Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog This! Best of 2006 - Further Listening

*NOTE* This was originally published at my old site under the former name in December, 2006.

First - a word about the title phrase “further listening”. I stole it. And where did I get it? From the Pet Shop Boys, who inspired this post and the subsequent volume to the Blog This! Best of 2006.

Some years ago, the Pet Shop Boys reissued all of their albums and added “Further Listening” to all of the titles. The reissues included a second disc with remixes, b-sides, and songs from the recording sessions that didn’t make it onto the album.

Then, a few days ago, I was listening to the opening track of this collection, “Numb”, and thought to myself that it should have been included on my first collection, and alas, an idea was born.

So here it is - the second disc of “further listening” to the Blog This! Best of 2006.

As you recall, lyrics were a significant determining factor in the original volume. The same holds true here, because life is too short to listen to songs with stupid, shitty, and meaningless lyrics. Five minutes of Black Eyed Peas or Danity Kane is five minutes you’ll never get back, and it all adds up. Think about that.

1. “Numb” by Pet Shop Boys, from Fundamental
“I want the world to leave me alone”

This is one of those rare Pet Shop Boys tracks that’s straight ahead - no quirky synth fills or pseudo-disco rhythms or odd titles like 1999’s “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”. It’s simple, lush, and undeniably miserable.

2. “Maybe Someday” by Richard Butler, from Richard Butler
“Half the time, don’t know if awake or I’m asleep. Half the time, I don’t even care.”

My life in the opening line of the song - why say anything more?

3. “Lesson Learned” by Ray LaMontagne, from Till The Sun Turns Black
“All those lies were truth, and all that was false was fact”

Been there. Done that. ‘Nuff said.

4. “You Could Be Happy” by Snow Patrol, from Eyes Open
“. . . all the things that I wished I had not said . . .”

Unfortunately, life is full of regrets. Snow Patrol wrote an amazing song about them. The same phrasing in 8 verses with no chorus makes this song unique.

5. “They Sail Away” by Sean Watkins, from Blinders On
“But moments, they sail away and never come back”

Sean Watkins wrote this song to be used in the final episode of the TV show “Friends” - and they didn’t use it. Just goes to prove that it really was a stupid show all along.

6. “Hotel Fire” by Hem, from Funnel Cloud
“a broken home, a hotel fire”

Dan Messe of Hem said “I always feel like being in love is like being in a room on fire. If the love lasts, it’s like being in a room on fire. If it doesn’t last, it’s like being in a hotel on fire. So ‘Hotel Fire’ seemed like a good divorce song title.” Don't I know it.

7. “Funnel Cloud” by Hem, from Funnel Cloud

“Until a painted back drop rises up and . . . blows your world away”

Hem creates absolute beauty and meaning in every song. Every moment of your life is meant to pick you up and carry you forward - whether you want to go with it or not.

8. “Hang On” by Guster, from Ganging Up On The Sun
“Maybe someone’s writing chapters for us while we sleep”

A song about how no matter how much we think we have under our control, its what we don’t know that sneaks up and kicks us right square in the ass.

9. “Pendulum” by Garrison Starr, from The Sound Of You & Me
“You’re a hard brick wall, baby tell me did I break through at all?”

The percussion is a constant “tick tock” and lends vivid imagery to a beautiful track - a song about lost love and the constant back and forth of human emotion.

10. “Rootless Tree” by Damien Rice, from 9
“We go blind when we needed to see”

Damien Rice’s voice adds an element of rage to a string and guitar arrangement that waivers between the calm and the storm - a powerful song about one who surrenders but can’t escape.

11. “Maybe You’re Right” by Barenaked Ladies, from Barenaked Ladies Are Me
“Shall I take back everything I’ve ever said and live my whole life in silence instead?”

A catharsis, like watching 2 of your friends have a bitter fight but letting it go because it needs to happen.

12. “Shout Out Loud” by Amos Lee, from Supply & Demand
“. . . everybody’s got somebody to blame, but we all must find our own way”

In spite of appearances, everyone goes through periods when they feel like they are lost and all alone.

