Blog Archives

Revisiting the Golden Record’s Space in Human (and Non-Human) History

Forget talking with aliens. Instead, they might respond to a playlist. This was the logic in the late ’70s.

For this Throwback Thursday, join me in revisiting an actual musical playlist that was blasted into space a few decades ago with the sincere hope of being found by and listened to by, yes, aliens.

A couple of years ago, I made an investment on Kickstarter to receive a replica reproduction of the Golden Record. Reproduced and organized by Ozma Records, this was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Listening to the eclectic soundtrack — songs and sounds of nature, like rain — it is truly unique to living on Earth.

Of course, there are plenty of additions that could and should be added from 40 years ago. More popular songs plus a few blockbuster, culture-altering movies, as well as classic TV shows, would be added for the Golden Record: Part II.

One of these new film additions would have to be ‘Independence Day.’

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Toto: There’s No Place Like Its African Home. There’s No Place Like Its African Home…

Just a reminder that Toto’s hit single “Africa” is still playing non-stop in a mysterious spot in the Namib Desert, which was the focus of a Jimmy’s Daily Planet blog post back on January 17 of this year.

Most “Throwback Thursdays” are considered timeless because of the subject’s nostalgic value. However, in this case, the everlasting staying power of Toto’s “Africa” is more literal than most in this category of beloved nostalgia.

Upon further thinking, would this specific blog post qualify as a “Music Ditty Miracle”? After all, its legacy is up there with other musical titans.

(Bonus points–well, six points and an extra one–for those who get the reference) 

Giving a Friend a Helping–and Painfully Insightful–Hand

There were five claps in the ‘Friends’ theme song, right?

Anyways, ‘Friends’ ended in 2004 yet its shining pop cultural legacy continues to be as bright as its original run beginning in the nostalgic, distant yesteryear of 1994.

One of those real-life friends is Matt LeBlanc who played the non-real-life “How you doin’?” goofball ladies man Joey Tribbiani. And despite his current CBS sitcom ‘Man with a Plan,’ it’s been a while since he’s returned to his beloved character. He played a hilariously obnoxious version of himself in ‘Episodes’ with ‘Friends’ alums David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, but that’s not enough.

Maybe it was four claps in “I’ll Be There for You”?

While we will never be treated to a ‘Friends’ reunion–just the harsh reality of a fictional world–we should take a minute to enjoy any brief return visits related to the hit show when they come to us.

Speaking of which, Matt LeBlanc just appeared on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.’

Talk about the ultimate friendly slap bet.

Tune into tonight’s ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ to see the full interview with Matt LeBlanc at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Toto’s “Africa” Sun Set Is a Timeless Encore

Weezer’s cover is great, but Namibian-German multimedia artist Max Siedentopf took it to an entirely new level.

More on him in a minute.

Toto’s 1982 smash hit “Africa” continues to reign supreme well into the second decade of the 21st century as a defining, shining example of ’80s music nostalgia. How can someone not like this song? It’s relaxing yet an undeniably powerful anthem for many things, depending on the listener/car or shower singer. One listen to the popular song and it’s easy to discern why we–and by “we” I mean the world–still love this song from back in the pre-Internet era.

So why should the song ever stop playing?

Here’s where the aforementioned multimedia artist Max Siedentopf comes into play.

You’ll see what I did there in another minute.

Max Siedentopf–a fellow “Africa” and Toto fan–visualized the ultimate tribute to this glorious song. In an undisclosed part of the Namib Desert, which is located in southern Africa (the continent, not the song), Mr. Siedentopf installed an art installation of sorts. Similar to the genius simplicity of Randy’s Donuts in Los Angeles, there are six normal looking desktop speakers placed on six white boxes. In the middle is a taller white box with a digital music player that is connected to all six speakers via wires (like the ’80s).

The genius part of multimedia artist Max Siedentopf–aside from the clever idea–is that it’s all powered by solar energy with extreme weather elements in place for technology in a relentlessly sunny desert. So that means, you’ve got that right, Toto’s “Africa” will supposedly play on repeat in this mysterious location in Africa FOREVER.

This is Toto’s “Africa” in 2019:

Max Siedentopf said that this spectacular tribute to Toto is located where “…only the most loyal of Toto fans can find.”

This is damn near brilliant. It’s creatively fitting (except for the Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and rain parts) with literal staying power for generations and hopefully lifetimes. The grand mystery as to where it’s located, serving as a veritable treasure hunt, mostly makes up for these ommissions.

If you think about it, this tribute to Toto’s “Africa” is a living time capsule. And if you think more about it, this mysteriously placed speaker system proves the power of music as the soundtrack to our lives and our surroundings sans introverted cocooning via technology.

Perhaps part of the purpose of this art installation is asking us to take off our headphones–or introverted nature–and engage with the world again in a more openly joyful, extroverted way like 1980s-something?

Hey, we’ve seen stranger things these days inspired by the 1980s.

P.S. 

This is Toto’s “Africa” music video from 1982. 

And this is Toto’s “Africa” performed by Weezer (with a special guest) in 2018. 

Are you tired of listening to Toto’s “Africa”? Of course not! Thank you for this all-time musical masterpiece, Toto.