is not a promise about what will happen to someone else. The story you tell is based on your experience with say, the product. You RELATE something that happened to you, or affected you, or how something is aligned perfectly with something else that’s important to you. That has the makings of a story.

(E.g. Say you had achy knees for months and were nervous about surgey. You tried 7 different GNC or health store products, and nothing seemed to do much. Then one day you tried this other product and lo! Your achy knees lessened in a week or so, and now, 6 months later, you’ve even playing tennis again.)

2. MOVIE MAKER. Beginning movie makers usually try to sell their movie to the studios (and investors) by pitching it as something everyone will want to see. Who could say no to that, right? Think of the income!

YOU: Many beginning network marketers pitch their products (or business) as something everyone will want because well, they’re just the best thing out there, aren’t they? How to get everyone to love them is the only obstacle. Indeed.

But Whole Foods isn’t for everyone is it? Yet their business is booming. Whether you shop there or not, even. Madonna isn’t for everyone, is she? But does she need everyone to be financially wildly successful? You name something, I’ll tell you that everyone DOES NOT LOVE IT or want it. Sniff.

No one has ever had even close to everyone to make a success of things. “Almost no one” will do fine, actually. Like a few hundred customers for your product line, of the 300 million people in the U.S., say.

Savvy movie makers have long abandoned the “for everyone” pitch. In Hollywood, the smart ones talk about “finding your audience.” This is what you should do. Because nothing is for everyone. Not even God.

4 Secrets To Becoming A Guest On Top Tv Talk Shows

The phone rings. You hear an authoritative voice say, *Hello, I’m the producer of…Good Morning America or Oprah, or Larry King Live* or any other top talk show, you name it. This is your big moment, the break you’ve been waiting for. After you catch your breath what do you do?

Producers make an instant assessment of you in thirty seconds–or less. When you get that coveted call from a producer, you aren’t just *talking* to him: you’re auditioning. You are being screened to be accepted or eliminated as a guest on their show. How can you pass the audition?

Secret 1: Ask Before You Speak

Before you even open your mouth to start pitching yourself and your story to the producer, ask them a simple question: *Can you tell me a little bit about the kind of show you envision?* In other words, ask the producer the angle he is planning to take.

Doing so has two advantages. First, it gives you a moment to overcome the shock and to collect your thoughts.

Second, once you hear the producer’s reply, you can gear your pitch to the type of information he’s seeking. Listen closely to the angle that he’s interested in and tailor your points to it. Publicists often use this technique to get their clients booked on shows. They *get* before they *give* – so they are in a good position to tell only the most pertinent information about their client.

Secret 2: Wow the Producers with Brevity

Follow the advice of jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie: *It’s not how much you play. It’s how much you leave out.* Keep your list of talking points by the phone when you call a producer (or a producer calls you), so you’ll be succinct. You will already have rehearsed your points so that they’ll sound natural and inviting. Be prepared with several different angles or pitches, different ways to slant your information. *Nobody gets on these shows without a pre- interview,* says publicist Leslie Rossman. *Be a great interview but don’t worry about the product you want to sell them because if you’re a great guest and you make great TV, they’ll want you.*

And keep in mind the words of Robert Frost: *Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.*

Secret 3: Prove You’re Not a Nutcase

If you area nutcase on the air, the producer will lose their job. What constitutes a nutcase? You may think it’s a positive trait to be enthusiastic (and it is), but anyone who is overly zealous about his passion is considered a nut. Best-selling author and screenwriter Richard Price talks about this phenomenon as *The dangerous thrill of goodness.* He says, *What happens is you can get very excited by your own power to do good.* Don’t get carried away by this thrill.

One way to tell if you’re being too zealous is that you’re hammering your point at top speed with the energy of a locomotive pulling that toot lever non-stop. I remember a man calling me up about how he was single-handedly taking on Starbucks – who, he felt, had done him wrong. He wanted me to promote his cause. While this could have been a great David versus Goliath type story, he was long on emotion and short on facts. Some statistics or figures would have tempered his mania.

