Saturday, October 21, 2017

Disappointing David Brooks, Parts 507–511

Wow, time flies when you are gainfully employed and not looking for things to do because you've seen all the porn. I haven't even considered David Brooks and his disappointments with various people and/or groups of people and/or the nation as a whole in at least a month. But just because I didn't look, doesn't mean Brooks's disappointment wasn't in full effect.

How have we been disappointing David Brooks of late?

He's certainly disappointed that none of the Republicans in charge (you know, the adults) have managed to stop Trumpism. He has a problem with the Trumpist idea that "Americans are being oppressed by a snobbish elite" and he writes that without even the slightest hit of irony or self-awareness.

Unless David Brooks is even more subtle than me... well played Mr. B.

"Won't somebody please explain to these stupid Trump supporters that things were better before" Brooks seems to implore. And you'll note that he did say "please."

He's disappointed, but only mildly so, that he has to explain the gun culture to us (in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas). Deep down he likes explaining things to us. Hopefully the females in David Brooks's life understand that he's not mansplaining to them, he's just David Brooks.

Guns represent America, good and bad, and we can deal with guns after we end the culture war. Interestingly enough he doesn't actually take a stand on gun rights or the prevalence of guns and gun violence during the column, but by implying that there is progress to be made, it's clear that David Brooks wants to take your guns. Try to act surprised.

He's disappointed with Taylor Swift, but not with her appearance. She is talented and beautiful, while Chance the Rapper (as opposed to Chance the Flooring Installer) is merely talented. And humble. And genuine.

David Brooks not only knows who Chance the Rapper is, he also knows who the Sex Pistols is. Are.

He also knows the Sex Pistols.

I want to dress up as this semi-non-sequitur for Halloween: "It’s been a long time since the Sex Pistols burst on the scene."

The scene.

Okay, it's very possible David Brooks doesn't actually know the Sex Pistols as much as he knows that there's a thing called a Sex Pistols and that once upon a time they burst on to one scene or another. It might have been the squash scene. Or the Southampton cocktail party scene. Or was it the TriBeCa scene? Oh TriBeCa... remember lofts? Those were crazy. Just one big room. You can't even do cocaine discreetly in a loft.

What was his point? Oh, having done the math (56/2 = 28, 28 + 7 = 35, 35 > 27), David Brooks is disappointed that the beautiful, but talented, but beautiful Taylor Swift is behaving not like a the sincere Chance the Rapper (with whom David Brooks would totally be friends, if only Chance the Rapper summered in Ogunquit where they would very likely strike up a casual conversation at a quaint coffee shop while their cars were getting oil changes at the BMW place in Stratham. David Brooks and Chance the Rapper would have a lot in common, I'm certain. They're both bipedal male carbon-based life forms, for starters.

And they both drive 2015 BMW X5s, probably. Brooks's is probably a pearl white with tan leather interior and a Sade CD in the center arm rest storage. Chance's would have tinted windows and "blacked out" wheels. David Brooks would call them nifty but secretly David Brooks wouldn't particularly like them.

Does Taylor Swift even know how to drive?! She's not sincere, she's a brand. And like 21 years away from being a socially acceptable partner for David Brooks.

David Brooks is also disappointed that there aren't more John McCains in the world. John McCain is laudable because he sounds like he wants things to change while ensuring the political orthodoxy remains un-upended.

David Brooks is always disappointed when the political orthodoxy is upended.

Sure McCain can be craven and petty and spiteful and just plain wrong, but at least he knows not to fuck with the status quo. Not in any meaningful way.

David Brooks wants more pretend mavericks.

And finally David Brooks is disappointed that you don't recognize how mother-fucking awesome America is. Everything IS awesome, and you should just succumb to that. Embrace the comfort of the status quo! The status quo is certainly comfortable in his Lincoln Park neighborhood—he extrapolates from that.

The awesome USA has the largest GDP per capita!!!

If you ignore the 7 countries with larger per capita GDPs, the USA has the largest GDP per capita!!! Is Luxembourg even a country? Whatev.

Brooks points out that there are "can do" people (the upswingers) and "can don't" people (the downswingers), and urges the upswingers to respect the concerns of the downswingers. Why can't the upswingers just get along with the downswingers, and to a lesser extent vice versa?

Shorter David Brooks:
  • Please start getting along, or at least pretend like you're getting along
  • Stop trying to upend the political orthodoxy
  • Why isn't Taylor Swift 35 to 38 years old!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "Black Rainbows"

You ever hear a song you like to much that you stop the work you're getting paid to do so you can post it as a song of the day that won't appear for like 2 more days?

Me neither.

Song: "Black Rainbows"
Artist: Cut Copy

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Song of the Day: "Cross My Heart"

I'm instantly charmed by Melody's Echo Chamber and hopefully you will be too.

Song: "Cross My Heart"
Artist: Melody's Echo Chamber

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Song of the Day: "1-800-273-8255"

Fuck this is a great idea for a song. I don't begrudge people who decide to end their own lives--I think it's selfish to call them selfish. Without knowing their pain, you can't know whether the decision was valid.

But all that is predicated  on it being the decision of an adult, someone with real context for what their life is, what it will be. Young people need to talk to someone first, and this number, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, is a good place to start.

Certainly better than calling me at 2 in the morning. I probably won't answer.

Song: "1-800-273-8255"
Artist: Logic/Alessia Cara/Khalid

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Song of the Day: " Metamorpheus"

The artist formerly known as Terrance Trent D'Arby is back with a 3 CD release and this is the first single.


This is the best they could come up with.

That does not bode well.

Song: "Metamorpheus"
Artist: Sananda Maitreya

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Synergy in Healthcare

Note: there's no overlap
Could it be that having a for-profit entity between you and your doctor isn't the best thing for your health?

Nah. I'm sure it's fine since it's the way we've been doing things for millions of years.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Song of the Day: "Too Good At Goodbyes"

This may be the first Sam Smith song that I like.

Song: "Too Good At Goodbye"
Artist: Sam Smith

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Song of the Day: "Our Hell"

Emily Haines of Metric is back as Soft Skeleton (the album is credited to Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, but Soft Skeleton is Emily Haines's solo project from a decade ago). Where does Metric end and her solo sound begin? Hard to say...

Song: "Our Hell"
Artist: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton

Saturday, October 7, 2017

What Exactly Did Obi Wan Do For Luke?

During an episode of The Orville (the mediocre Star Trek homage starring Seth McFarlane and other people of less note [the wonderful Penny Johnson who is, apparently now Penny Johnson Something, is in the cast]) a character offered to to act as another character's Obi Wan. The second character had no idea who that was (which was mildly funny).

