April 30, 2005
April 29, 2005
Neneh Cherry needs to release an album. This is a key agenda item in my Pop Platform. She and Kate Bush and Maxwell need to get off their asses and put out some product for me. If you don't know much about Neneh Cherry, she appeared (bio) when I was in college in 1989* with a song that started out kind of underground and then hit big. "Buffalo Stance" was clevah hip hop with an Euro/Brit edge. It bounced along with its catchy "No money man could win my love" chorus, but it was the details that made it sparkle - how many of you who know this song can recite the "Wot's he like? Wot's he like anyway?" part and nail all the "Gigolo. Huh ? Sucka!" bits at the right moments. PrincessYumYum, I know you can. The album that followed, Raw Like Sushi, was laden with brilliant songs and passionate singing (hear "Inna City Mama," a song that Mary J. Blige must have nursed on) and rapping. With 4 or 5 great singles and a snazzy Jean Baptiste Mondino cover/videos, it deserves a remaster - it's a definitive 80's album. Neneh was globalized before the word globalization existed!
Neneh followed this with the only truly successful reinvention of a Cole Poter song on Red Hot And Blue - her version of Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" is a street symphony that weaves in her own narrative about kids on the street getting high and getting AIDS. Soon after, she released Homebrew, which was more international in flava and less successful. The album did boast a great hit called "Buddy X" which was a slam against her himbo friend Lenny Kravitz's cheatin' ways. It also had collaborations with Michael Stipe and jazzy Guru of Gang Starr.
She disappeared for several years to raise her children (one now in her late teens) and returned in the mid-nineties with a very different trip-hoppy sound on the Man album. In the fresh wake of the Spice Girls' girl power schtick, her single "Woman" was the most feminist anthem I have ever heard as a pop single and it has fucking great lyrics: "To save my child, I'd rather go hungry / I've got all of Ehtiopia inside of me." Beautiful. The album also included her elegant minor-chord-ish duet with Youssou N'Dour on "7 Seconds." I don't know anyone who doesn't like this song, just listening to it makes you feel like a world traveler. See the "Kootchi" lyrics below for a sample of her writing style.
Neneh has remained pretty quiet now for almost 10 years. She peeked out for a few moments in 1999 to do a fucking amazing slow burn of a song called "Twisted Mess" with film composer Craig Armstrong. This one starts simple and builds and builds into a 6 minute epic.
We also love Neneh for giving us a lasting look: the around-the-way girl with a bathroom towel wrapped around her head in homage to Africa. [Princess, I made you wear this look for a picture, remember?!] Please note, trolls, that you can purchase her CDs for very cheap via Amazon Marketplace. One is on sale for a penny and that is no reflection on quality.
My public message to Neneh Cherry: I will wear my own (pimple-cream stained) purple bath sheet on my head in honor of you, but you must please release another abum. Soon.
Glam Vogue model Neneh Cherry in 1992:
My top ten Neneh Cherry songs
1 woman 1995
2 i’ve got u under my skin 1990
3 buffalo stance 1989
4 7 seconds 1995
5 inna city mama 1989
6 twisted mess 1999
7 kootchi 1999
8 love ghetto 1989
9 buddy x 1992
10 feel it 1999
* Some freidns who know me know that I sometimes morph into a... fierce black woman, at least in musical tastes. get outta my way, ya know I mean!
I love the way you walk,
I love the way you talk with your mouth full
The way you park on the sidewalk
The way you are in the car
I'll make you love the way I behave
On my bad days
Show you the trigger to my bitch switch
And how to play with my witch stitch
I love the way you rob a shop
I love the way your belly flops
As the morning drops
And the way you change from playing cup
When you force me to stop
First my assailant
Then my private federal agent
Bang my feet, chain my hands
And ignore my demands
Kiss my dirty feet
I'll take you out for dinner
Laugh at my jokes - ahahhh!
I wanna sit on your back
Close my eyes
Take your pulse
It's 120 (ahhhhh)
And it's rising (ahhhh)
All I wanna do is kootchi koo with you
-From the Man album.