But he also never checked in with me to see if he had my interest. By talking loudly and barely pausing for a breath, he appeared to be a man who wouldn’t take direction well. His single-mindedness was off- putting, not engaging.

When you’re talking to a producer speak for 30 seconds or so and then check in by asking, *Is this the kind of information you’re looking for?* Listen for other verbal cues, such as encouraging grunts, or *uh huhs.*

Secret 4: Can You Mark *The Big Point?*

Contributors to the popular radio show *This American Life,* hosted by Ira Glass, have taken to calling the wrap-up epiphany at the end of a story, *The Big Point.* This is the moment that the narrator gives his perspective on the story in an attempt to elevate it from the mundane to the universal.

Another radio personality, Garrison Keillor, is a master at it. He tells long, rambling stories (not good advice for you), then ties up all the story strands in a coherent and satisfying way. As a great guest, you want to illuminate your story with a big standout point that helps the audience see the significance of your story in their world and the world at large. Rather than hitting them over the head with a two-by-four, you want to share your insights with a feather-like touch. By framing your story you alert the producer to the fact that you’re a thinker and can contribute great insights and clarity to a story thus increasing its appeal.

Free PSP Movie Downloads – An FAQ

Sony?s Portable Playstation Player, or PSP, system delivers an amazing array of media to its users, with games, movies, and music available. It is now possible to download free PSP movies directly to your player after paying just a one-time fee. Here is an FAQ.

FAQ 1: Technically speaking, how do PSP movie downloads work?
A: To play a movie on your player, you must first download the movie directly to your computer from a Web site the delivers PSP content and save it on your hard drive. Note that given the large file size of movies and the varying Internet connection speeds from computer to computer, downloading a full, feature length, premium quality movie file can take an hour or more. Once you have downloaded the file, you just need to transfer it to your device and play the movie.

FAQ 2: What are my options for downloading movies to my PSP device?
A: There are two main options for downloading movies. You can either purchase them directly from any of a number of official Sony partner sites, which means you pay as you go: the more you download, the more you pay. Some people are most comfortable using a site run by an official Sony partner since it is owned by the same people that built the PSP devices. A second option is to get unlimited free movie downloads from any of a number of online providers. In this case, you pay a one-time, initial setup fee and then you get unlimited movies. The advantage of this second option is that you also get to download PSP games and music, all for the price of the same, one-time setup fee.

FAQ 3: How is the movie watching experience?
A: Given the small size of the screen, watching movies on a PSP device is not the same thing as watching it on a small television. While the picture quality itself is crystal clear, the limited size obviously does not deliver the same type of movie-going experience one gets when watching a movie on a larger screen.

FAQ 4: Can I watch a feature-length film on my PSP?
A: Yes, it is possible to watch a full, feature-length film on a PSP device. However, it is not really advisable. However, there are many video shorts and clips that are ideal for viewing on a PSP unit, so leveraging the video capability of these devices should not be overlooked. And, given that PSP devices do so much more than just play videos (like games and music), the video feature should be seen as a bonus rather than as a primary attraction of the PSP device.

FAQ 5: Will the battery on the PSP device last if I watch an entire movie?
A: Yes! The battery in a PSP unit is designed to last 4 to 5 hours, which is plenty of time to watch even long films or double features.

If I were to grade the overall user experience when watching movies on a PSP, I would have to give it an A+ for convenience, an A for screen quality, a C for quality of the movie-watching experience (given the small screen size), and an A for technical ease of use. Downloading free movies from pay-just-once-type Web sites is an excellent option, especially if you do plan to also download their available music and games as well.