But the reference bugged me, because Obi Wan (a white guy) may be the poster child for failing upward.

  • Did Obi Wan protect Luke from the Empire? No. 
  • Was Obi Wan honest with Luke about his past? His family? "Oh, right, the Princess we're trying to save is your sister and the guy who's trying to kill us is your dad." No. 
  • Did he become more powerful than Vader could possibly imagine after telling Vader that he (Kenobi) would become more powerful than he (Vader) could possibly imagine should he (Vader) strike him (Kenobi) down? No.
  • Did he repeat "use the force" without any additional context or coaching of any kind? Yes. How is that helpful?!

Hell, he trained Darth Vader. Not only did he not fix the problem, he's the cause. Partially the cause.

If you do a search on "Obi Wan the worst Jedi" you will get many great results.

Song of the Day: "Why We Build the Wall"

If there's ever been a time for Billy Bragg to be a transformative figure in the world, well, this is one of those times, probably. I'm not sure this song is going to be the key to that happening.

If anything he's just explaining what everyone already understands. Especially Trump supporters.

"Hey, you, 'rapists', stay away. Don't take my stuff!"

Song: "Why We Build the Wall"
Artist: Billy Bragg

Friday, October 6, 2017

Song of the Day: "She Got Time"

There's a quality to this track from The Morning Yells that hearkens back to 70s album rock radio. There's a Fleetwood Eagle Souther meets Wilco Jayhawks thing going on that doesn't suck.

Song: "She Got Time"
Artist: The Morning Yells

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Song of the Day: "Timothy's Prayer"

This is the dude who won the 2017 Mercury Prize. I'm digging it.

Song: "Timothy's Prayer"
Artist: Sampha

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Should Have Worn My Kenny G* Shirt Instead

I just read that Tom Petty died. Purely coincidentally (I hope), I'm wearing my Tom Petty t-shirt. Technically I put the shirt on yesterday... yesterday? or was it Saturday?... shit, it may have been Saturday so either there's a long delay or it was totally a coincidence and not a causal relationship.

The shirt is from a benefit concert that Petty performed back in 2004. Dr. Botox's charity, an evening so important that he couldn't leave early but that would run so late he couldn't get to Washington, D.C. to do something (hmm, let's say he was testifying before a Senate subcommittee but it could easily have been the House, or the FDA or some pharma company, or even just doing fillers + Botox for Theresa Heinz-Kerry and John Kerry notable DC denizens) and had to borrow someone's private jet. Verna Harrah! I can't believe I remembered that.

Which is how I got to fly across the country on a private jet. It's wasn't a Gulfstream. I'm thinking it was this one, but it's all hazy. Also, as much fun as it is flying across the country on a private jet, that experience is wasted on you if you take an Ambien and sleep the entire trip. A few days before the trip I was told they'd make whatever I wanted to eat and, having no idea what I'd be in the mood for then I ordered steak and eggs. That was more than 10 years ago, but since it won't insult anyone else I'll declare it the best steak and eggs I've ever had (so far).

But this isn't about the flight or the jet or the steak and eggs. This is about Tom Petty and A Concert for Stephen which is the name of that charity event. Stephen was the brother of Petty's second wife, Dana. Stephen passed away from complications due to HIV/AIDS. The charity was (is) an HIV/AIDS charity. Dana was devoted to her brother. She and Dr. Botox overcame Petty's reluctance to do a show for a bunch of rich people (I'm paraphrasing, but the sentiment was that he wasn't about to tone down the music because his fans would be coming and paying the big ticket prices to see him and they deserved a Tom Petty show).

I didn't get to meet Petty that night. There was an awkward moment, shortly after we arrived at the venue (a lovely resort on the coast in northern Orange county, have no idea which), where we saw Tom and Dana having dinner seemingly in the center of a restaurant, as though they were seated for maximum conspicuousness. Yikes. We waved (Dr. Botox waved, the royal we). Dana waved back. Tom was clearly unhappy being so visible. I understood.

I did get to meet Jackson Browne that night. Thanks to Dr. Botox I met a serious array of celebrities, many of whom were exceedingly gracious and personable. Jackson Browne was not one of them. In his defense, why the fuck should he be nice to me when he's late to bash Daryl Hannah's face in for something.

That was also the night that I may or may not have taken a fistful of prescription painkillers to Carrie Fisher's (oh, and Billie Lourd, now that she's famous I can start dropping her name as well) room as a bribe to get Fisher onstage to act as celebrity auctioneer. I left with a dress made entirely of sequins (a donation from Debbie Reynolds to the celebrity auction) which I later was guilted into buying. I think Kelly has it now. Carrie served as auctioneer.

The concert was great. The band had been performing for more than 25 years at that point. When you're not trying to prove yourself, to make your name, the confidence that comes with experience makes for a really good show. They sounded great. So naturally we left around 5 songs in.

Uh, hello, we had a plane to catch... granted the plane would wait as long as we wanted them to, but whatev. Dr. Botox always took 3 times as long doing anything as it should have.

Southern Accents is the first Tom Petty album I purchased. I liked his... their... music before that, but the combination of Dave Stewart producing and the cool video for "Don't Come Around Here No More" prompted me to buy the cassette. Yes, I'm "bought the cassette" years old. I fell in love with the opening track, "Rebels." Tom Petty, frustrated that he couldn't get the mix right when recording this song, because he was fucked up, punched a wall and broke his hand. This song broke Tom Petty's hand.

I instantly fell in love with the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks reunion song "Needles and Pins" (co-written by Sonny Bono, originally recorded by The Searchers). I told my little sister how Petty was singing circles around Nicks this time out and she pointed out that it was a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers single with Stevie as guest vocalist. That doesn't mean I was wrong.

Tom Petty played Tom Petty on It's Garry Shandling's Show. They were legitimately friends for decades. He also played Lucky on later seasons of King of the Hill.

I need to close this out so I'll wrap things up with "American Girl" which is just a great fucking song.

I'll also point out that Dr. Botox is dead, Verna Harrah is dead, Carrie Fisher is dead, Garry Shandling is dead, Sonny Bono is dead, and now Tom Petty is dead. Jackson Browne, on the other hand... isn't.

Rest in peace, dude.

* Alternative shitty musical acts I'd considered in lieu of Kenny G: Nickelback; Creed;

Song of the Day: "The Only Way"

My lackadaisical approach to blogging means that I'm way behind on songs of the day (I bet you hadn't even noticed). Here's something from Tricky.

Song: "The Only Way"
Artist: Tricky

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Song of the Day: "Feels Like Heaven"

Ariel Pink, of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti... a shortened name. I did not see that coming.

Totally digging the song though.

