Five Insult Songs That Predate Getting "Dissed"

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Photo by K Rupp/Flickr Commons
Some people find insults coarse, base and a sorry excuse for invective from the intellectually feeble. I call those people "bloggers who read the comments section."

But seriously, a good insult is a work of art. If you don't believe me, well, "I do desire we be better strangers," (Shakespeare). You're clearly "one of the numerous and varied legion of dullards, of half-animated abortions..." (Dostoevsky). Apparently, "If your brains were dynamite, there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off" (Vonnegut).

In music, no one has mastered the insult better than the cunning linguists of rap. They've elevated the barb beyond art and into an all-new Webster's-approved synonym -- "diss." I'd pit today's best rap artists against Billy Shakes or MC Fyodor any day in an insult battle. If you disagree, well, go do something "with no Vaseline, just a match and a little bit of gasoline," (Ice Cube).


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Day of Joy: Remembering Houston's First Outdoor Music Fest

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Photos courtesy of Vicki Welch Ayo
Day of Joy band Ginger Valley
"It was definitely a labor of love. It cost me $5,000, I'll put it that way; and, looking back on it, I'm not sure I didn't get my money's worth." -- Jim Tucker

We're living in the festival era of popular music. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 200 major music festivals annually. Some, like Bonnaroo and Coachella, have transcended from mere concerts to cogs in the modern zeitgeist.

In Houston, we're doing our part, with Free Press Summer Fest and new additions like last weekend's Whatever Fest. Our grassroots music community doesn't need benevolent corporate sponsors to do its thing, either. Practically every weekend, some group is resourcefully staging a festival, like last month's Grace Note, this month's Melt Fest or next month's Untapped Festival.

Does Houston have a good fest history? The short answer is yes. And, if you're the right age, you might think back -- way back -- to a time before the long-running Westheimer Street Festival and the Houston International Festival to recall a singular offering dubbed Day of Joy. The ambitious event was held at the long-gone Almeda Speedway and brought local and national acts together to perform for gathered masses under Houston's blistering summer sun.


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The '70s' Seven Sexiest Soft-Rock Songs

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Photo by Travis Hornung/Flickr Commons
Let's get physical.
This list is not just for the couples who perk up anytime the Cialis commercial airs. It's not only for the cubs who do their homework and will try to impress the cougars with their 1970s music knowledge.

Oh, the list is for them; but not only for them. It's for everyone. Everyone that thinks their partner could use a musical nudge towards the boudoir.

Sure, there are more recent songs to choose from, tunes by acts known for the panty-drop, but where's the ingenuity in that? Besides, how far removed from Bread and America are Coldplay and Ed Sheeran? Same thing, really.


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The 10 Best Country Songs of the '90s

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Remember when there was no such thing as "bro-country" or "hick-hop?" We do, and it was a little time called the '90s. That was basically the best decade ever for country music. Garth Brooks was at his best, and artists like George Strait and Clint Black were killing it with every single move.

Oh, and let's not forget the ladies. Shania Twain, anybody? How about Martina McBride or the Dixie Chicks? And good ol' Faith Hill was just getting geared up. Basically, we'd pay some serious dolla-dolla bills, y'all, if it meant we could get the big names of the '90s country scene to start being awesome again. But since we're not magicians, or billionaires even, we'll have to settle for a Top 10 list of their best songs instead.


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The 10 Best '70s Throwback Jamz

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Hey, does anyone feel like gettin' on up like a sex machine? Well, we do, and we think you should join us.

The music that emerged during the '70s is some of the very best, even now. Artists like Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson were taking over the scene, oiled-up Jheri curls were all the rage, and that good ol' break-your-neck-on-the-dancefloor funk reigned supreme.

And while the '70s left us cleaning up a mess of glitter and disco lights, it also left us with a laundry list full of fantastic jamz that are just ripe for Throwback Thursday. Whether the songs are soulful and deep, or funkadelic and fancy-free; it matters not. What matters is that the songs from this era were some of the very best ever, and deserve a nod or two.


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The 10 Best Summer Songs of the '90s

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Let's play a game. Anyone know "Never Have We Ever?" Good. We'll go first.

Never have we ever found ourselves saying the words, "But there were so many good Will Smith songs!"

Well, until this blog, that is.

Apparently there are an abundance of epic summery songs by the '90s version of Will Smith, and we're a bit puzzled by that fact. Go figure.

And while we're a bit embarrassed of our Will Smith prowess, what we're not afraid to admit that we love ourselves some summer jamz. We love them enough to put together a list, in fact, of the best '90s summer songs for your enjoyment.

Unfortunately, they can't all be Will Smith songs -- although there are indeed enough to fill this blog -- because really, what '90s artist can compete with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince himself.

Now get jiggy with it.

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The 10 Best Songs We Miss From the '90s

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You know, the '90s gets a little screwed when it comes to nostalgia, which is perhaps a bit unfair. Sure, the '80s gave us Scrunchies and ALF, and we got to show off our Lisa Lisa cassette with pride.

But in the '90s, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was born, which gave us Carlton and his sweet-ass dance moves. And then there was never-ending saga of Kelly Kapowski and Zack Morris's high-school romance. Even '90s music was pretty sweet; it's just that nobody really remembers because the '80s still steals all the glory.

Luckily, we're here to remedy that with the ten best songs we miss from the '90s. Sorry, Wreckx N Effect didn't make this one, but go on ahead and shake that rump like a rumpshaker if you must. We won't tell.


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The 10 Best '80s Cartoon Theme Songs

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Remember the days when you'd set your beeping alarm watch to 6 a.m. on Saturday morning to wake up in time to catch your cartoons? Man, nothing compared to the stillness of the house in the early hours, where you could sit in peace while an animated, pizza-obsessed turtle and a rat ninja set off on a new adventure.

Yep, life in the '80s was awesome. Cartoons were mind-warped, confusing and chaotic, and the plot twists often went where children's shows should never, ever go. But that's what made them so damn fantastic. They were works of art and madness, and so worth getting up at the ass-crack of dawn for.

And really, the world didn't even need to make sense in the '80s. It just needed to be rainbow-colored and slightly scary, and everything would be all right.


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The 10 Most Memorable '80s TV Theme Songs

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Oh, how we miss the '80s.

It was a happy time, when life was full of neon spandex, leg-warmers and high-top Reeboks as far as the eye could see. Sure, there were too many dudes sporting man-perms, but they always threw in an accompanying mullet for good measure, and the beloved beard was always an added accessory.

But as much as we admire the creativity of the '80s fashion trends, the questionable attire wasn't the best part of the decade. Nor was the Lite Brite, on which your baby brother nearly choked on the tiny colored bulb, or the Teddy Ruxpin, which quickly became suspected of demonic possession. Those things were all great, but there was something much, much better: the TV theme songs.

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Top 10 Butt-Rock Bands of All Time

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What is butt-rock, you ask? As usual, we've got all your answers, courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

A derogatory term for any hard-rock music.

The term comes from a nationwide advertising campaign on hard-rock radio stations in the 1990s that used the tagline "Rock. Nothing but Rock." Listeners quickly changed that to "Nothing Butt Rock." Though it refers to anything played on hard-rock stations, it commonly is used to refer to 'hair-bands' or used by people to distinguish the 'bad' butt rock from the hard rock that they like.

Example: "He sat around stoned all day listening to butt rock on the 'Wild Hare.'"

Butt-rock is that musical stank on your shoe that you can't get off. It's one part aggro noise, one part self-indulgent and whiny singer, and somehow a whole lot of douche.

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