24 February 2004

in the spirt of yesterday's piece, here is an interview or, perhaps more succintly, a facilitation with kevin rowland and kevin archer from 2001 conducted by everett true, courtesy of tangents.

in other news, has anyone else received compensation from the cd map antitrust suit? i got my check for $13.86 today. i feel just like the little girl in the pepsi-itunes commercial who's getting a song for free and can't be stopped ... except i can (more or less) buy a whole album and she can't! unless, of course, she's using the hack...
in the spirt of yesterday's piece, here is an interview or, perhaps more succintly, a facilitation with kevin rowland and kevin archer from 2001 conducted by everett true, courtesy of tangents.

in other news, has anyone else received compensation from the cd map antitrust suit? i got my check for $13.86 today. i feel just like the little girl in the pepsi-itunes commercial who's getting a song for free and can't be stopped ... except i can (more or less) buy a whole album and she can't! unless, of course, she's using the hack...

23 February 2004

shuffle: dexys midnight runners, "plan b"

what i love about this format is that it allows me to write about things that i've always intended to write about, but, for whatever reason, i had neglected to. in a way, it functions like the radio: at this point, when i have so much music that i sometimes have difficulty navigating through it, skipping through radio stations reminds me about songs that i've loved, that i've wanted to sing along to, but due to sheer volume i've been unable to find.

hearing the opening of "plan b" -- "you've always been searching for something..." -- provides me with that moment of recognition: here is the last band to change my life, a band i've written far too little about. eternal thanks, for many things, really, goes to tom for introducing to this yank the idea that dexys were more, much more, than one song.

i can't say that i actually remember "come on eileen." i allowed myself to be tricked into thinking i did by the spate of totally 80s commercials that undoubtedly always featured a band of ruffians in overalls called dexys something something singing "come on eileen," before a jump cut into "der kommisar." and so following the syllogism that one-hit wonders = bad; dexys = one-hit wonder; dexys = bad, i bore a systematic grudge against them.

and then one day, tom talked about "the occasional flicker" and about dexys in general, and i gave them a chance. that song was quite unlike anything else i ever heard -- until i picked up don't stand me down. dexys was more than just the records they released; they were, like, a theory. i don't think america generally likes bands with ideas: put out records, play live, pose for photos, but no manifestos, please. let the press manufacture your legend; don't try to build one yourself.

someone correct me if i'm wrong here, but it seems to me that dexys may have been the first band of importance to emerge fully-formed, with ideas about everything from their message to their look to their 45 sleeves. true, punk definitely had a look, but i think that's more general (unless, of course, sex pistols fans looked markedly different than, say, damned fans). and glam artists, as individuals, cultivated their images -- but did they transcend their physical appearance and their press photos? maybe roxy music, but i don't know if ferry was as articulate about roxy as kevin rowland was -- and, thankfully, is -- about dexys. every aspect of the band was contrived for maximum effect, and i think one of the band's great triumphs was to give contrivance a very positive connotation. even more impressive: to turn affectation and mannerism (and, later, many other things), terms that would seem to be the antithesis of the genre, into soul music.

this weekend, i brought searching for the young soul rebels to work. i played it in our back room while i was opening stock. a younger co-worker asked who it was and was surprised by the answer. he's a big morrissey fan like many kids his age are and so, in trying to dispel his notions, i described dexys as "the smiths if they were a street gang": dexys kicked down doors, whereas the smiths and morrissey (who had to be influenced by kevin) were more about hiding behind them. listening to "plan b," i still hear a band who want to change the world; with someone as defiant and as unyielding, i can't believe he ever formulated a contingency plan.