13. “Start The Machine” by Angels & Airwaves, from We Don’t Need To Whisper
“I laid them out in stone in case they need to last forever”

The child-like piano adds an element of innocence to an emotion that even adults can’t understand. Love is nothing without risk, and here, the relationship is doomed to failure from the beginning.

14. “Hymn” by Duncan Sheik, from White Limousine
“All the storms and oceans, all the sheltering sky, all this earth and she and I”

The instances in life that seem the most insignificant are often the most important. This song is utterly atmospheric - ethereal without being empty.

15. ”Nothing But Time” by Brian Vander Ark, from Angel, Put Your Face On
“There was one heartbreak that led to a hundred little mistakes”

The end is merely the beginning of the downward spiral that inevitably follows . . .

I’m out-

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Blog This! Best of 2006

*Note: This was originally published on the old site under the old name on October 29, 2006.

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” - Victor Hugo

The key criteria for me in compiling this list is lyrics, and that’s why a line from each one is included in the notes. A song has to have a lyric that affects me somehow, that catches my attention at first listen, and that makes me relate the song to an aspect of my life. It makes my list personal, and what’s the point of making one if it doesn’t mean anything to you? Anyone can replicate the charts, and there may be someone out there whose life is summarized in the Billboard Top 40, although I doubt it.

I won’t elaborate much on what each individual lyric means to me. You can listen and determine what they, or others, mean to you.

The songs are listed in random order.

And a note about the tempo (or lack thereof) of the songs - don’t ask me why, but as I get older, the songs get slower. I can’t explain it, but songs with fast tempos don’t resonate with me much anymore.

1. “Another Good Man” by Brian VanderArk, from Angel, Put Your Face On
“ he says my insides, well, the damage would astound me . . . i laughed, at least it left the outsides as it found me”

In the studio diary on his website, VanderArk says he is most proud of this track, calling it the “quintessential song on the record”. Piano, acoustic guitar, and gentle pedal steel lead you away from the mass production of the Verve Pipe and into the mind (and soul) of one the most gifted songwriters of our time. You can’t admonish a person for things beyond their control.

2. “The Adventure” by Angels & Airwaves, from We Don’t Need To Whisper
“I cannot live, I can’t breathe, unless you do this with me”

I picked this song for two reasons - for what it is, and what it isn’t. First, what it is - I love the transitions and differences. It’s fast, slow, sweeping, epic, and bare - all within 4 and 1/2 minutes. And second, what it isn’t - it’s not U2, despite what every review of the record would lead you to believe. There’s an Edge-esque guitar part at the beginning of this track, and all of a sudden The Edge owns the patent and A & A is ripping off The Joshua Tree. Please. I like it, and unlike U2 and the critics who would rate a Bono bowel movement 5 stars, I’m not too pretentious to admit it.

3. “Runaway Girl” by Sean Watkins, from Blinders On
“What if you thought you saw a ghost a hundred times a day”

Sean Watkins is 1/3 of Nickel Creek, and while this third solo album ventures from alt-bluegrass into indie alt-pop, I can imagine this song on Nickel Creek’s last album Why Should The Fire Die?. I first heard it on XM 45 while on a road trip last April, and it’s been in my head ever since. Sometimes the end is a beginning.

4. “Empty” by Ray LaMontagne, from Till The Sun Turns Black
“I never learned to count my blessings, I choose instead to dwell in my disasters”

In an interview, Ray LaMontagne said some of the songs he writes don’t have a life span, while others stay in his head and try to kill him. The same is true with the songs I hear. Some are immediately forgettable, and some of them, like this one, answer a question you never even knew you asked and haunt you forever. My life in a nutshell . . .

5. “Night Train” by Amos Lee, from Supply & Demand
“I’ll become one with the wind, where there isn’t a beginning and there is no end”

Amos Lee stands out from other singer-songwriters because of the absolute ease in which he performs his songs. I’m not saying the songs are simple - they are extremely well-crafted. It’s the way he makes it sound easy. There are some powerful moments on this record, and none of them are forced.