April 28, 2005
Ben Folds: Songs For Silverman
The new Ben Folds CD, Songs For Silverman - who is Silverman? - is his first really strong album since Ben Folds Five broke in 1999 with Whatever And Ever Amen. His success seemed to hobble him for awhile, so he went off and had a family while doing weird projects like a William Shatner CD. This record is incredibly strong on melody, arrangements and lyrics. I bought it as my first Dual Disc and it comes with a 25 minute documentary on the making of the album. Turns out that the goosebump inducing choral harmonies at the end of my favorite song ("Time") are done by...Weird Al Yankovic! HUH? The rest of the record is his usual mix of witty to biting to sweet lyric, often in one song, laid over Billy Joel piano-isms. "Gracie," for his 5 year old daughter, goes from poignant ("You will always have a part of me / That nobody else is ever gonna see") to practical ("You’ll be a lady soon / But until then / You got to do what I say"). "Sentimental Man" has the most elegant piano melody I have heard in ages...nothing on Tori that good. There's even a lament for Elliott Smith ("Too Late"). If you liked early BFF music, this record is for you. Favorite tracks: "Time" and "Sentimental Man"
Josh Rouse: Nashville
Josh Rouse never really clicked for me until he beefed up his arrangements on 2003's 1972 - an homage to the 70's music that he grew up on. The title of his new album Nashville is a misnomer. It is not country music, nor is it a tribute to the town. It was recorded in Spain and is more of the retro AOR that he does so well. The's definitely an homage thing going on here: "Winter In The Hamptons" is pure Smiths, while "My Love Has Gone" has Lindsey Buckingham vibes all over it. "Caroline" is the best REM song since Automatic For The People [you may not know I have abandoned that group - did not even purchase their last CD because other people, like Josh, do it better]. There is only one song on this record I dislike ("Why Won't You Tell me What" ) and I dislike it with a passion. Josh mines similar territory as Ryan Adams without being quite as poserish vocally and certainly not as self-indulgent , so try this please. Favorite Tracks: "My Love Has Gone" and "Steetlights"
Garbage: Bleed Like Me
Garbage took forever to make their new record and everybody knows the basically broke up during the making of it. I am here to say it is only half good. I like Garbage best when their songs exhibit a range beyond droning power chord rock and MUCH of this record is just that. Sometimes it works well, as on the FUCKING GREAT first single, "Why Do You Love Me" but just as often ("Bad Boyfriend") the songs sound half baked and go nowhere. At least "Metal Heart" weaves in an electro element that elevates it. "Run Baby Run" should be flat but it seems like a classic Garbage song. There is only one true ballad - "It's All Over But The Crying" - which is a waste of Shirl's more vulnerable angst. The litany-of-dysfunction-title-track name checks JT Leroy, his second appearance on a Garbage CD (he IS "Cherry Lips"). Favorite tracks: "Why Do You Love Me" and "It's All Over But The Crying"
Erasure have always been on my radar but I have never owned any of their CDs. I tend to just love certain songs (the orgasmic "Blue Savannah" and the epic "Fingers And Thumbs" which I took very personally). This new album is totally Erasure By The Books but it's really GOOD! Who knew!? My favorite is "Let's Take One More Rocket To The Moon" - one of many really sweet, poignant love songs. "Breathe" seems dull at first but blooms after repeated listenings into a great song for the dance club or the car. Nightbird -good title!- wraps it all up for Vince and Andy- they are officially in the pop pantheon (I am on the voting Council, ya know). Favorite tracks: "Breathe" and "Let's Take One More Rocket..."
Shirely Manson recently had this to say in GQ about Sinead O'Connor, whose I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got is one of her favorite albums: "I'm so devastated that she's become a figure of ridicule. It breaks my heart, because although she's outspoken and provocative, she's obviously not that tough."
There is, I think, a generation who views her solely as a dingbat. A generation that totally missed the balls-to-the-walls rock goddess who was channeling anger, sexuality, mysticism, political activism, and spirituality - all aggressively - into fucking brillaint rock/pop/folk songs. She had all the ingredients to create a lasting artist and star. Then it sort of went tear-shaped., didn't it?
I recently received the DVD version of her 1990 tour (BUY IT!) and it reminded me that Sinead O'Connor was one of the most talented and inspiring stars of the late 80's. If you watch this show, filmed beautifully by the genius Sophie Muller (who did that new Garbage video I keep crowing about), it presents all the important sides to Sinead: the loved-up sex fiend, the fucked-up wailing banshee, the unlikely Audrey Hepburn beauty, and the voice voice voice. It starts with the personal statement of "I Feel So Different" and covers all the best songs: from "Troy" to "The Last Day of Our Acquaintance" to "I Want Your Hands On Me" to a version of "Emperor's New Clothes" that incorporate NWA's "Fuck Tha Police."Each song is presented with a slightly different visual look, usually in how it's lit. My favorite is the oversaturated light on "I Want Your Hands On Me" that renders Sinead alabaster with only her red lips and big eyes visible. It's amazing to look at and the performance is a tingler. Be warned though that the DVD also includes a truly crappy, unwatchable earlier concert. Still, it's worth it for the '90 show which was previously released on its on VHS tape under the title Year Of The Horse.