22 February 2004

as many of you know, brian wilson debuted smile live friday night at the london royal festival hall. thanks to the industry of others, i had the chance to hear the smile section of the concert in its 46:14 entirety. my first reaction was: how would someone who's never heard this material before react to it? in its live setting, it was presented as a work with three movements: the first ends with "cabinessence"; the second with "surf's up"; and the third with "good vibrations." the lyrics, courtesy of van dyke parks, are as dense and as self-referential as the music itself, which includes such standards as piano, bass, and drums, but also reaches out into things like fire whistles, construction tools, and the sound of vegetables being chewed.

my own experiences began, as with most people, with the harbinger that was the "good vibrations" single, followed after the project's collapse due to brian's instability by "heroes and villains," which we understood was truncated, cobbled together, like the smiley smile album itself, by the other beach boys; and that, depending on who one talked to, existed in a form ranging from anywhere from 7 to twelve minutes. with the purchase of the beach boys boxed set, i became familiar with what we were told was much of what remained from the aborted project. through the smile shop, to whom i am forever indebted, i had a chance to hear various takes on the album by fans and by those in the know. finally, following the tracklisting established by domenic priore in look, listen, vibrate, smile, i created my own personal smile. so, in other words, it all came together piecemeal: i had a chance to let it all sink in over the years. hearing all of this for the first time, as a whole, would be, i think, both richly rewarding and incredibly daunting.

about this particular arrangement of the putative album, i know very little. the album was never finished. i believe there was a tracklisting that escaped on printings of the record sleeve that capitol failed to suppress. still, there's no evidence that that in any way was final. as far as i know, brian was still working when it all became too much for him to bear. as much as i'd like to believe it, it's doubtful that brian himself arranged this 2004 version all by himself. unless, unknown to us, the album did have a shape. it might not be beyond the realm of possibility. after all, despite my own familiarity with the source material, there were many things i had heard for the first time. in particular: many songs i only knew as instrumentals -- "barnyard," "child is the father of the man," and "look," amongst others. also, i believe most experts figured that "surf's up" would close the album and that "good vibrations" was a record company imposition. in this live version, "surf's up," as mentioned above, closes the second movement, and "good vibrations" itself not only ends the "album," but it sounds incredibly well-integrated -- notice the similarity between opener "prayer" and the "i" that begins "good vibrations. in this current arrangement, smile essentially culminates in "good vibrations."

here, according to my searches, is what passes as the "official" setlist for friday night's smile portion:
heroes & villains
do you like worms?
old master painter/you are my sunshine

child is the father of the man
surf's up

i'm in great shape/i wanna be around
whispering winds/wind chimes
heroes & villains intro
i love to say dada
good vibrations

if anyone is having difficulties in getting to hear the performance, leave a comment and i'll see if i can help.

19 February 2004

could there be a more unfashionable band than the vines right now? well, maybe jet. regardless, i was a rather staunch supporter of the band following their first album, and what i appreciated, more than the cod-nirvana rockers, were the quiet, folk-inflected songs that represented craig nicholls' innate talent for both melody and harmony. i've heard the new album, winning days, and, yes, once again, it's the more meditative tracks that win the day, in particular "rainfall" and "winning days" itself. both feature acoustic guitars and beach boys-influenced harmonies (the latter even features a string section), and though i've never been to australia, both seem to tell me a lot about what it might be like to experience the country at its most beautiful (though finney would know better).

unfortunately, two of the uptempo tracks seem set to be radio singles, "ride" and "ftw." "ride" is -- well, as boring as a long-distance trip in the back of your parents' car. "ftw," in full "fuck the world" is -- well, perhaps one sees the problem already, eh? it has a great bassline and the screaming is admirable, but it's called "fuck the world." this side of the strokes or perhaps puddle of mudd, the vines are the worst act to have a song with that title as it only painfully calls to mind that craig is "mental," that the man don't give a fuck. (craig: you're mad, we understand, but that doesn't give you the right.) the chorus goes "come on, fuck the world," so if one uses their imagination, maybe he or she could recast it as an ode to making out with mother earth, but that strikes me as tenuous. so it seems as if the vines will be the first of the garage rock revival bands to fall off the face of the earth, with the hives set to plead their case this spring. damn it, i really liked my vines t-shirt too.

18 February 2004

say happy birthday to matos and, while you're at it, visit his new site (everything's relative). give him a 30th thing to be happy about -- or be sensitive and don't. but hurry! midnight is upon us! though, then again, he's in seattle. so no hurries.