6. “Open Your Eyes” by Snow Patrol, from Eyes Open
“All this feels strange and untrue”

I almost went with ”Chasing Cars”, and it would have been a worthy choice. But, I simply couldn’t get away from this track. I’ve never heard a song that just keeps building like this one, and every time you think its reached its peak, it hasn’t. It leaves you all of 15 seconds at the end to catch your breath. Strings are usually just an accompaniment. Will you define the moment, or will the moment define you?

7. “Not Your Year” by The Weepies, from Say I Am You
“Your life feels like the morning after all year long”

All Music Guide says “The songs are simple and pretty and generally uplifting, basking in the glow of being happily smitten, but not blind to the misfortunes of others in the world.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t. Theme song anyone???

8. “Shade & Honey” by Sparklehorse, from I Dreamt For Light Years in the Belly of A Mountain
“I’ll cry diamonds while you burn, cause no one here can save you”

Saying that Sparklehorse’s lyrics are highly intellectual is a gross understatement. I actually feel stupid after listening to them, because I know there’s so much I’m missing. But, the music is so cool, I can deal with the fact that it renders me a moron. Most are drawn from the works of literary giants like Shakespeare, Whitman, Baudelaire, and Dante. Musically, they have an alternative folk style that could be compared to pop acts Prefab Sprout or Architecture in Helsinki.

9. “Waterlily” by The Cottars, from Forerunner
“Darkness all around you like a shroud”

I was fortunate to catch The Cottars at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing this past summer. The highlight of that show was a stunning cover of the Tom Waits classic “Briar & The Rose”. This track opens the Forerunner album, and if it doesn’t stir something inside you, then quite honestly, there is no hope for you.

10. “9 Crimes” by Damien Rice, from 9
“It’s a small crime and I’ve got no excuse”

Gorgeous misery. You can hear the affliction in the otherwise angelic voice of frequent collaborator Lisa Hannigan. A lyrical paradox - there is no greater crime.

11. “These Four Walls” by Shawn Colvin, from These Four Walls
“I’ve had enough and I’ve tried it all”

I hated “Sunny Came Home” from A Few Small Repairs (1996) until I heard “A Matter of Minutes” from Whole New You (2001), which ironically is about how long it took for me to became a huge fan of not only her work but the whole folk genre as well. Funny how five minutes can completely redefine you. Colvin calls this a “fighting to get out” song, and if you consider the fact that the walls might not be physical, it takes a pretty powerful turn.

12. ”Good Days, Bad Days” by Richard Butler, from Richard Butler
“I want to unsing every song, unwrite every line, unstep every step I’ve made”

What more can I say about this song than I already said here? Not much. Great stuff.

13. “Empire State” by Guster, from Ganging Up On the Sun
“Been one in a million, been a million to one”

Guster is an old friend of Blog This!. Like a building, relationships can be repaired, although sometimes it’s better to just knock down whatever’s left and start over. I’m not sure that this is the actual meaning behind the song, but it’s where I ended up with it.

14. “Out Loud” by Mindy Smith, from Long Island Shores
“Why should we stand in lonely shadows with so much light around?”

Mindy Smith has a voice that draws you in and the songs to keep you there. Her songs are deeply personal. You can hear her feelings coming through, and that makes her an artist as well as a singer - because there is a difference. She makes it sound like it’s possible to find what makes you happy and to be comfortable in your own skin. Not easy - but possible.

15. “I Still Hear It” by The Webb Sisters, from Daylight Crossing
“A song in my soul wherever I go, it lives on and on and on”

There’s really nothing all that remarkable about this song, but I find it utterly infectious, and something about it gave it one of the highest play counts in my iTunes library. Maybe it’s the harp. Sometimes there is no explanation.

16. “Mile” by Richard Buckner, from Meadow
“Nothing sees us, as we drive out, where we shouldn’t have”

This song is so pretty, you have to forgive the way that Buckner tells the story. The lyrics are evasive, leaving one to guess what the song is about, and through my research, I think Buckner prefers it this way. My best guess is something along the lines of a romantic relationship that shouldn’t have happened, a ”forbidden love” if you will.