I was about 20 years old when the I Do Not album came out. It was HUGE because of the Prince cover "Nothing Compare 2 U" - as song I tend to skip when I play it. Regardless, it's a near perfect album that, at the time, was a bit of a manifesto to someone my age: "Whatever it may bring, I will live by my own policies, I will sleep with a clear conscience, I will sleep in peace." I think Sinead probably DOES live that way and thus comes across as a bit crazy. Unfortunately, I cannot say I live that way at all. I wish.
piccie fom http://www.sinead-oconnor.com/
April 27, 2005
One of the sexiest songs ever:
Then I'd taken the kiss of seedcake
back from his mouth
Going deep South, going down, mmh, yes
Took six big wheels and rolled our bodies
Off the Howth Head and into the flesh
He said I was a flower of the mountain, yes
But now I've powers o'er a woman's body, yes
Stepping out of the page into
The sensual world
...and then our arrows of desire rewrite the speech,
and then he whispered would I, mmh, yes
Be safe, mmh, yes, from the mountain flowers?
And at first with the charm around him, mmh, yes
He loosened it so if it slipped between my breasts
He'd rescue it, mmh, yes
And his spark took life in my hand and, mmh, yes
I said, mmh, yes
But not yet...
Hurry the fock up Kate. I am getting seriously impatient!
April 26, 2005
New Order releases their first album in ages today and it's a beautiful baby called Waiting for the Sirens' Call. I can't wait for the new single Jetstream (featuring Anamatronic of Scissor Sisters) because it has remixes by Richard X and Jacques LuCont (he did the brilliant mixes for Bitchin' Gwen and Killers).
A few links you should know about:
Torr links to the New Order homepage for streaming songs. Just let the 5 or 6 songs play as you work and you will see why I like this record so much. The gorgeous first single Krafty continues to grow on me. Be sure to check out that video, one of my favorites of recent days. Also check out New Order Online.
Arjan is hosting a brilliant megamix (in Windows Media) for the new CD. I LOVE THIS ALBUM, did you get that?
April 25, 2005
....about Trent Reznor, although he is aging well. I just find it hard to believe people are into what he is offering. I was about to criticize him for doing the same old thing, but so is New Order, so that argument is shot! Anyway, Scenestars is linking to a full stream of his new CD, which he managed to record between bouts of self hate and groupie degradation. Kisses.
April 24, 2005
"Now, another quote I found from Cardinal Ratzinger, or at least it was reported that he has written that "The three major forces for the development of church doctrine are the Christian and human experience of the church at large, the work of scholars and the watchful attention, listening and deciding undertaken by teaching authority." Now, all those three are important, and the first is the Christian and human experience of the church. I believe that some of us around this table have been pleading for that.
Experience changes, especially the experience of women has got to be brought into this church, listened to, respected and given--put on a plane with those who have developed the teachings out of their perspective and experience, which, by and large, has been male. So there is great room for us to deepen our understanding of the truth and I believe to discover new aspects of the truth. We must not talk about the truth as if it were some kind of package that is fixed and stayed and can be handed on from one generation to the other without anything of ourselves entering into it."
quote comes from Lexis Nexis/ NBC News transcripts.
April 22, 2005
Question of the day: Was Shirley Manson really dragged off the stage (by DC police) last night before the end of her show? That's the buzz here in town this morning. A fan reported seeing her sitting in a squad car outside, but a (possible) cop called in to a radio show and said there was no one who matched her description at the precinct last night.
Update: My Deep Throat reports to me that Shirl was indeed hauled off the stage, but it was FAKE. Being filmed for something promotional. I thought maybe the coppers thought she was Marilyn Manson.
I didn't know it was coming, but Maria McKee released a new album this week called Peddlin' Dreams. Maria's been around since the mid-eighties when her cowpunkfolkcountrypop band Lone Justice was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. They really didn't hit it big, but they made 2 great CDs before Maria launched a solo career. Not including some live/best of discs, I believe this new one is her 5th solo record. Take a look at her website.