17 February 2004

i saw bernardo bertolucci's the dreamers today. there's so much to say about it, yet given my own particular time constraints as i write this, it's probably best to say as little as possible. (why write about it at all, then? simply because it's fascinated me since i left the theater.) at times, it suggests a henry james novel -- naive american embroiled in a world of european decadence he can hardly understand; at other times, it seems like an inversion of a bout de souffle's creative team, that is truffaut directing from a godard treatment. put in the most ungainly terms, the dreamers is a film about film, for people who love film, and about people who live life as if it were a film; that is, as if it were life that imitated art instead of the converse, or perhaps, and more troubling, as if art initiated life. the film is set against an increasingly agitated political culture (the days leading up to the may '68 student riots in paris), and it's not until, as the film puts it, the streets come flying through the window that the protagonists confront what is happening inside their ever-shrinking internal world and realize the implausibility of living like it's still 1959.

the film deserves its nc-17 rating: i can't imagine many under 17 finding much of interest in the film, apart from the sex scenes, which they can probably download off the internet as i type this. (and, yes, eva green has instantaneously set herself up as an object of both lust and affection for generations of moviegoers to come. moreover, she gives a strong performance -- though feminist critics might argue otherwise, and, to go out on a limb, i think she will have a brighter future than, say, maria schneider.) however, if one is a cinephile, this is basically your high fidelity. the viewer can play a meta- version of the "name that film" that the characters themselves play: is that "ferdinand" from duhamel's pierrot le feu score? is that tom ewell on the screen? etc. leaving the theatre, i felt nostalgia for an era i never lived through, an era where film was granted primacy and something worth fighting for. if only for that reason, it's worth seeing; its charms, however, are multitude.

16 February 2004

shuffle: sam cooke, "tennessee waltz"
he has done far more important and influential work, but this is in all likelihood my favorite sam cooke track. in a move of c&w recasting that would have made brother ray proud, cooke takes patti page's waltz and reimagines it, at perhaps the fastest tempo he'd ever record, as a twist. there's a note he hits at 2:15 which stirs the soul like nothing else he ever sang, even going back to the gospel days; singing along as i inevitably do, it's a note i've only hit once or twice, in incredibly euphoric or enthusiastic moods. so, obviously, where sam parts from ray is in his sympathy with the material. who knows, maybe he just really loved the melody: belle & sebastian liked it so much that they recorded it with new lyrics and title -- which is generally considered more of a rip-off than homage, but, you know, "slow graffiti" is a great song. so, patti's lament becomes a good riddance, a hit the road, jack, to a no-good woman and a false friend. two birds with one stone. sorted.

sam cooke was the first artist i took to that i had in common with my father. my first cooke tape was made by dubbing his a man & his music lps. it was something that was difficult to come to terms with. after all, one is supposed to break from their parents, not sit around and listen to records with them.

my father is a difficult guy to make out. he's a contemporary of many of the legendary first-wave of rock & rollers, and yet he's never been a rock & roll guy, despite having owned a bar in asbury park where a young bruce springsteen would play as he was finding his creative voice. like bruce, my father is a jersey guy, having grown up on the tough streets in nutley, new jersey. like many in the neighborhood, he had an attachment to the sounds of frank sinatra and nat king cole; not long afterwards, he'd become fond of the burgeoning doo-wop sound. singing, back then, was still seen as a very masculine thing, something the guys would do together on their stoops or at local talent shows.

for a bunch of roughnecks, one would think that rock & roll would come natural to them, yet for my father and his crew, there was a great deal of reluctance. sure, rock & roll was tough, but perhaps it lacked beauty. sure, up front, dion, or whomever, would be singing defiantly about his louche ways, but in the background the belmonts would be singing a beautiful harmony. and, besides, who could afford instruments? kids with garages and front lawns -- that is suburban kids.

