NPR logo iTunes Visualizer Reveals My Darkest Secrets

iTunes Visualizer Reveals My Darkest Secrets

You might be familiar with iTunes, but not some of its many features. Take the Visualizer. The Visualizer allows you to play various, colorful images that pulsate and swirl in synch with the music. You can also customize the feature with plug-ins, one of which is called the iConcertCal.

The iConcertCal isn't much to look at. It's just a calendar. But it scans all the artists in your iTunes library and shows you dates for any live concerts they're giving in your area. Say you've got Death Cab for Cutie in your library. iConcertCal will show you where and when they're playing.

So this afternoon Bob and I were browsing the iConcertCals on our own laptops to see what's coming up in the D.C. area, when we realized how different the results were. Both of our calendars showed that Regina Spektor, Shearwater and T-Bone Burnett were playing in the area. But Bob's also showed that Yes, the Turtles and the Yardbirds were giving concerts. I don't have anything from those bands in my library, so as far as my iConcertCal is concerned, they don't exist.

My iConcertCal, on the other hand, revealed some embarrassing entries in my library. Fastball, for example, is playing the Herndon Festival in Herndon, VA. There's also a show coming up from Gordon Lightfoot. Gordon Lightfoot! Okay, I didn't realize I had Gordon Lightfoot in my iTunes. Apparently Peter Frampton, Maroon 5 and Earth Wind and Fire are also playing. But the one that really made my jaw drop is Kenny Loggins. I must have blacked out when I downloaded it, because God as my witness, I don't remember ever adding "Highway to the Danger Zone" to my library. Maybe producer Stephen Thompson put it there when I wasn't looking.

This, in turn, led to a group discussion of Kenny Loggin's oeuvre. Much to my surprise, only two of the producers here have seen Top Gun. One who had, Frannie, was incredulous. How could we have avoided that movie!? It's awesome! I noted that any movie scored by Kenny Loggins can't be good. But I immediately had to recant when I remembered he did I'm Alright for Caddyshack. But let's not forget the theme to Footloose.

Bob wondered aloud what it means to be an artist who reaches star status, but for a large population your music is the equivalent of damp cotton candy... you're hated by so many, but you've made it. You're huge!

Anyway... the iConcertCal. Check it out.



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My mom had Kenny Loggins "Alive" on eight-track and I am partial to his live version of "Celebrate Me Home." The Log has his moments.

Sent by Christina | 5:03 PM | 5-21-2008

Oh God. I was in sixth grade when this song came out and we thought that song rocked so hard. I probably haven't heard this song in twenty years. Wow, Kenny. It amazes me how the same song can sound so different. How many times do we need to repeat the chorus?

Anyway, my Kenny Loggins fan days ended I saw Iron Eagle, and decided Queen's One Vision was a way better fighter plane movie song. That one actually sounds more or less the same to me. No longer my thing, but it still isn't an awful song. And how can you hate the "gimme fried chicken" bit? Classic.

Sent by Joel | 8:17 PM | 5-21-2008

If Kenny Loggins is damp cotton candy, then Jimmy Buffet is soaked pink home insulation made to look like cotton candy.

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 9:04 PM | 5-21-2008

Thanks for the tip. Another great way (besides the plague of Jambase and Ticketmaster email updates) to see what's happening live around town.

Sent by Brandy | 9:17 AM | 5-22-2008

No seriously, what would I do without ASC? iConcertCal is amazing!

Thanks so much!

And I have some friends that put on a Yacht Rock Revue and the Logs appears quite frequently. They bill themselves as "greatest dentist office rock of all times." It's pretty amusing.

And I just found that LeAnn Rimes is coming to Atlanta. Gross. Who put her in my computer? Seriously? Anyone?

Sent by Anna | 9:27 AM | 5-22-2008

I'd rather talk about big Brother Itunes. In the classic future horror novel "1984" the TV watches you. It seems your Itunes is checking up on you. And maybe its trying to tell you something - tell you how to think? "C'mon try just one Loggins tune," it's saying in your ear." Do it! Do it Do it!"
I hear they're changing the name to "Ourtunes and don't YOU forget it". LOL!