17. “Along The Wall” by Leigh Nash, from Blue on Blue
“Whatever you tell me, I wont believe you”

Leigh Nash has one of those unmistakable voices that you know you’ve heard, but not the name to go with it. You in fact have heard her before, as the voice of Sixpence None The Richer. This song is like advice you’d get from a friend. Romantically speaking, the bumps along the road are worth it if you reach your destination.

I’m out -

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Concert Review - Guster @ Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen, Michigan

Tuesday, July 25 @ 9 PM

Another Guster concert, and another great show. I was especially excited for this show for a couple of reasons. First, it followed the release of the new album, "Ganging Up On The Sun", that was released on June 20. And second, the opening act was Ray Lamontagne (click here for my earlier post, a review of his album Trouble).

The venue was very cool. Interlochen is a performing arts academy located a few miles southwest of Traverse City. Kresge Auditorium is an outdoor pavilion located right on the water at Green Lake. The setting sun over the lake on a fair summer evening provided a magnificent back drop for the show.

Another band , The Fruit Bats, were on first. I hadn’t heard anything by them before, but I enjoyed their set, and I am looking forward to getting some of their music for further listening.

Ray LaMontagne was next, and as you probably know by now through my lauding of his debut album, I am a big fan of this artist. I was curious as to how his music would translate to a live performance, but any reservations I may have had were immediately erased with he started singing. For me, the highlights of his set were the unaccompanied encore (yes, he did an encore as an opening act) of “Burn” and the full band version of “Hold You In My Arms”, with emphasis and power added by heavier percussion in the chorus.

Guster opened rather unassumingly with “I Spy”, but don’t take that to mean it was unimpressive. That’s the thing about Guster. When they play it straight ahead, it’s great. And when they alter it or try something new, it’s better.

Here’s the set list:
I Spy
Barrel of a Gun
Airport Song
One Man Wrecking Machine
Ruby Falls
Manifest Destiny
Great Escape
Hang On
Fa Fa
Beginning of the End
Come Downstairs and Say Hello

I was getting nervous that my favorite Guster tune wasn’t going to make the list, but I was relieved to hear the opening bars of “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” as the last song of the evening. If I am ever forced to make a list of the only 5 songs I can listen to for the rest of my life, “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” would be on it, and coming from a guy with almost 14,000 songs in his iTunes library, that’s a powerful endorsement.

I love the new album, and the new songs did not disappoint. For the trumpet solo at the end of “Ruby Falls”, Guster invited a student from Interlochen to play the part, and I gotta say, the kid nailed it. “One Man Wrecking Machine” was better than it was in Cincinnati back in April, I think maybe because they had some more time to work on it. I felt a sense of encouragement during “Hang On” that I hadn’t gotten from the CD. “Captain” was a little heavier than the album version, and I liked the difference.

Hearing a Guster CD is always cool, but seeing them live really gives you a feel for what the songs are supposed to be like. I always hear the songs differently after a show, and to me, the hallmark of a great band is one that can not only offer something new in a live performance, but can also change your perception of the song while doing it.

Guster. Great on CD. Greater in concert.

I’m out-

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Album Review - Ray LaMontagne, "Trouble" (2004)

First off, why am I reviewing an album that’s been out for 2 years? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, I was only recently made aware of this remarkable record a few weeks ago, and second, his new album will be released August 29, 2006, so I thought it timely.

So, how did I chance across this album? I was purchasing tickets to see Guster again (see this earlier post about their show at Xavier) and I saw that Ray LaMontagne was the opening act. I had never heard of Lamontagne, so I did some research to try to hear some of his music before the show. What I discovered was not only an amazing album, but an even more amazing story.

LaMontagne was working in a shoe factory in Maine and awoke one morning at 4 AM to the sounds of “Tree Top Flyer” by Stephen Stills. It proved to be a strange epiphany, because even though he had never played or sang or wrote music, he was so moved by the song that he quit his job to begin a music career. He taught himself to play and sing (”from the gut” he says, and “not through the nose”) and recorded a demo tape. One thing led to another, and he ended up in the studio where it took just 2 weeks to record Trouble. Click here for the full story about Ray.