dion, actually, would be a good point of comparison. i contest that he has the greatest rock voice i've ever heard, and yet i think one could argue that he never really made a rock 'n' roll record; that, even after he dispatched the belmonts, he still maintained the core elements of their sound. which, in part, could explain his post-beatles chart difficulties. for his part, dion would alter his sound and experience success as a folk-rocker before public indifference and a terrible drug habit would be his undoing. my father... he never compromised. as far as he's concerned, the music died in 1962, and he's still listening to those same records. great records, to be sure, as i've been lucky enough to discover. today, he's far removed from the old neighborhood, if only figuratively speaking, but i think he hears the echoes still in those four-part harmonies. the people have moved on, the places have been paved over, but when the needle hits the groove, it's nutley all over again, and he's remained true to it.

15 February 2004

my best friend just got engaged. certainly, a happy valentine's day all around. and yet we're only in the second month of the year and i have a very real possibility of being a party to three wedding... parties. should i just buy a tux and adjust tie and cummerbund as required? perhaps readers of this site shouldn't be surprised to know that one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was, "i wonder what the wedding song will be?" so, of course, there's me who is the farthest thing in the world removed from being married -- happily, i say! -- and yet i have a disc of proposed first dance songs. (list can be provided upon request.)

but, wait, there's more. a friend's father turns 70 this year; my own personal mother turns 60. i got an evite from a friend for her 30th birthday! what's wrong with people?! if they're not aging, they're marrying and having kids. will i remain the only living boy in new jersey?

12 February 2004

so, tonight, shuffle interrupts my incessant playing of "o caroline," but more about that later. tonight, the wheel lands on...

marvin gaye, "can i get a witness?" this is about as close to stax as pre-whitfield motown gets. after a self-possessed start, marvin really lets go, effortlessly recalling sam cooke in a way that otis redding, who really had to work for the money, never could.

i had to re-write the above because what i realized on this particular listen was that my memory of the song, particularly of marvin's vocal, in no way corresponded to the real thing (fighting hard here to resist adding "baby.") i thought marvin maintained his cool throughout the entirety of the record, but, damn, he does rip it up. the first cassette i bought as an informed consumer, thereby discounting the california raisins' sweet, delicious & marvelous,was marvin's greatest hits. i would later buy a boxed set. in a pinch, relatives would buy me some compilation of his (given motown's track record, it tided me over for more holidays than you'd think). now, with a few exceptions ("when did you stop loving me...," "inner city blues," "stubborn kind of fellow") i don't listen to him regularly. a slip like this reminds me that i need to. how many other records might i have misremembered? (which is, of course, different from how many records have i misrepresented, you wags.)

but speaking of misrepresenting, i just noticed, listening to a lot of robert wyatt as of late, that i left "o caroline" by matching mole off the twee set, which means i need to re-record the whole of it, probably losing roxy. this is where i really wish i had a server to upload mp3s too, as "o caroline" is from a fairly obscure one-off. it's clumsy, endearing, cute, and finally heartbreaking, perhaps not a million miles away from david ackles' "down river" (and a direct forebear of belle & sebastian's entire aesthetic). which i'd also like to share. damn.
and so all of a sudden, primal scream become a much easier band to describe to friends and family who are not au fait. yes, it's time to do away with "they had that one song in airheads with brendan fraser," because they now have their very own at&t commercial (t&t?) or, rather, "come together" does. i suppose it'll help fund the revolution or whatever bobby's up to nowadays. apparently what at&t has over other service providers is an ability to bring people together less expensively, not to mention a better record collection. people of all ages and sizes sing along a bit, "come together" and so forth, but i think in a post-janet america they're going to catch hell for having that little girl sing "i want you to touch me." it's all too much.