Song: "Feels Like Heaven"
Artist: Ariel Pink

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Song of the Day: "Cut to the Feeling"

I guess it's possible to have recording sessions that are so filled with brilliance that you can have a cache of surplus great music that is sufficient to a a b-side collection. That's gotta hurt the pop artists who can't even piece together 10 decent cuts though. Way to run up the score Carly Rae.

Song: "Cut to the Feeling"
Artist; Carly Rae Jepsen

song of the Day: "Life's About to Get Good"

Shania, which is short for Shania Twain, aka Shania Law which the Arabs want to make us do all the time here, is back from wherever it was she went for a long while. Apparently she lost the ability to actually sing since this new album, Now, is filled with as many post hoc vocal production tricks as a Britney Spears album.


A personal note to Shania: if you change your locks it won't matter if you made him leave his keys.

Song: "Life's About to Get Good"
Artist: Shania Twain-Law

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Song of the Day: "Week Without You"

Miley Cyrus... I want good things for Miley.

Song: "Week Without You"
Artist: Miley Cyrus

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Song of the Day: "Bodak Yellow"

Cardi B, who I have never heard of prior to today, beat Taylor Swift for the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. This song, which I have never hard before just now, is a piece of shit.

Articles about the song call it record breaking because it's the first number one single by a solo female rapper since Lauryn Hill. That's not a record breaking thing. It ends a run but how was the centuries of no number one single before Lauryn Hill not the record breaker.

Also this song completely sucks.

Song: "Bodak Yellow"
Artist: Cardi B

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Song of the Day: "Real Death"

It is remarkable to me that someone encased in the misery of losing a wife (who is also the mother to his infant child because that amplifies the magnitude of the shit) would put that misery to canvas and make art. In this case canvas is a metaphor.

Mount Eerie's A Crow Looked at Me is a diary of Phil Elverum's loss and grief. His daughter was 18 months old at the time of her mother's death. Whatever stupid thing I might write after that would be worthless.

Song: "Real Death"
Artist: Mount Eerie

Monday, September 11, 2017

Song of the Day: "So Much Love"

It is.
Depeche Mode's Spirit is filled with negativity, but that negativity is just a reaction to how shit is fucked up and bullshit, which it is. So can you blame them? Maybe. Should you blame them? No.

Do you want Depeche Mode lecturing you about politics? Why not. They've been consistent about whether or not people are people (they are) for 30+ years now.

Song: "So Much Love"
Artist: Depeche Mode

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Song of the Day: "The Punishment of Luxury"

"The Punishment of Luxury"
Artist: Giovanni Segantini
Today's song is the title track to The Punishment of Luxury, the third post-reformation album from Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and why are all the names involved in this so long?

Naturally I meant OMD.

I really liked their English Electric album (another post-reformation) and am optimistic about this one as well (always a bad sign). The title is meant to convey the idea of "first world" problems.

Song: "The Punishment of Luxury"
Artist: OMD

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Song of the Day: "... Ready for It?"

Taylor Swift has decided to release some forgettable/uncatchy music. I think this was a poor decision for her, career-wise.

Then again she hasn't needed my help prior to this.

Song: "...Ready for It?"
Artist: Taylor Swift

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "Blood Under My Belt"

The first time listening to this first single from The Drums' "Abysmal Thoughts" album captures every glorious quality they posses. So now you know what I hear in them.

Song: "Blood Under My Belt"
Artist: The Drums

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Claire Danes... in a role that will surprise you

Claire Danes / Louise Linton
Coming this fall to Crackle, #WhiteSavior The Story of How Wealth and Beauty Combined to Save Africa and Then Made America Great Again #YouRWelcome #Crackle, the harrowing yet heart-warming #prada true* story of how a hot** young*** #burberry actress****/writer***** went to Africa #hermes, saved all the African AIDS babies and stuff, then #DKNY returned to America #D&G and fixed the economy #YSL for all the thankless fat chicks in sweat pants #Dior who are even poor yet somehow they get to be on the internet #LV.

Also starring Emmy winner Eric McCormack, or possibly the re-animated corpse of Tony winner Jerry Orbach, as Stephen Mnuchin, the billionaire (oh, makes sense now does it?) husband of the blonde savior of Africa AND America by which we mean the United States of... Also he is nearly 20 years older than her but we are confident that she married him for his looks and that he married her for her emotional maturity and social media savvy.

Crackle: we are too still around

* "true" is not used in the technical sense
** "hot" is not meant to convey attractiveness or warmth
*** "young" is meant relative to the Earth's age since the character is over 30 which, for women in Hollywood, is a no-fly zone
**** While the protagonist has, technically, performed in non-pornographic movies, her at-the-time boyfriend did pay the producers of at least one movie to include here, so "actress" yes; professional actress, no.
***** She is a published writer.
***** She is a self-published writer.
***** She is a self-published co-writer. "Life was idyllic at first. But I soon learned that Africa is rife with hidden danger. I witnessed random acts of violence, contracted malaria and had close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes." It's like In and Out of Africa!!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Is there a cover charge?"

Jordan didn't pick up on that being a reference to a scene from Arrested Development's third season "Notapusy" so I'm including it here. I used it when, after inviting me to an event, he pointed out that there would be a shortage of females which might not be a problem for me so long as I was into mid-20s lumberjacks and electricians, to which I said "is there a cover charge?"

Hilarity ensued.


Song of the Day: "Replica"

I've had a good week with music, hearing or re-hearing some really fantastic recent works. The xx is among them, and this latest album is stellar.

Song: "Replica"
Artist: The xx

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "How We Met, The Long Version"

God damn this track from Jens Lekman is almost as good as his song of the summer.

If memorizing these lyrics helps someone pass a science class then I believe Lekman deserves sainthood.

Song: "How We Met, The Long Version"
Artist: Jens Lekman

Friday, August 18, 2017

Song of the Day: "Pa'lante"

God damn, there's no denying the Michelle Shocked-ness of Alynda Lee Segarra's vocals on this track from Hurray for the Riff Raff's Navigator (an album I am absolutely in love with).

But more than that, the song borrow's its structure from "A Day in the Life" and even with no Hispanic heritage, I find the world-weariness in the opening of the song utterly relatable. The song celebrates Segarra's Puetro Rican heritage and that community's struggles to find a place in America–including part of the poem "Puerto Rican Obituary"–before it transitions to an ass-kicking finale bursting with pride and empowerment and life.

If you have any musical curiosity these days, find a copy of Navigator to listen through a few times.

Song: "Pa'lente"
Artist: Hurray for the Riff Raff

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Song of the Day: "Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution"

God damn there is no denying the Elton John-ness of this track from Father John Misty. And while I doubt I'm going to show up to see him in a festival setting when he's in town later this month, this article, calling him the best kind of asshole, makes me want to see him live.