Sent by Tom Hendricks | 11:56 AM | 5-22-2008

Is anyone else bothered by the thought of an artist whose nickname is, "The Log?" Not attractive.

I actually went to one of his concerts. but in my defense, I was really, really high.

Sent by RB | 3:43 PM | 5-22-2008

To be fair to Kenny, I don't think The Log is regularly employed as a nickname for him. It is something I wrote in jest.

Sent by Christina | 5:36 PM | 5-22-2008

I downloaded iConcertCal and love the idea of it but graphically it seems not to work for me. Has anyone else had this problem. It's on the small middle part of my computer screen and I can't make it big enough to be really cool. The first concert it listed to me last night was Randy Newman and I smiled because I knew I was going to be there!

And for the record, yes, I have 3 Kenny Loggins songs: Celebrate Me Home, I'm Alright and The Real Thing which I saw him sing at a private show for 20. I'm OK with "The Log" (go with it Christina!)

Sent by Tom EG | 8:23 AM | 5-23-2008

Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald - history revealed. If you have not experienced Yacht Rock, get ready to live.

Sent by Wayne | 10:10 PM | 5-23-2008

This is fantastic! Another great way to keep track of shows around town. Gracie.

Sent by Hannah | 8:58 PM | 5-25-2008

Was about to say: Yacht Rock! But I see someone already got there.

Sent by selene | 7:58 AM | 5-26-2008

Obviously you've never been to a Kenny Loggins concert. He's now sixty years old and he still ROCKS!!!! He runs ten miles a day and his pipes work better than ever. I challenge you to check out one of his many up coming concerts! You won't be sorry.

Love and Peace,
Christina E.

Sent by Christina Esposito | 10:20 AM | 6-3-2008 is actually the company who provides iConcertcal with their tourdates... They are everywhere!!!

Sent by Andrew | 11:57 AM | 6-3-2008

"Bob wondered aloud what it means to be an artist who reaches star status, but for a large population your music is the equivalent of damp cotton candy... you're hated by so many, but you've made it. You're huge!"

What large portion of the population sees this music as damp cotton candy? Is this portion larger than the folks that don't like songs like "What a Fool Believes" or "Song from Pooh Corner" or "I'm Allright" or "Your Mama Don't Dance"?

I turn to All Songs Considered because it introduces me to music that I otherwise might miss. The host and staff find Kenny Loggins to be damp cotton candy. Count me out for the snarky criticism that lauds the marginal and lampoons the popular. Is anything melodic with hooks and popular bad? Is 70s smooth soul equal to elevator music or cotton candy fluff. Is smooth music (like adult R&B of Luther Vandross and Anita Baker) too easy and pleasing to be good? What about popular country music? To work on music programs like All Songs must the staff and critics have open disdain for music that moves the masses or sounds smooth?

When I hear Kenny Loggins or Michael McDonald or Hall & Oates, I hear good musicians playing good songs, with interesting arrangements, that pay homage to the R&B, soul and pop that influened them. I rarely hear anything as good as Hall & Oates' "Sara Smile"
or "Rich Girl" or Loggins and McDonald's "What A Fool Believes." But I keep looking for songs that grab me whether they come from 70s pop, 80s new wave or the indie stuff All Songs shares with me.

I worked in record stores back in the days when Loggins and Messina, Hall and Oates and Michael McDonald were selling lots of records. I listened to them a lot during my working day, 6 days and 48 hours a week and I have to tell you, with the exception of some Hall and Oates I couldn't listen to that music then and I can't now.

Do I think Kenny Loggins is talented, absolutely. Does he speak to me? Not one bit.
Is that snobbery, gosh I hope not. My mom and dad brought me up be to be better than that.

I've just been reading a thread about our current best of list. Someone called the choices, all 50 of them, milquetoast. We don't play much hip-hop on our show and that offends many. Hip-hop doesn't speak to me, and with all the other outlets for it i don't feel compelled to cover it.

I love hearing people defend what they love. The love of music isn't casual, it can be passionate. But there isn't a right or wrong either. One persons cotton candy is another persons appetizing snack.


Sent by TJefferson | 2:18 PM | 6-24-2008