11 February 2004

shuffle!: in which i set my cd... machine on random and tell it to do its worst, as i attempt the same here.

guns 'n' roses, "mr. brownstone": did g'n'r officially use two apostrophes in its name? or did it go the route of the less grammatically-correct single? well, as axl might say, grammar be damned. my first encounter with "mr. brownstone," by which i mean the song -- haven't i already annoyed the hell out of you with my non-substance policy?

so, "mr. brownstone." i was... 11. my best friend's older brother owned the record. "mr. brownstone" became a sort of code, if it wasn't already. what it signified was not necessarily heroin (?), but being badass. that is, until his mother broke the record in half when she saw the artwork. God knows what she would have made of the music itself. after that, the older brother turned to ozzy, who apparently was more palatable to mom. hm. as i say this, the record has ended -- yes, now you realize how long it takes me to come up with this material. what's playing now is the pet shop boys' "se a vida e." did you know that axl is a fan?

roots of twee: i recently assembled a mixdisc that traced the history of twee (or histwee) for a friend. i ended up making it two discs because my desire to sequence is chronologically -- first track notwithstanding -- meant that i would have to leap from roxy music's "just like you" to orange juice's "consolation prize," and that was something i didn't want to do. i would theorize that the gap between 1974 and 1980 was due to the rise and fall of punk, with the return of twee as a reaction to that genre's nihilism. the following is the tracklisting for the discs. i'm working on notes for them right now and will post them when i've finished.

disc 1.
1. nick drake, "sunday" (from bryter layter lp)
2. donovan, "catch the wind" (from catch the wind lp)
3. the lovin' spoonful, "you didn't have to be so nice" (from daydream lp)
4. the beach boys, "you still believe in me" (from pet sounds lp)
5. the beatles, "here, there and everywhere" (from revolver lp)
6. the left banke, "walk away renee" (from walk away renee/pretty ballerina lp)
7. the monkees, "take a giant step" (from the monkees lp)
8. tim buckley, "song for jainie" (from tim buckley lp)
9. the rolling stones, "back street girl" (from between the buttons [uk] lp)
10. the velvet underground, "sunday morning" (from the velvet underground & nico lp)
11. the incredible string band, "first girl i loved" (from 5000 spirits or the layers of the onion lp)
12. the mamas & the papas, "creeque alley" (from deliver lp)
13. spanky and our gang, "sunday will never be the same" (from spanky and our gang lp)
14. sagittarius, "my world fell down" (from present tense lp)
15. the free design, "kites are fun" (from kites are fun lp)
16. cowsills, "the rain, the park and other things" (from cowsills lp)
17. love, "andmoreagain" (from forever changes lp)
18. the bee gees, "melody fair" (from odessa lp)
19. tyrannosaurus rex, "cat black (the wizard's hat)" (from unicorn lp)
20. suzi jane hokom, "for a day like today" (from cowboy in sweden lp)
21. simon & garfunkel, "the only living boy in new york" (from bridge over troubled water lp)
22. bread, "it don't matter to me" (from "it don't matter to me (second version)" 45)
23. the stories, "love is in motion" (from about us lp)
24. roxy music, "just like you" (from stranded lp)

disc 2
1. orange juice, "consolation prize" (from you can't hide your love forever lp)
2. shop assistants, "somewhere in china" (from safety net ep)
3. the pastels, "breaking lines" (from "truck, train, tractor" 7")
4. the smiths, "ask" (from "ask" 7")
5. the vaselines, "son of a gun" (from "son of a gun" 7")
6. primal scream, "imperial" (from sonic flower groove lp)
7. talulah gosh, "i can't get no satisfaction (thank god)" (from bringing up baby ep)
8. the go-betweens, "dive for your memory" (from 16 lovers lane lp)
9. the la's, "there she goes" (from the la's lp)
10. pixies, "winterlong" (from "dig for fire" 7")
11. the sundays, "here's where the story ends" (from reading, writing and arithmetic lp)
12. the field mice, "september's not so far away" (from "september's not so far away" 7")
13. electronic, "get the message" (from electronic lp)
14. magnetic fields, "100,000 fireflies" (from "100,000 fireflies" 7")
15. bmx bandits, "serious drugs" (from serious drugs ep)
16. heavenly & calvin johnson, "c is the heavenly option" (from le jardin de heavenly lp)
17. blueboy, "sea horses" (from if wishes were horses... lp)
18. saint etienne, "hobart paving" (from "hobart paving/who do you think you are?" 7")
19. the wedding present, "gazebo" (from watusi lp)
20. trembling blue stars, "abba on the jukebox" (from her handwriting lp)
21. belle & sebastian, "slow graffiti" (from this is just a modern rock song ep)