Song: "Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution"
Artist: Father John Misty

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Song of the Day: "Carin at the Liquor Store"

I love The National.

No, that's not right.

I find the music of The National to be rewarding.

Emotionally challenging? Sure. Rewarding? Definitely.

Make of that what you will.

Song: "Carin at the Liquor Store"
Artist: The National

Friday, August 4, 2017

Song of the Day: "Scars To Your Beautiful"

To my beautiful what, Alessia Cara?!!!


In reviewing the MTV Video Music Award nominees for Video of the Year (yes, it's insanely stupid that MTV still does this, except not really since they are pretty much able to leverage this for a lot of free press based on whatever scandalous thing _________ does/says/wears this year, and you can never get enough gift bags [unless the value of said gift bag is reported to the IRS]) I ran across this somewhat meh song from Alessia (she made my top 10 singles list in 2015 and, comparatively, this is a let down). And when I read about the song via Wikipedia, I felt super old:
Katy Iandoli of Idolator stated "[Scars to Your Beautiful] is a modern-day version of TLC's 'Unpretty', in its acknowledgment of the beauty in both visible and invisible imperfections."
Why would something be a modern-day version of a song that's like 6 years old?! Only "Unpretty" isn't 6 years old. It's 36 years old!!!!

No, it's not, it's just 19 years old.

Still, old. Yikes.

Song: "Scars To Your Beautiful"
Artist: Alessia Cara

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "What'll I Do"

I don't recall how I crossed paths with Kathleen Grace, but I'm on her email list. She emailed me to let me know about the video for this song, a collaboration with pianist Larry Goldings.

Grace is a song stylist (it seemed important to mention that).

The song is from Irving Berlin. It was definitely important to mention that.

No Norah Joneses were harmed in the making of this song... I'm guessing.

Song: "What'll I Do"
Artist: Kathleen Grace/Larry Goldings

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

More Like 25 Words

CheatSheet, which is a website or something (maybe it's an aspirational sticky lifestyle brand, maybe a curated immersive platform for the alt-right), published a piece titled "11 Words You Should Never Say in a Job Interview" (here) and that seemed like the kind of thing I would find useful (unless it put these words in my head to avoid thus subconsciously inspiring me to say them, but what are the odds that could ever happen?!!!). Rather than force you to endure the click bait, there is their list:

  1. Always
  2. Never
  3. Uh, um, like
  4. For sure!
  5. Yep, yeah, nope, nah
  6. Dude, man, bro
  7. I don’t know
  8. %#@!
  9. If that makes sense
  10. So, yeah
  11. Awesome
Are they fucking kidding? That's more than 11 words.

In fact, it's 24 words plus a few punctuation marks used together to convey an expletive like fuck or shit or cunt (I'm guessing). Pussies. 

Side note: if they'd just titled the piece "Words and Phrases to Avoid in a Job Interview" it would have saved me so much effort (full disclosure: actual effort expended, approx. 18 minutes).

Here are a few different examples of 11 words I think you should really avoid in a job interview. And I challenge you to prove me wrong (by using any one of these and getting a job offer--go for it!):
  • "But you’re just a chick. Where is the actual hiring manager?"
  • "I just pissed in the hallway. That’s how I roll, bitches."
  • "Why give him the job if he’s going to recuse himself?"
  • "Y’all cool with me doing my MLM thing in the office?"

Got some to share? Put it in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Could Be Anything"

In celebration of this afternoon's blistering in the sun concert with the Violent Femmes and Echo & the Bunnymen at the zoo, here's something from them from last year's release.

Song: "I Could Be Anything"
Artist: Violent Femmes

Monday, July 31, 2017

Song of the Day: "Weights and Stones"

It's getting hot. It's summer, so yeah, that's expected, but hot here = miserable me. I worked outside today in the heat: 99° Fahrenheit (except like 88 for real).

Fortunately luck was with me, assigning me deliveries in my neighborhood (my last delivery was 2 packages, of 20 in total, on my block), and a very small number relative to the 4 hours at $26 an hour I signed up for. I was done within 90 minutes which included stopping for gas and a Super Big Gulp.

None of which has anything to do with today's song.

Song: "Weights and Stones"
Artist: Tree Machines

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Song of the Day: "We Were Beautiful"

Belle and Sebastian
Belle and/or Sebastian reminisce about a time, years ago, when we were beautiful.

I'll go them one better, we were also much lighter, far more social, and flossed daily.

Song: "We Were Beautiful"
Artist: Belle and Sebastian

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Song of the Day: "Jazz Crimes"

The Last Artful, Dodgr (stylistically rocking both intraname punctuation and the -er that is so popular with the kids today with their Grindrs and Tindrs and pacemakrs) is taking Portland's hip hop community by storm. And if not Portland's entire  hip hop community, at least the hip hop community that I talk to regularly, my friend Stephanie.

TLA,D rocks Pick-a-thon this weekend. I'm not sure if that's the most urban Pendarvis Farms has ever been, but I'll assume that it is.

Song: "Jazz Crimes"
Artist: The Last Artful, Dodgr/Neill Von Tally

Friday, July 28, 2017

Disappointing David Brooks, Parts 433 & 434

David thinks the Blacks are cool, possibly the apotheosis of cool (it is a word, look it up). Staying cool under the pressure of racism is cool.

White people who did that whole Horatio Alger, ass-kissing, race to the top of the business world thing: not cool. Too obvious. Too needy. They cared too much.

Cool is detached, dumb asses.

Kendrick Lamar is cool bitches. Don't ever forget that David Brooks said Kendrick Lamar is cool. David Brooks knows that you wouldn't realize that if he hadn't told you.

David Brooks thinks Robert Downey Jr. might have gone the cool way, but really he's too far adrift.

David Brooks doesn't think Jeff Bridges or Daniel Day-Lewis or Ryan Gosling are cool. Taylor Swift probably tries too hard.

Miles Davis never used Instagram. And the people who are pushing Kid Rock to run for Senate are super cereal y'all. But not if they look like they're trying too hard.

Meanwhile David Brooks will point out that you haven't even read Senator Jeff Flake's book yet. But maybe that's because it hasn't been released yet.

Sen. Flake is honorable because he has a background that is hard-working and manly, and also because he is standing up to Donald Trump's unsavory ways.

David is disappointed that not everyone is standing up to Donald Trump's unsavory ways which means that Washington has this aura of unsavoriness about it.

He misses polite Washington. Jeff Flake was part of polite Washington.

If you're not acting like Jeff Flake you're the reason it's so unsavory in Washington right now. That is so very taxing on Brooks.