How to describe Maria - a pocket-sized Janis Joplin? Not quite. A Pepperdine U. pixie Aretha? Not quite. She is an original and she has lasted this long because of her amazing voice, which can go from fluttery delicate to booming commando, sometimes in one song. I saw her live in the 90's at the 9:30 Club: she was smashed off her ass in a hideous prom gown, but her voice shut the whole place down. Total silence at 9:30 is rare.
Maria's a...dusty diamond! She's traversed numerous genres, but is best suited to an alt-country pop. If you have never heard her, she's had numerous phases, from vaguely Christian country rock on the first Lone Justice songs to U2 anthemic on the title track of Shelter to gospel to Dusty Springfield melancholy 60's trucker music to a slightly ill-conceived jaunt through harder glammish rock. She has opened for u2 and even had a massive European hit with a track ("Show Me Heaven") from freakin' Top Gun in the 80's.
She is a fucking brilliant lyricist and not just in one style. Sometimes her songs are notable for their linguistic wordplay (try the puzzle "Reflected"), but more often they are notable for their directness and warmth. As her career has progressed her lyrics have become more sincere and open, in my opinion.
If you are a fan of people like Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris or Josh Rouse and you do not know Maria McKee's work, you must listen to her!
Here are my top ten Maria McKee songs (almost all on iTunes):
1 Breathe (sexy ballad)
3 Ways To Be Wicked
4 Wheels (wrenching gospel ballad)
5 Dixie Storms
7 Can’t Pull The Wool Down
8 I’m Gonna Soothe You (the acoustic version is uber sexy)
9 To Miss Someone
10 East Of Eden
Buy the new CD or sample it on iTunes
Note that she'll be at IOTA in Arlington (DC) on May 31!
April 21, 2005
Stereogum has a great post on Ray LaMontagne today. Read it and download the brilliant song "Trouble." I have been listening to this CD this week and the jury is still out. Anyone who loves old Van Morrison should consider him. Thanks to my bleedin'-edge Whackoff, NJ correspondent for mentioning Ray to me!
Ray LaMontagne website
April 20, 2005
The super cheese-whizzy new pop group that I like, Bodies Without Organs, has a new video out now. You remember them - the Swedes who are big only in Russia. Anyway, this video, which features cameos from Army of Lovers, seems to be a take-off of Madonna's Rain. Lead singer whatsisname is such a "fit" pretty boy that he is a pretty girl. If he ends up in Hollywood, he is destined to be sodomized by an aging media tycoon, is he not?
But I digress. The song "Open Door" is a sugary ballad. If you dig this kind of thing, it will be a wankorama for you. If not, your masculinity (yes, even the women) will be seriously threatened by clicking on this link. Old Bob Seger is the recommended protocol for treatment.
Thanks to Popjustice for the info and the screen shot.
Have you been following the fact that Bono now has a fashion label? Before you roll your eyes and wretch, know that this one is not in the Poop Daddy vein. It's "fair fashion" so to speak - clothes designed by an American (Rogan Gregory, above) and made in North Africa, Lesotho and Peru, organically, with benefits going to the suppliers (versus a sweatshop type of thing). It's designed to put business into Africa, creating self-suffiency and entrepreneurship versus simple charity. The project is headed by Bono's wife Ali Hewson.
Take a look at Edun's website. Edun is nude spelled backward, by the way! The logo and the associated feel of the clothes is very art nouveau, apparently inspired by a house in County Wicklow called Luggala, which you can rent. A lot of the clothing has poetry written on it and much of it is wispy. It's being sold at Saks (run Joanna, run!) and Barney's- and its prices range from $45 to $300.
Note that under the Edun media link you can watch a 6-minute film about the company and how it came to be. You DO actually hear Ali Hewson speak in the film and she doesn't sound like I expected. She's a bit of a mystery girl, isn't she? I thought she would have a deep voice, but she doesn't - it's a delicate Irish lilt. And she's really beautiful.
PS: It's stories like this that make me hate that bitch Jennifer Lopez and her skeevy money-whore lifestyle all the more. Keepn' it real in her Harlem video, in a fur with the pelts of dead baby animals sewn all over it. Just sayin'
Update: There is a second production line called Edun Alive that is doing the concetr t-shorts for the U2 tour. So if you go to see U2, be sure to buy a t-shirt and support this. Coldplay and REM are talking about using Edun Alive for their tours too.