The opening title track sets the tone with phrases like “trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born” and “worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone”. Life isn’t perfect, and even when it seems like it is, worry has a way keeping a check and balance on you.

“Shelter” tells of the power of love to hurt as well as to heal, as in these phrases:

“It’s not like we planned it
You tried to stay, but you could not stand it
To see me shut down slow, as though it was an easy thing to do”


“I left you heartbroken, but not until those very words were spoken
Has anybody ever made such a fool out of you
It’s hard to believe it , even as my eyes do see it
The very things that make you live are killing you”

Instances of pain, which are then followed by a promise to persist and overcome in these words:

“Listen, when all of this around us’ll fall over,
I tell you what we’re gonna do
You will shelter me my love, I will shelter you”

“Jolene” delivers the emotional knockout punch, the lament of a man who endures detachment through his own faults and his reluctance to be vulnerable.

“Been so long since I seen your face,
or felt a part of this human race,
A man needs something he can hold onto,
a nine pound hammer or a woman like you,
Either of these things will do.
I ain’t about to go straight, it’s too late,
Still don’t know what love means”

The music is pure. LaMontagne doesn’t rely on studio tricks and post-mixing to create his sound. The sound is reminiscent of Van Morrison’s Moondance album, or the early Stills albums that served as his inspiration. There are string arrangements, as well as a guest appearance by Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, that add to the sound without ever being more than just noticable. But the voice is the highlight here - always strong, even when quiet, and never out of control or beyond his range. There is a pain in his voice that suits the melancholy of the music, and when combined, create a truly unique and remarkable listening experience.

The appeal of Trouble is that it’s real. It’s believable. It isn’t full of hollow gestures and empty promises like “forever” and “till the end of time”, because those things aren’t possible. Sometimes life deals a bad hand. Sometimes love ends, and sometimes it’s your fault. The songs tell stories of things that can happen to people, and more than likely, have happened to you.

The songs on Trouble draw from the difficult experiences of his life, wrought with emotion and honesty. The words are deep, and the music is complex, but the songs - hearing them is pure and simple intimacy. I must recommend a “beginning to end” approach for initial listening, because the appeal lies in the power to capture you for 45 minutes, and remains in the lingering of the notes in your mind long after the quiet ending of the final track. Revel in the silence that will follow “All the Wild Horses” to appreciate what you’ve just heard.

I’m out-

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Concert Review - Guster @ Xavier University

Saturday, April 8, 2006 @ 9PM - Cintas Center

So, I traveled to Cincinnati over the weekend to see one my favorite bands, Guster, in concert. Cincinnati is about 340 miles from my house. Why is this relevant? Because 2 nights before, they played my alma mater, Michigan State University, which is about 7 miles from my house. Yes, I was aware of the show and considered going, but in the end I thought a road trip would be good for me. I haven’t been out of town since I was in Cincinnati at the end of February for the Nine Inch Nails show at US Bank Arena.

It isn’t very often at all that a band plays a set list of all your favorite songs, but that’s what happened last night. Other than not playing “Careful”, I can’t think of any other songs I would have preferred over the ones they played. The set featured a broad and even mix of material from the last three albums, as well as some tracks from the new album, "Ganging Up On The Sun", set to be released on June 20.

Of course, for me, the highlight was a long and powerful version of my favorite Guster song, “Come Downstairs and Say Hello”.

Again, it was like they were playing my own personal “Guster Greatest Hits” album, but some other highlights included:

From Keep It Together: “Diane”, “Amsterdam”

From Goldfly: “Great Escape”, “Demons”

From Lost & Gone Forever: “I Spy”, “Center of Attention”, “Happier”

From Ganging Up On The Sun: “Manifest Destiny”, “One Man Wrecking Machine”

Visit the “Archives” section of the Guster website for a complete set list.