Song of the Day: "Plastic Machinery"

Charlatans [are they still UK? who can say] released their 13th studio album a couple of months ago.  This track features the musical styling of one Johnny Marr (if you think it should be musical stylings, I get it, that was me 3 minutes ago, check it) and dude from Dandy Warhols which, now that I know he's in the mix I totally can't unhear it.

What have you been up to?

Song: "Plastic Machinery"
Artist: Charlatans

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Feel So Bad"

Chris Wilson shared a band on the Factbook and now I am shamelessly stealing them for a SotD. That's how it works.

Song: "I Feel So Bad"
Artist: Kungs/Ephemerals

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Song of the Day; "This Is My Kingdom Now"

The song title has me imagining him updating the reference every 20 or 30 seconds, "now THIS is my kingdom now... now this is my kingdom now."

Regardless, it's what I found when I asked the Google what Del Amitri are up to these days.

Song: "This Is My Kingdom Now"
Artist: Justin Currie

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Song of the Day: "Less Than"

This track is from the second of 3 Nine Inch Nail EPs (ADD VIOLENCE is the title). I love it!.



Love it.

Totally 80s.


Lourve (is that a thing?).

Emoji of a large heart.

Hash tag love

Artist: Nine Inch Nails

Monday, July 24, 2017

Song of the Day: "Sleeping Around the Corner"

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie released an album together that has been characterized as Buckingham/McVie a la Buckingham/Nicks, but it's distinctly noted that the album is actually Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie... probably to keep John McVie from trying to take credit. Drummers, amirite?

Note: everything I've heard has been strangely disappointing. Hoping that changes.

Song: "Sleeping Around the Corner"
Artist: Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Song of the Day: "Silver"

Katie Crutchfield is Waxahatchee and Out in the Storm is their (her) fourth album. She/they've made a few year-end lists in the past but I never took to the albums.

There's something about this track that is calling me.

Song: "Silver"
Artist: Waxahatchee

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wrong Sentiment

Things people have said to me with the intent of conveying an idea that is the exact opposite of how I interpret what they have said:

  • Fuck fest: "It's a total fuck fest at the office today." Intended message: things are not going well at the office today. Inferred message: everyone is having a good time at the office today.
  • Family reunion: "We went to see En Vogue at the casino and ran into Mark, Marcus, Devin, Steve, Stephen and Stefan. It was like a family reunion." Intended message: it was fun seeing people they've known a long time but haven't seen recently. Inferred message: they spent time with people they don't particularly like but are expected to be pleasant to with regularity. 
  • Bright and sunny: "It's bright and sunny outside, let's do something productive." Intended message: the weather is conducive to being outside in the opinion of most people. Inferred message: it is bright and sunny outside so stay home in the dark room. 

Song of the Day: "Me and Your Mama"

Let us take a moment to consider what a great year Donald Glover is having. His series (as in he created and produces/writes/directs the show), Atlanta, received 6 Emmy nominations last week, including 4 for Glover (actor, writing, directing and Outstanding Comedy Series). He's got a small but memorable role in this week's #1 movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming.

And, because that's not enough, his album under the name Childish Gambino, Awaken My Love!, was just certified gold. That's not too impressive considering the Emmy stuff, but it does work nicely with song of the day, which is from that album.

Ta da!

Song: "Me and Your Mama"
Artist: Childish Gambino

Friday, July 21, 2017

Song of the Day: "DNA"

I'm giving Kendrick Lamar another chance. His DAMN album currently has the highest Metacritic composite score for new releases in 2017. He had the highest score for a new release in 2015 and #4 in 2012.

Still not feeling it.

Song: "DNA"
Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Song of the Day: "Get High"

Funnily enough I found this Tom Williams song shortly after listening to Keith Urban and was expecting something vaguely new country-ish.

I was not expecting something Radioheadish.

Song: "Get High"
Artist: Tom Williams

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "The Fighter"

Previously on the Rebel Agenda we discussed my theory that country music is just popular music performed by just the white ones. Here we have Keith Urban and Carrier Underwood making my point for me.

Song: "The Fighter"
Artist: Keith Urban/Carrie Underwood

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Song of the Day: "Something Good"

Instead of trying to be clever or even know WTF I'm talking about, I'll let a PR email take this one:

“Many of the songs on this record are speaking about friends of mine that have passed, but taught me a lot while they were here,” Austin-based songwriter, guitarist and record producer Stephen Doster explains of New Black Suit (Atticus Records, Aug. 25th), his second album after an 18-year release hiatus that ended in 2014 with the comeback album Arizona, which went on to be described as a “masterpiece” with “one charmed melody after another” by the Austin Chronicle.

Song: "Something Good"
Artist: Stephen Doster

Monday, July 17, 2017

Song of the Day: "What's That Perfume That You Wear?"

Have no idea about the pic, but it looks like they're having fun

Jens Lekman's return to the blog isn't just a song of the day; it might be the song of the summer. It takes nearly a minute to transform into the Technicolor Euro-conga song we all need right now, but when it does you'll wish you'd ordered the Mai Tai.

Song: "What's That Perfume That You Wear?"
Artist: Jens Lekman

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Don't Ever Wanna Leave California"

Time will tell if Allison Crutchfield's distinctive vocals endure my esteem. Will she be a new Martha Wainwright or Jane Siberry or Neko Case? Or just another whatshername, you know, the one who sings those songs... forgettable.

Song: "I Don't Ever Wanna Leave California"
Artist: Allison Crutchfield

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Song of the Day: "Déjà Vu"

Is it just me, or does Roger Waters's voice here sound a bit like Warren Zevon's on The Wind?

The song was previously called "Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God)" and I have no idea why. It's not like a song with that title might be considered controversial (just antisemitic). Even mentioning the title, however obliquely, probably makes me a part of the alt-right (the fat gay part).

Song: "Déjà Vu"
Artist: Roger Waters

Friday, July 14, 2017

Song of the Day: "Praying"

I was prepared to continue stylizing Kesha's name with the dollar sign in lieu of an s (K dollar sign ha) but it appears she's not doing that now. If she can't be bothered, neither can I...

I'm curious about how Kesha's legal battles with her record label over alleged sexual assault from her producer comes forth in her first release since then. And here we are.

Song: "Praying"
Artist: Kesha

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Song of the Day: "Hungry Ghost"

At this point it's very likely that you know more about Hurray for the Riff Raff than me (than I?). The new album, The Navigator, is allegedly about the singer returning to her roots.

But you probably already know that.

Here's what I do know: this bassline is sick (if sick is good, I forget sometimes). It's intoxicating.

Song: "Hungry Ghost"
Artist: Hurray for the Riff Raff

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Song of the Day: "Homemade Dynamite"

I don't know what it is, but I'm liking this new album from Lorde far more than I did her debut.