Things to read:
Here is a great piece in the Telegraph that goes into detail about the factory in Lesotho where some of the clothes are made.
Read the excellent Vogue article
April 19, 2005
He said this:
"We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on," Dean said of the brain-damaged Floridian who died last month after her feeding tube was removed amid a swarm of political controversy. Dean, who has called congressional intervention in the Schiavo case "political grandstanding," singled out House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for his leading role in the matter. "This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008," Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group's breakfast in West Hollywood.
I believe the arrangement of words in yellow above was the worst possible thing that could have come out of Dean's mouth at this time. It was, to quote Delay, inartful, and it makes me wonder about his ability to lead the DNC in to the next election. He is a lightning rod and though I like his anger and fearlessness, I am not sure how it will play in Peoria. His style is the antithesis of the DNC's current stars like Hillary Clinton (who, mark my words, cannot be the 2008 candidiate. Can. Not.) and John Edwards, who I think still has comeback potential. Not that playing to the middle, as these two do, is necessarily the right way to go (pun intended). Whatever, this is about now and how America perceives government as using citizens as pawns in a power struggle. Perception is everything. If people believe Howard Dean is doing the same thing as the conservatives, he has no legs to stand on.
More on this topic at the excellent Daily Kos. Meanwhile, Jim in Whackoff tells me we should all kneel at the knees of Randi Rhodes, who I thought was a dead member of Black Sabbath. Apparently not.
Coldplay's new song has hit the web and it's pretty good -very shimmery and chimey! - though nothing remotely new. Hear Speed Of Sound (4:49) via BDA Rules. Meanwhile Coldplaying.com has cracked the cover code and it's fucking boring...something about binaries. Nothing of interest to anyone but math geeks. Maybe the should have called the record Coldplay 1814?
April 18, 2005
If you were in college in the late 1980's you may remember Tanita Tikaram's relative hit "Twist In My Sobriety" - a tune so monolithic that Pet Shop Boys produced a cover of it for Liza Minelli! Tanita continued to release music through much of 90's, culminating in the brilliant 1998 single "Stop Listening" - a truly perfect song no one heard.
Now Tanita is back with a new record called Sentimental due out in Europe in April. Samples of the new music are available here - "Something New" is a good one to try. The photo above is from the last album, but if you want to see how she looks now try here. Anglophiles note that Tanita's uber-sultry brother Ramon was Ferdy in the brilliant This Life series.
Though I am not a true fan, I wanted to let you hipster trolls know that the new White Stripes single is called "Blue Orchid" and you can hear it illegitimately at regnyouth or via iTUnes. To me it sounds like Led Zeppelin meets 1980's Prince.It has been described as beautiful, though I think that it's sort of ear-bleedin'
MTV did a piece on the new album here
It appears, by the way, that they have actors posing as them on the new single cover on iTunes. Maybe because when last seen, Jack had morphed into a bloated Michael Jackson wannabe. The sweetsy fan drawing above comes courtesy of their website.
UPDATE: What does the album sound like? (courtesy Stereogum)
April 17, 2005
April 14, 2005
April 13, 2005
(because it's a classic Tori piano song with beautiful airy production- I love the subtle reverb on the voice)
Pretty Good Year
(because the whole record was a masterpiece and this was an amazing opening song)
(because it's fucking wrenching, even if a little obtuse)
(because of the various bridges/vamps like "And the man with the golden gun..." which I am happy to sing into your answering machine)
Caught A Lite Sneeze
(because the harpsichord kicked ass and sounded like nothing else in pop music at the time...plus a nice sweater in the video and an even nicer "fuck you" to Trent Reznor)
Putting The Damage On
(because of the antique-ish horns. A sad song that should be played in snow)
(for the great, melancholy lyrics and jazzy feel - the reconditioned Librarian version sucks though)
(because of the first line - "father, I killed my monkey" and the hot cocina part... fucking strange)
(see comments further down)
(because everything here is right, especially the arrangement. This one was a brilliant return to form -as they say - after her poor covers album. Even a glamorous bitch can be in need.)
I cannot pick her finest lyric because there are so many, but I would say that in recent years I have preferred the songs that are more transparent: Your Cloud is a perfect song in every way. In fact, I need a relationship just so I can break-up to this song.