I was also very impressed with Andrew Bird, who opened the show. He played solo, and used a sampling pedal for violin overdubs and minimal percussion while he sang and played violin, guitar, and even a glockenspiel. Click here to hear the entire Mysterious Production of Eggs album in high quality streaming audio.

Guster brings an incredible energy to the stage, and the songs are fresh and updated - not just a replay as you hear them on the records. It’s evident that they love what they do, and for that, the audience loves them back. If Guster passes through your neighborhood, or even within 340 miles, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket.

I’m out-

P.S. A special thank you to the jackass who played “Dogs” by Pink Floyd, all 17 miserable minutes of it, on the jukebox at Soupies Bar. Ah, Soupies - that place is a story all by itself. I don’t want to bag on anyone, but damn.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

A Book of Bad Karma?

I love used bookstores. There is one downtown called Way Station Books that I frequent, well, frequently, because it is close to the building where I work. I always find a book or three when I go there, and I’m stacking them up faster than I can read them.

On a recent visit, I picked up a very nice hardcover Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky for the staggering price of $5.00. You know, some light reading. I lugged it back to my office and flipped through a few pages to check it out. As I was turning them, a small, yellow piece of paper fell out and spun it’s way to the floor. I figured it was an old book mark - used books have a way of harboring them. When I picked it up to place it back between the pages, I noticed some handwriting on one side. Turns out this was no book mark! It was the beginning of the story within the story.

The paper was a bank receipt - a cash deposit for $411.74 at Flagstar Bank, dated September 7, 2000, for a customer named Fischer. The fascinating part was the inscription scrawled on the back:

“Make a pass at you? I? How could you ever suspect such a thing when all I ever wanted was for you never to want me that way? Because you never wanted me you were the only man I could trust. I felt safe in your arms and you destroyed that for your ego’s fantasy.”

Pain, hate, and disappointment - the trifecta - in four sentences. At first, I thought it was coincidence, mere irony, that such a note would be placed inside of a text of such vivid misery. However, as I flipped more and more through the book, I began to notice several marked passages among the pages. As I read the noted phrases, I started to see that not only had I stumbled upon a hate note, but that the author of said note was quoting Dostoevsky to illustrate her point! Damn - this guy was getting an emotional beatdown backed by 200 years of classic literary genius.

Read the hate note again. Now, I submit the following passages where the recipient is shown the gravity of his actions.

1. “Why, the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our age - it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For everyone strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible, wishes to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself; but meantime all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of life but self-destruction, for instead of self-realization he ends by arriving at complete solitude.”

2. “Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance.”

3. “He doesn’t despise anyone . . . only he does not believe anyone. If he doesn’t believe in people, of course, he does despise them.”

4. “For when I do leap into the pit, I go headlong with my heals up, and am pleased to be falling in that degrading attitude, and pride myself upon it.”

5. “All this had little to do with the case in hand, to say nothing of the fact of its being somewhat vague, but the sickly and consumptive man was overcome by the desire to express himself once in his life.”

6. “And one might wonder what there was in a love that had to be so watched over, what a love could be worth that needed such strenuous guarding.”

7. “I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.”

8. “He was an example of everything that is opposed to civic duty, of the most complete and malignant individualism.”

9. “For how can a man shake off his habits, what can become of him if he is in such bondage to the habit of satisfying the innumerable desires he has created for himself? He is isolated, and what concern has he with the rest of humanity? They have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less.”

10. “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth from within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself.”

You know you’re a BASTARD when you have to leaf through 800 pages of classic world literature to get the full comprehension of how much you pissed her off. But my hat is off to her, because she could have gone juvenile and went with the more traditional tire slashing/brick through the windshield, or telling everyone he knows that he has a small penis - all simple and effective. But she didn’t. She dug deep and landed a crushing blow to his pysche with this brilliant compilation, the equivalent to a career-ending first round TKO. What’s he going to come back with? I guarantee that the best he could muster after reading it was to play it off with a nonchalant “Whatever, bitch!” as he walked away.
But it stung. It stung bad.
I’m out-
This unassuming book took someone down a notch.
The hate note. Feel the misery!
Some of phrases used to describe the utter thoughtlessness of our hero.