Song: "Homemade Dynamite"
Artist: Lorde

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Song of the Day: "Me Enamoré"

It seems like just yesterday, when it was, in fact, 22 years ago, that Shakira's major label debut Pies Descalzos (translation: something about pies, I think) was released. Her label promoted her as the Spanish language Alanis Morissette because that's what record labels do: they try to get musicians to sound like recently popular musicians regardless of whether that fits their sound/act/temperament/shoe size.

Later she was promoted as the Spanish language Madonna, then the Spanish language Christina Aguilera (which might rightfully be Christina Aguilera, I don't know). These days she might be the Spanish language Adele. Her new album, El Dorado (translation: The Dorado) is mostly in Spanish, which is what the Spanish language Adele would do...

Song: "Me Enamoré"
Artist: Shakira

Monday, July 10, 2017

Song of the Day: "The Story of O.J."

This track from Jay-Z's 4:44 and samples Nina Simone heavily. It's a downbeat tune that stands out from what I'm familiar with from his body of work. I've heard The Blueprint is the shit.

Song: "The Story of O.J."
Artist: Jay-Z

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Skittles Comeback, Delayed

I wrote this last year, after Donald Trump Jr. made an analogy about his father's then-proposed ban on Muslims. If some Skittles are poison, you wouldn't serve any of the Skittles, he asserted. I posted this to Facebook only and I ran across it today and decided to post it in the place where I don't want to disown people I've know most of my life... my blog.

A couple of thoughts on Skittles and whether we, as a country, would or would not serve the  Skittles if 3 of the Skittles were poisoned.

People are embracing this as a acceptable proxy for a discussion on whether or not to allow refugees into this country. Obviously we should not. I'm already here. You're here too, probably. Everybody else can suck it.

Concern for others is not an American value. Now that our (yours and mine) immigration (however legal, big shrug) is settled, it's time to pull up the rope ladder into our tree house. We have an awesome tree house and it's time to stop with all the new people who might want in the tree house. Sure, we might, at some point, wish we'd left that rope ladder down when we need something specific, but that's just hypothetical conjecture, and hypothetical conjecture is for losers. Ahem.

1. Skittles actually are poison. 11 people died from anaphylactic reaction to Skittles (mostly the candy shell) in 2012. We're still serving Skittles. Shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts are far more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Are you still serving those? Shellfish is an abomination (read the Constitution), peanuts are a legume (watch Third Rock From the Sun), and tree nuts brighten up any number of recipes by adding a nice texture that doesn't need cooking and is difficult to overcook (note: "do not overcook" is the most unhelpful instruction I've ever read, yet it's on every frozen food item that gets heated). You're still serving those. Congratulations, you're with the terrorists, and all because you wanted some crunch in your summer salad and would never consider croutons because of your alleged gluten sensitivity (and it's not like you're going to use some old pieces of gluten-free bread to make your own because how do you even do that? [Dice bread, warm in oven, DO overcook]).

2. If, instead of poisoning people, Skittles could be thrown at someone and kill them, we wouldn't have a problem with that. Bullets, the Skittles of the fire arm world, kill tens of thousands of people every year, and not all of them were asking for it. When people die from a Skittle, Americans buy a lot more Skittles.

3. Skittles wouldn't be poisoned if to poison a Skittle you had to apply to become a Skittle, then wait 18 months to 2 years for your first screening to be a Skittle then you had to get screened by 5 additional entities, all focused on whether you have the potential to become a poison Skittle. And during this 3-7 year period, you have to live in a war zone or refugee camp. But to be a poison Hershey's Kiss all you have to do is apply for a tourist visa to visit Las Vegas or Disney or New York City or Branson or Kim Kardashian's next wedding (clearly gay marriage destroyed Brad and Angelina). Years become weeks and you're not subjected to being around all these would-be regular Skittles with whom you might become empathetic and turn your back on the poison Skittle movement (plus all they ever serve are legumes and you're really craving some kung Pao shrimp).

4. About 30 years ago, when I was, um, 4, my mother mixed a bag of Skittles (non-poison) and plain m&ms. They are a delightful combination of chocolate and fruit flavors. If you dig chocolate-dipped strawberries or orange wedges, try it. Mix equal parts Skittles and plain m&ms. Do not overcook. Michelle dubbed then S&Ms, and Jackie and I remember them fondly.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Feelin(g) Good"

From Eli Stone

Song of the Day: "Way Back"

TLC is back, despite the fact that they are, tragically, T_C these days.

Song: "Way Back"
Artist: TLC

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Song of the Day: "Americana"

This newish track from Ray Davies is unexpected, and a delight. Whether it fits the genre of its name per Grammy's definition isn't too important, but I can tell you it'll get a nomination there for sure.

Song; "Americana"
Artist: Ray Davies

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Jersey Boys Medley"

From, duh, Jersey Boys...

Song of the Day: "I Broke Up In Amarante"

And I broke down in Portland.

Los Campesinos! are back. The exclamation is built into the band's name, otherwise they might not get it.

Song: "I Broke Up In Amarante"
Artist: Los Campesinos!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Come What May"

From Moulin Rouge!

Song of the Day: "Guilty Party"

It's always a good day when there's new music from The National... even when it's the fucking 4th of July with all the motherfucking fireworks.

I fucking hate fireworks.

Song: "Guilty Party"
Artist: The National

Monday, July 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "New York"

I'm not sure if St. Vincent (nee Anne Clark) is singing "you're the only motherfucker in the city who can stand me" or "who can stab me" but either way, I'm kinda digging this new release.

Although officially, I only like OLD York.

Song: "New York"
Artist: St. Vincent

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Notes on Baby Driver

Usually when I title a post "notes on" it's a recap of a movie considered with respect to possible Oscar action. This won't be that this time.  Not that there isn't some potential for Oscarness in the movie; it's just that I'm too tired to think about that and want to get some other stuff written down.

Disclaimer: there are probably a lot of spoilers here.

Double disclaimer: there is only on baby in the movie but it never drives. There is no baby driver in this film. Fail.

Baby Driver fails the Bechdel test... I think, I was in the rest room during the one scene in which both Love Interest to Male 1 and Love Interest to Male 2 appear, so it's possible that I missed the scene where the two discuss the lack of women on the Atlanta police force, and/or how lucky they are to both be under 35.