If there is a Horizontal Line
that runs from the MAP
off your body
straight through the Land
right through my heart
Will this Horiztonal Line
know how to find
Where you end
where I begin
April 12, 2005
This week my favorite song is “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. They used it to good effect on Alias last week. At first I thought it was some Nina Simone song and then I thought maybe it was a really old Van Morrison song. He has a wonderful burnished voice, so check it out. There is a good piece on him at Six Eyes.
John Wesley Harding has written a book!
The White Stripes have a new album out June 6. It has a good title: Get Behind Me Satan
Speaking of burnished voices, did you buy the Martha Wainwright CD, you bloody motherfucking asshole!?
Torr has some Tears b-sides up now. Most of them of are ballads, strangely enough. Sorry trolls, Torr got a nasty note from the The Tears thugs. From what I heard of the tracks, the Tears need all the help they can get. It's not 1994 anymore, Brett. Move on from the rainy streets and lazy lovers in the trash. Get an age-appropriate topic, like colonoscopy...
Am going to see Ryan Adams and The Cardinals on May 21!
April 11, 2005
April 7, 2005
The other is, of course, Mary Tyler Moore (am I dating myself?). I know it would be a bit cliche to walk into the middle of the street and throw my hat in the air...
I will return late Saturday night. Until that time you should read Stereogum, Torr and/or the wacky gossip blog PageSixSixSix!
April 6, 2005
Note that the CD link above has song samples. I dig the schmaltzy Art Garfunkel cover, "Sometimes When I'm Dreaming"
April 5, 2005
That's what I learned last night when I went to see David Sedaris speak! He read for about 70 minutes from several unreleased stories, some in-process. He was excellent and he made me happy. Among the jewels we have to look forward to in print are some great fables, in which he basically creates a scene of two people hanging out and chatting, but turns the people into animals like chickens and plays subtly on their own attributes. It was fokking genius. You say to yourself, "That seems like such a good idea - why didn't I think of that and why can't I do it too?"
He also seems to be incorporating his boyfriend Hugh (and Hugh's mother, "Ma Hamrick") into his stories more. There was a great one in which he described how Ma Hamrick comes to visit and wants to always help out around the house, so David has her do everything, like move furniture. I hope that one comes out soon. Another one, about a trip to Australia, is to be published in the New Yorker's upcoming travel issue, so keep your eyes peeled.
Sad news: David pulled out of the planned film of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" that was supposed to star Matthew Broderick. Pooh.
Here is David's Tour Schedule: go give him your money and he will give you a fun night. Notice that he does not have one night off between now and April 30. Here also is a link to a book he just put together of stories he likes by other writers.
PS: Illinois lost and I did not win my $10! Boo hooooooooo!
My favorite new song is very suddenly Garbage's "Why Do You Love Me" which clicked with me this weekend in a big way. Check out the excellent video at this fansite. Look for the homage stuff to Debbie Harry and Blondie (some obvious, some not-so). She also reminds me of Annie Lennox in the bathtub sequence. I don't think Shirley Manson has ever looked so fine. I want to break her heart and give her mine.
April 4, 2005
I went to London in July 2000, solo for the first time, and promptly picked up, along with a pile of Lion Bars, the various music "rags" to read on the tube from the airport to town. They were all trumpeting the Hot Single by the New Band: "Yellow" by Coldplay. I had no idea who they were, but after reading so many glowing reviews, I bought the single that first day. Without going into boring drama, I needed some sort of rescuing from a magic new song, the way music fans do. A fix. I lucked out with "Yellow," a gorgeous tune which first struck me as odd because it was a hit single that actually bore the line "Oh what a thing to do." How un-cockrock! I loved the chorus with that "your skin and bones turn into something beautiful" - the way Chris Martin's voice cracked all over it was positively swoony.
That next Monday, July 10, the album Parachutes was released and I bought it that day, thinking I personally had discovered them. I remember sleeping in my cousin's house in Wales with "Trouble" playing over and over. "They spun a we-eb for you." This was the same summer of David Gray's "Babylon" playing everywhere. "Sensitive" male singers were mewling against Fred Durst's faux rage.