10 February 2004

towards a definition of the jersey guy: the jersey girl phenomenon has, of course, been well-documented, but now that it has become a marketable type, peter genovese attempts, in an article from sunday's newark star-ledger, to delineate the character of the jersey guy. the best definition comes from a woman named "jenna" who wishes to remain anonymous for... i don't know, fear of the stigma that would attach itself to her:

"Ambition, humor, smart sarcasm, a strong sense of family and friends and a self-deprecating humility," she replied. "Just look ... at the Jersey guys -- Jon Stewart, Bon Jovi, Bruce. All family guys, all just down-home good people. Proud to be from Jersey.

"Jersey boys are funny and fun, and loyal to their friends. Don't get me wrong -- they can be complete dogs to the girls they date, but they will make sure to work very hard to be the biggest dogs they can be; they won't settle for second-rate status. But at the end of the day, if given a choice between a Jersey guy and one elsewhere, and I have dated a ton from both, it's all about Jersey."

living (and dead) embodiments of the jersey guy: abbott & costello (asbury park & paterson, respectively), yogi berra (montclair), jon bon jovi (sayreville), danny devito (neptune), james gandolfini (westwood), ed harris (englewood), jerry lewis (newark), richard lewis (englewood), ray liotta (newark), vince lombardi (englewood), bill maher (river vale), norman mailer (long branch), jack nicholson (neptune), bill parcells (oradell), joe pesci (penns grove), frank sinatra (hoboken), kevin smith (red bank), kevin spacey (south orange), jon stewart (lawrenceville), john travolta (englewood), frankie valli (newark), bruce willis (penn's grove).

my dad is perhaps the ultimate jersey guy. given my own particular aspirations, i think i tend towards the philip roth/allen ginsburg pole. yet i still derive a great deal of pleasure from meeting up with friends at a lousy highway bar and shooting the shit until the bar band inevitably works itself up to "living on a prayer." and there are few things i enjoy more on an autumn sunday than driving out to the hot grill, picking up a few all-the-way and gravy fries, and settling in to watch the giants game with the old man.
whatsthedownload.com, thetruth.com of illegal downloading: maybe you've been hearing "a lot of noise" recently about this site, ever since neil portnow "dropped science" about it sunday night. what's up with that? feel free to "hit them up" for the "haps on the craps." don't got e-mail? that's a-ight because whatsthedownload.com rocks on and off the internet. so, yeah, share the love. or, rather, don't.

when you visit the site, try to figure out which slang is on the site and which i just threw in there for the hell of it. also: ask yourself if there are any real young people behind this site. as follow-ups, consider: were they sued? and: are they the kids from zoom! all grown up?

09 February 2004

songs to download & sing:
the delays, "long time coming": one of my favorite self-invented microeconomic is called, for lack of a better name, songs-that-could-have-been-in-80s-teen-movies. with a synth line that whistles like the breeze through one's hair and a petulant verse hook of "why'd you go and do that for?", the third single from britain's the delays is an archetype of the genre; that it mildly recalls both 80s and post-80s bands like tears for fears and the la's don't hurt either. and, yes, i've always been a sucker for songs that seem to be about returns or a desire for return after long absence (e.g. lovin' spoonful's "darling be home soon" or ltd's "stranger.")

the cure, "2 late": have i mentioned that i also enjoy "i will wait for you" themes as well? now, i'm not the biggest cure fan in the world -- what was it i once said? tuneless twat? -- but, as evidence of a kinder, gentler me, i'm listening to, of all things, cure b-sides, and i've really taken to this song, a b-side of "lovesong." perhaps i don't so much dislike the cure as i never seem to see eye-to-eye with their fans: i tend to prefer the cure songs, like "friday i'm in love," where happiness seems like an option, as opposed to the ones that last, on average, nine minutes in length and, in between the thudding drums and muted synths, read like pages torn from a hot topic employee's diary. (did i say "kinder, gentler?") "2 late" could be read rather bleakly, too, but i hear expectation, the desire to catch even a fleeting glimpse of a loved one, but not creepy in a clay aiken "invisible" kinda way. in addition, the music is lovely, smith's hopes borne aloft by beautiful guitar figures that sound like amplified sighs.