It also breaks the 10-year rule by pairing a 46 year old Jon Hamm with 27 year old Eiza González (who has the letter Z in her name 3 times) without acknowledging the age difference. If they'd cast Michelle Pfeiffer, someone I'm sure wasn't too busy to take on the role, the age difference would shrink from 19 years to 13 years. Do you suppose someone would wonder about that disparity? Here are some actresses who are more age appropriate for Hamm, who could easily pull of the demands of shooting a gun and kissing Jon Hamm, and who probably would have appreciated being in a high profile movie: Connie Britton, Shannen Doherty (oh, noes, Shannen is battling cancer, we can't have her missing treatments), Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Jennie Garth, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Lisa Bonet, Sanaa Lathan, Samantha Morton, Michelle Rodriguez, Ashley Judd, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lucy Liu, and one of the actresses that prompted me to create this rule in the first place, Samantha Mathis.

A review of the movie I read before seeing it praised the movie's driving scenes as artful and smart, contrasting them with Fast and/or Furious driving scenes that are comically unbelievable (or something like that, I've never seen an F&F movie). Compared to this or this BD's driving scenes seem over the top (although the first of those links includes scenes of a girl driving a getaway car which we all know is impossible).

The movie's blocking/choreography is wonderful and reminds me of Birdman in a good way. Anton Elgort is almost painfully cute in the title role. The rest of the cast do solid, but unexceptional, work.

The sophistication of Doc's (Kevin Spacey) mastermind planning is undermined by the ridiculously basic visuals drawn on his chalkboard and the seemingly trivial toy cars that are used as props a couple of times. The fact that, the minute it is time to clear out of the criminal lair, Spacey's character can be seen methodically packing up $4 worth of used Matchbox cars, instead of getting the fuck out of there, prompts me to ask this question using the parlance of a key scene in the movie: Is Doc retarded? It would explain the blackboard diagrams.

Who the fuck was the dude with the blue truck?

The 6 main characters were named Baby, Bats, Buddy, Darling, Deborah and Doc.

There is a TON of parking in downtown Atlanta these days.

There are some magnificent visuals in the movie: a shot that uses a side view mirror to paint a full picture in a stand-off, another of a wall filled with dryers tumbling loads of primary colored sheets are both really slick==are good justifications for ignoring the many points in the movie where people do very stupid or unbelievable things. I'm not sure a gender reversed version with Dakota Fanning or Sarah Hyland playing Baby would have been as easy to forgive. The wording is clunky on that, but the movie gets a lot of leeway for its stupidity and I doubt women or people of color would have gotten as much berth.

Kudos to whomever assemble the soundtrack and then cast Jon Spencer, Paul Williams, Big Boi and Killer Mike in cameos. Sky Ferreira is in this movie.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Enter You"

From Trick

Song of the Day: "Something Just Like This"

This collaboration between The Chainsmokers and Coldplay was featured during the NCAA basketing balls thing. It's a surprise I haven't heard it before today.

Song: "Something Just Like This"
Artist: The Chainsmokers/Coldplay

Friday, June 30, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Home For Wayward Girls"

From Breakfast at Tiffany's the Musical

Song of the Day: "Roaming in Teesdale"

This is confusing when you factor in yesterday's song of the day... this is Black Hill & Cousin Silas.

Song: "Roaming in Teesdale"
Artist: Black Hill & Cousin Silas

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Song of the Day: "Tired Voice"

The dude from The March Divide almost died in Arizona. He didn't, but that near death experience inspired the Don't Let Me Die in Arizona EP from which this track is pulled.

Song: "Tired Voice"
Artist: The March Divide

Musical Theater Therapy: "Everything Taboo"

From Taboo

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disappointing David Brooks, Part 413

David is disappointed and in Aspen

How are we disappointing David Brooks this week?

Well if you're a Republican politician he's disappointed that you hate Obamacare but weren't actually motivated to craft an alternative policy, you just pruned back the existing frame work. He's also a bit disdainful of the fact that you don't seem to realize the middle class is going bye bye. At least the "conservative policy johnnies" (I looked it up, and johnnies are the equivalent of "dudes" if you're George Will or David Brooks) at America's great conservative think tanks and institutes and what-nots understand that the working class is disappearing.

He also seems peeved that he's forced to bloviate from Aspen, Colorado, where he's probably attending the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is, as we all know, a festival of ideas held in Aspen. Duh.

Liberal politicians, working class Americans, civilians to the political wars, we're pretty much off the hook today... but watch yourselves (me too). Disappointing David is easy to do.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Georgy Girl"

Which is not from Georgy

Song of the Day: "Another Century"

The Church remain relevant decades after I last heard new music from them.

Song: "Another Century"
Artist: The Church

Monday, June 26, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Picture This"

From Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Song of the Day: "The Gold"

Manchester Orchestra isn't an orchestra.

Manchester Orchestra isn't from Manchester. (Or aren't from...)

There are no horses in Band of Horses.

I don't know what to believe any more.

Song: "The Gold"
Artist: Manchester Orchestra

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: Oh, Streetcar!

From The Simpsons' "A Streetcar Named Marge"...

Song of the Day: "Cold Little Heart"

Apparently HBO's Big Little Lies was super popular with the listeners of KINK-FM, because while listening to the station during 10 hours of driving on Friday I think I heard this song 4 or 5 times.

Song: "Cold Little Heart"
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka

Monday, June 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Gotta Praise"

What's PD Heaton of the Beautiful South and the Housemartins up to these days? Glad you asked...

Song: "I Gotta Praise"
Artost: Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Sunrise, Sunset"

From Fiddler on the Roof.

Song of the Day: "Fire"

When last we heard from Beth Ditto she was saying "Google me bitches" while Portland police officers were arresting her for drunk and disorderly conduct. Since then her band (or the band with whom she was affiliated), The Gossip, broke up and she created a fashion line for plus-sized women (and drag queens) who want that morning-after look the night before.

Frankly it's weird that she and I aren't besties...

Song: "Fire"
Artist: Beth Ditto

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Nothing"

From A Chorus Line.

Song of the Day: "White Man's World"

Holy shit, Jason Isbell! This, exactly this, instead of Lee Greenwood or Toby Keith. Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson.

Song: "White Man's World"
Artist: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Few Things About Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Electric Boogaloo

I often enthuse wildly about Marvel's casting when I write about the MCU movies. Kurt Russell as Ego, yes. We also see Karen Gillan shine. And Michael Rooker really shine. And Chris Platt with his shirt off.

I give the movie a B because giving it a B- seems really negative of me. There's a lot of fun to be had in the movie, but there is a whole boatload of stupid in there too.  So a B seems fair.

Seeing Sean Gunn in GotG movies is as consistently amusing/confusing to me as seeing Cobie Smulders in Avengers movies. At some point Ego was explaining his time on Earth to Peter Quill and said something about "that's how I met your mother" which, I'm sorry, that had to be intentional. Good for them.

Oh, Sean Gunn's brother is the writer/director of GotG.