It's hard today to reconcile that fresh band - with its moptop-haired, recently deflowered lead singer and his college educated "mates" - with today's mega-corporation of a band. A group with such huge wheels steamrolling behind it that its label has warned that their fiscal year will be seriously fucked by the 3-month delay on the new CD. Coldplay leapt to almost-U2-like proportions without the countless years of albums and touring that got U2 to the lofty point they're at today. I admit Coldplay do not yet give the impression that they only leave their moated country homes to make records so as to pay British taxes, but it's close to that when the moptop singer jets around with a patrician American movie star wife, who herself swans around self-conciously like Grace Kelly II. The same singer has developed a sanctimonious Sean Penn-like penchant for attacking photographers. They spun a web for him.
There is a huge unfair backlash against Coldplay. Even a lesser album cut like "High Speed" is better than most of the utter shit being foisted to Internet coolies today. I loved their last album and I do not buy into the stupid bullshit that they are somehow less because the masses love them. It was a beautiful record and one that the fucking Bravery will never make, I promise you that much. Now that they are about to release their 3rd CD, I am nervous about the high possibility of true suckage. If Embrace's "Gravity" was a castoff, I guess I should not be worried, but really... where do they go? Do they rehash previous work? Change up styles? What will satisfy my expectations? Will we carry on about how good the record is and then, in a few years, admit it really was a letdown? Will the fucking Gyllenhalls and other US Weekly stars flock to the shows? Will that make us be more critical of the CD?
Whatever! All will be revealed in two months when the horribly named X & Y, with its equally meaningless album cover, comes out. The official songlist is out now (see below). Which ones of these will we love like "Trouble" or "The Scientist"? Will these songs become embedded in the public consciousness or --- will this flower just fucking wilt?
1. Square One 2. What If 3. White Shadows 4. Fix You 5. Talk 6. X&Y 7. Speed of Sound 8. A Message 9. Low 10. The Hardest Part 11. Swallowed In The Sea 12. Twisted Logic
notice that it does include the leaked Talk, which, if you have not heard it, is pleasing if not extraordinary.
That's Blaine, Andie and Duckie
Stereogum has a big post on the upcoming Pretty In Pink sequel* The original is one of my all-time favorite movies; it cut very close to home! Among the Stereogum goodies is a link to the Stylus' Top Ten Music Moments in the movie and an MP3 of Suzanne Vega's beautiful teen-angst anthem "Left Of Center" - what teenager didn't hear this song in 1986 and say "That's ME!!"?
If there are any young readers here who have not discovered this movie or album, you have homework to do. Buy the soundtrack here.
EDIT: The sequel turned out to be a hoax. Probably a good thing.
April 2, 2005
More memories of Creem, this cover from 1985.
Rachel Stevens: Negotiate With Love
Cheesy. Poppy. 80's-inspired. This track makes me hideously happy. One sign of a quality tune is attention to detail: the slide guitar, the lalas, the spoken bits. I also love songs that have a verse sung as if it were one word (about 1:45ish) "Whatisityoudon'tunderstand..." Apparently this single is not doing so well on the UK charts, so I'd like to send out an appeal for Parliament to intervene... Watch the video
Bodies Without Organs: Sunshine In The Rain
This song appeals to me quickly by namechecking London in the first line. The BWO (not to be confused with BTO!) album, Prototype, is all Swede-pop smegma, I admit, but it is done so well. The best pop album since Sugababes' Three, in fact, because the melodies are superb. "Sunshine in The Rain" is the best pop record since... "Negotiate With Love"!! - it should be remixed to become the song of Ibiza Summer '05, in my opinion. Vinny, I don't think there are any remixes, but you should seek this one out. Here a sample
Ryan Adams and The Cardinals: Let It Ride
He's sooo back! I'd prefer to forget the Rock'n'Roll CD ever existed (I knew plenty of people who disagreed with me, so I had them taken care of). I prefer Ryan as alt country and this is just THAT...uptempo alt country pop, sort of like some of the most polished Whiskeytown songs. I have high hopes. Hear it on his website, where I believe they are rotating several songs. The CD cover is bad, by the way, but the website art is cool.
Ben Folds: Time
Ben walked into the wilderness for awhile, IMO, after Whatever and Ever Amen did so well. He started his comeback with his clever EPs and now he has a strong CD to follow-up. The elements are the same: sharp lyrics about life and sing-songy vocals backed by a piano that seems more mature than the artist himself. In this case the topic seems to be the break-up of a relationship: "In time I will fade away / In time I won't hear what you say..." Some nice harmonies on this song too. You can't hear it quite yet (don't ask how I did!), but I will do a post when you can.