Seven Reason I’m Addicted To Last.fm

I believe that Last.FM is the music site we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the site that all of the previous music related sites have been building up to. There are sites like garageband.com and there was the old mp3.com that were/are decent places for new artists to be heard but let’s be honest, the average music listener doesn’t want to hear a barrage of new stuff they’ve never heard before by unsigned artists. That’s why I think Last.FM is a much better avenue for new artists. It plays their music alongside better known established artists so you get to really hear it in context. It’s also much better for music listeners in helping them to discover great new music. Now that I’ve set things up a bit let me get along to the 7 reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM

1 My Personal Listening Stats

I’ve always been a bit of a stat geek and I’ve also been a long time music geek and last.fm combines these passions! I can keep track of all the music I listen to, what music I’ve listened to the most and what music I’ve listened to the least. Sometimes I’ll look at my charts and it’ll give me a cool idea of something to listen to I haven’t listened to in awhile. It’s also cool that you can easily put your “top 10 list” on other sites like MySpace.

2 The Overall Last.FM Charts

Although I feel bad for caring about stuff like this. I can’t help it. I’m curious to see what the most popular music (atleast among internet music geeks) is. I’m also pleased that the music charts here are usually substantially less disgusting than the Billboard charts. For example this is this weeks top 10:

1. The Beatles – Yes. Now this is a beautiful thing, to think of all the people still getting enjoyment from the Beatles music. Their music is truly art and it truly lasts the test of time. It makes me feel all warm inside to see this.

2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m personally not much of a fan, but things could be much worse (check the Billboard charts.)

3. Radiohead – Yes, I definitly approve.

4. Coldplay
5. Muse
6. The Killers
7. Death Cab For Cutie
8. Metallica
9. Nirvana

10. Pink Floyd – Again like the Beatles it’s nice to see this sort of timeless music still being listened to today by new listeners.

3 The Top Tracks By Artist Charts

It’s always interesting (and usually a bit dissapointing) to see what the top tracks for any particular artist are. Looking at a “one hit wonder” is always quite telling as you’ll see 95% of their listeners all for one song.

4 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Similar Artists Radio”

Using the Last.FM Radio Player you can listen to “similar artists” of any band or artist you like. This can be an absolutely awesome way to find new music you haven’t heard before. In fact I’m doing it right now and I’m listening to a band I have heard a bit about before but hadn’t heard previously called Architecture In Helsinki. The song is called “Fumble” and I am really enjoying it. Last.FM has a feature where you can press a heart icon which means you love that track. This is a great way of keeping track of new music that you like and you heard for the first time.

5 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Artist Fan Radio”

This is similar to the above reason except with this setting you get a bit more varied results. This is really great for really expanding your horizons but still upping the chances that you’re actually going to like what you hear. I can’t even imagine why anyone would listen to the real radio when Last.FM is around. The real radio is predicable and boring and almost always plays the same old songs over and over again. Last.FM is a way to hear great music that you may not have heard before but that also fits in well with your tastes (and if you don’t like the song you can always just skip to the next one!)

6 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Tagged Radio”/Tag Charts

Using this you get to hear all the tracks/albums/artists that were “tagged” a certain term by other Last.FM listeners. This is truly awesome! It’s really cool to go through and tag different artists and songs with different terms. I’m a huge lover of psychedelic music so I spend some time tagging psychedelic music as such. It’s great because I can listen the Last.FM Radio Player for music tagged as “psychedelic” and I get to hear a bunch of cool psychedelic music I haven’t heard before (usually mixed in with some that I have heard before which makes it less overwhelming!) Also really cool are the tagged charts. For example the top 5 artists tagged for “Psychedelic” are 1 Pink Floyd, 2 The Doors, 3 The Beatles, 4 Jimi Hendrix, and 5 The Velvet Underground.

7 Discovering new bands/artists!

There’s a great number of bands/solo artists I’ve discovered via Last.FM that I don’t think I would have ever heard otherwise. The best example of this is the indie psychedelic rock band Scumbo.

These are just 7 of the many reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM and why I highly recommend it to any music lovers out there who haven’t discovered it yet. It’s the best music site on the internet and a great place to find new music that you’ll really be interested in.