Stan Lee and the Watchers: yes!

The wacky jump special effects, no.

Once upon a time, like 25+ years ago, Becky, Chris and I were discussing the term a ghey/homersexual/lezbean should call his/her significant other. It was a time when husband/wife weren't appropriate because they weren't that then. And boyfriend/girlfriend, it was decided, were too juvenile to use for a significant, life-partner-y person. And I don't think we had the term life partner in our vocabulary back then. It was one a classic Chris Wilson moment when he decided that a committed life-long partner should be a Hasselhoff. Which makes the fact that someone says something about someone else being a third person's Hasselhoff that much more profound and/or funny. James Gunn had been listening in on our decades old conversation.

The soundtrack to the first GotG was fantastic and won a Grammy. The soundtrack to this movie is fantastic and may win another Grammy. However... 2 songs that are used exceptionally well in the movie are undermined by other pop culture entities getting to them first: Cat Stevens's "Father and Son" and Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain". I'm struggling to recall where "Father and Son" recently crossed my path and made me sad as hell; "The Chain" was used beautifully in the "Walter Taffet" episode of The Americans (which is a current TV show that I am actually current on).

I'm glad they include Mantis and will have Adam Warlock in future films. I really really really think Moondragon needs to be in the mix. For fuck's sake, she's fought Thanos a bunch. Ugh.

Marvel must atone for that costume
Also, if you're immortal, but you can be killed, you're not actually immortal. Just saying. That a Celestial is taken down, in part, via sidearms really undermines the power he has (or should have based on established mythology). This was a minor annoyance in Wonder Woman as well (and will be especially annoying is Ares comes back in a future movie). It's possible to rationalize Quill vs. Ego as a battle between 2 equals with the assistance from the rest of the Guardians tipping the battle in his favor, but I've come up with that retroactively.

Also also, for fuck's sake, can we please significantly reduce the amount of shooting portrayed on film since no one seems to be able to hit anyone with their various weapons. Nebula strafing Gamora... it's like she went to Stormtrooper shooting school.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: movies can imagine a myriad of creatures and atmospheres, but a tree is a tree is a tree in every movie. Their leaves are always green and they have brown bark. Movie tress are actually less diverse than actual trees.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Close Every Door"

From Dreamcoat (which is short for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Song of the Day: "Just for Tonight"

Phoebe Hunt manages to sound both innocent and world-wise at the same time. Not an easy feat.

Song: "Just for Tonight"
Artist: Phoebe Hunt

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Song of the Day: "Forces of Decay"

This morning I thought to look for some new country artists and the results of that thought lead to the following observations:
  • White people: people decry contemporary country music as lacking authenticity or quality or charm or whatever. "Why is this considered country music?" It's not the first time a generation's music has been regarded poorly by older people. But what's been clear to me for a while is that country music is more than just a radio format, it's a way of life that marketers need to exploit and also only country music fans love their mamas. That's just a fact. "Hispanics and Blacks don't have faith or care about their families or even cook meals at home. Only white Real Americans value those things."
  • "Why is this considered country music?" very often has this answer: "because there are no black people involved with this song." I know, typical Jew York City elite liberal seeing racism where obviously none exists. "Note Charley Pride. Note Mickey Guyton. Note Darius Rucker. There has always been a black person in country music."--Bristol Herald Courier  Look closely at that sentence. There has always been a black person (singular) in country music. Just the one. "Try as we might we can't keep all of them out."
  • The clearest example of this not particularly veiled racism comes via the reception of these 2 performances: Sugarland covering "Irreplaceable" with Beyonce at the American Music Awards and the Dixie Chicks covering "Daddy Lessons" with Beyonce at the Country Music Awards. "You're confusing our continued pattern of finding everything black people do as objectionable even when we have no problem when white people do it, with racism. It's not racist, it's just a coincidence."
Which is a super circuitous way of getting to the band Rogue + Jaye (note the stylized use of "+" in the name) who Rolling Stone describes as sounding like "Belle and Sebastian's 'Sleep the Clock Around' recorded not in Glasgow but Laurel Canyon; if Sara Watkins made a duets album with Ben Gibbard, produced by Josh Ritter" to which I will also add "and they're both white*."

Song: "Forces of Decay"
Artist: Rogue + Jaye

* Note: while both Rogue and Jaye of Rogue + Jaye are white, I do not mean to suggest that they are in any way part of the subtle and not-so subtle racism that permeates every aspect of the country music lifestyle.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Nobody"

From Bandstand.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Song of the Day: "Swish Swish"

I'm really late on this Katy Perry/Nicki Minaj single. It's apparently a whole thing between someone I kinda like, songwriting-wise, and Perry. Minaj continues her zig-zagging between favorable and unfavorable points of esteem with me. This is not one of her high points.

I'm only sharing the song because the proto-90s club beat that kicks in at 1:00 is the fucking bomb!

Song: "Swish Swish"
Artist: Katy Perry/Nicki Minaj

Musical Theater Therapy: "Face to Face"

From War Paint; regularly therapy here.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Song of the Day: "Drawn"

De La Soul's And the Anonymous Nobody album was borne of improv sessions, many of which included collaborators like this track featuring Swedish EDM band Little Dragon. It's rich and lovely, just like me.

Song: "Drawn"
Artist: De La Soul/Little Dragon

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For Your Consideration: Master of None

Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Aziz Ansari
Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Angela Bassett, "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series: "The Thief"
Outstanding Editing for a Single-Camera Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"

The first season of Master of None impressed me with its unabashedly romantic nature. I'd mistakenly assumed Ansari would provide a snarky or cynical voice. I was unprepared for how much more the show embraces and accomplishes in its second season.

Season 2 brings the sentimentality again, adds in an array of homages to indie and art films, tells stories of and champions people rarely represented by mainstream media, and showcases Ansari's genuine talent as an actor.

There is a confidence that permeates the season, and there's richness to be found in silence, in dialogue in Italian or sign language, and in the performances by actors who are rarely seen in network shows and would be lucky to have a single line of dialogue (I think you can watch any 8 episodes of Sex and the City, Friends, Will and Grace, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier without being distracted by a person of color saying too much).

And as with the first season, actors over the age of 60 get to do and say things that go beyond rapping granny (although the grandmother in "Thanksgiving" did play in the "granny who swears" trope).

The season eschews a consistent formula/format and that free form nature makes every episode more, I'm not sure what word I want here: vibrant, special, unique... any of those.

With last year's Emmy awards, the show's 4 nominations (including Outstanding Comedy Series) were rewarding. That it won for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series was a delight. I'm expecting more from ATAS this year, and I think the show's critical acclaim supports that expectation. Don't let me down...