scissor sisters, "mary": "mary" is the kind of elton john pastiche-- or perhaps homage, as "pastiche" might be taken as a pejorative, that would make robbie williams lament parting ways with guy chambers. in fact, "mary" is better than 90% of the songs on don't shoot me i'm only the piano player, the elton album it most recalls. ("skyline pigeon" still has it beat, even if it was a bonus track.) will elton john be to '04 what the cars were to '03? and does anyone have a u.s. release date on the sisters' album? matthew?

...and one not to:
janet jackson, "love me for a little while": ugh. no wonder she had to bare a breast. in fact, it's going to take a lot more than that to sell this turd, media firestorm or no. janet makes her "rock" move. admirable though it is to try and broaden the pallette, especially after the mostly-disappointing all for you, "love me for a little while" comes off like a shania twain afterthought, with poorer production values -- i have to hope that jam & lewis had nothing to do with this. in 18 years, she's gone from "let's wait awhile" to "love me for a little while" and the new album, damita jo. promises to "expose her sexuality." (...) what one wouldn't give for a little chastity at this point.

05 February 2004

hello again.

if you're reading this, you must be a glutton for punishment. (my key demographic.)

i've no idea what i intend to do with this space. except fill it with words, for now. usually when i kick things off (or re-kick them off), i do a list. i don't know, perhaps i'm a little less ambitious or else maybe i've gained some humility in the time away.

or perhaps i'm just as lazy as ever.
songs listened to on a car ride home:
the verve, "bittersweet symphony" (wplj)
coldplay, "in my place" (k-rock)
roberta flack & donny hathaway, "where is the love?" (cbs-fm)
twista ft. kanye west & jaime foxx, "slow jam" (z-100)
outkast, "hey ya!" (k-rock)

as "bittersweet symphony" was released, richard ashcroft went on endlessly about the layers, all the tracks that the band (of course, meaning himself) layered one on top of another, trying to lead the listener away from the fact that the song's core isn't ashcroft's bittersweet diatribe about life, but the string sample pilfered from an old symphonic stones record. and so, yeah, tonight, the track sounded simply adorned in a coat of strings, with the double-kick drums tugging one back down to earth and an occasional steel cry echoing through the evening air. paired back-to-back with coldplay's "in my place" with its high 'n' lonesome guitar lines, i was wondering when the heat would kick in.

one can usually depend on donny & roberta to bring the heat -- not for nothing that biz markie sampled them for "it's spring again." sure, one can look at the donny & roberta team and despair of the fact that they, along with sympathetic motown refugees, brought to soul the sense that heart wasn't enough, that lyrics was where it was at (and, thus, covers of, um, "you've got a friend.") but it seems like so much quibbling when those voices blend and the bass starts to move. whatever happened to nimble bass players?

and whatever happened to slow jams? waylaid by the narcissism brought on by cribs culture? and why on heaven's name did kanye give this track to twista when his own (i.e. kanye's) output can't be heard on top 40 radio? or is that the point? and forget about his aborted solo career, does anyone remember jaime foxx, full stop?

and will everyone forget "hey ya!" long enough to get another andre 3000 track on the radio? he's lucky outkast are a known quantity and so "hey ya!" won't develop into the kind of millstone that nickelback will be forced to bear for eternity. (but don't they always sound like they're carrying some heavy load -- or need to drop one?) and if they were unknown, would anyone make it through that span from 0:36 to 1:10 where the two word chorus is made to support the entirety of the song without switching stations?

i often wonder what "hey ya!" would have been like if the monkees had gotten to it first. there's no way don kirshner would've put up with that chorus, handclaps or no.
i am the boy who cried wolf.