Music

Best Albums Lists are Always Wrong. Always.

I’ve never even heard of 90% of this Best of the 80’s list.

Therefore, they’re wrong.

But they know more about music than I do, because they know and have listened to these albums.

Therefore, they’re right.

But they’re a UK mag, meaning their judgement only makes sense according to the British 80’s scene. And the 80’s were a time when American and British music diverged somewhat (except in hair metal).

Therefore, they’re irrelevant.

logic

I Just Figured Out How To Tumblr. Possibly How to Blog.

So I mentioned that I was re-vamping my Tumblr from having a no real purpose to having a purpose. In the past 2 days I’ve gained nearly 500 followers.

Granted, it’s Tumblr, so following is easy and doesn’t necessarily lead to connection or interaction with contact. It’s like Twitter that way. Of all those followers, there are only a handful of likes, and I think one reblog. But I only have 654 Twitter followers, and I’ve been tweeting for years.

To what do I owe this success, such as it is? I think the following:

  1. People get what my Tumblr’s about, and are interested. People like talking about music, and my posts are short and to the point.
  2. Bro, Do You Even Tag? In doing music reviews, it always helps to tag the band name, the song name, the album name. Then people who check the tags see the content, and decide to follow if they like what they see.
  3. YouTube is the New MTV. After (which is to say, above) every review, I do a separate video post which has either a favored deep track or a live version or something else that I think noteworthy. YouTube is great at giving you options, and people like to hear music when they’re done reading about music.

So, Focus, Reach Out, and Consistent Content. Hopefully this continues.

Check out the noise at Every. Damn. CD.

Giving My Tumblr a Purpose

loureed

Lou Reed in 1977, for no good reason.

I have a Tumblr for reasons that I never understood. It was just a thing to get, and a direct violation of my actual purpose in having a single blog with my name on it. But there’s a problem that’s never quite been satisfied.

I had, at one of my old dead blogs, a music writing project that I tried to import here and never fully did. I never fully did because my life got twist-turned upside down when I became a dad, and summoning the eloquence to write about R.E.M. and the Rolling Stones felt like work. And when you’re a blogger, work doesn’t feel right.

So I’m going to re-charge the project. I’m going to rate and review all of my CD’s. In the following order:

  1. By Genre
  2. Within Genre, alphabetically by Artist Name
  3. Within Artist, chronologically by release date.

It’s called Every.Damn. CD. and what’s going to make it change is I’m not going to try for eloquence or knock myself out for insight. Every disc gets a paragraph, a grade, and a youtube link if I happen to feel like it. I’ll go for knocking them out once or twice a week or so.

I’ve got a diverse music collection and I used to care about it. Let’s see if anything interesting falls therefrom.

 

Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu is Awesome

This interviewer kept trying to get him to embrace the orthodox, bien-pensant progressive viewpoint on the music industry, and he kept refusing to. And it’s not like he didn’t have fair warning:

Is your sense of the music industry these days fairly apocalyptic, or is it mellowing, or…? You seemed fairly skeptical/ cynical about it a few years ago, for instance, quoting Hunter S. Thompson on the music business [actually a misquote, apparentlyon the Ubu Projex website and saying you were going to give up singing and become a DJ, to beat an absurd tax that was being levied in Europe…

My attitude to the music biz is no different now than it has ever been. It’s a business. It’s up to each musician to decide on how he/she is going to deal with it. Record companies are not philanthropic organizations. They mean to sell records. That said, many, maybe most, people in the business have some sort of passion for music. It’s perfectly possible to navigate a course that gets you what you want. Depends on what you want – if it’s pop stardom and lots of money then don’t blame the record company if it all gets nasty and cheap.

Ideas have consequences. If they don’t, then they’re merely feelings.

Rating My CD’s: Exile on Main Street

exileonmainstreet58. The Rolling Stones — Let it Bleed

Recently I issued a half-formed opinion on double-albums. A prejudice, really, arising as much from ADHD as any learned assessment of music criticism. At best, an observation:

I don’t usually like double-albums. I find them generally undisciplined, self-absorbed affairs. Sometimes, as with The White Album, or Exile on Main Street, that lack of rigid focus is a pleasant suprise. But here, it just reflects the band’s inability to control themselves.

That album was Physical Graffiti, which people may like, but no one considers disciplined. But what about the others? Was the White Album really a departure of form for the Beatles, or just the next logical progression in a band-dissolution that had been going on, according to some, since Rubber Soul?

I ask because Exile on Main Street has long been considered the Stones’ greatest achievement, their artistic and critical pinnacle before what’s become a forty-year victory lap. Recent nostalgia has but added to its lustre, with alt.country and garage-punk luminaries willingly giving talking-face time to the obligatory documentary. You can hardly blame them: the most famous band in the world, forced into exile by the confiscatory tax code, living it up in the South of France, recording a double-album in their mobile studio whenever they good get the gang together and sober? Who doesn’t want to comment on that?

The tendency of pop culture is to dramatize the unremarkable, and the further back in time an event lies, the need to “print the legend” starts to assert itself. So I could very easily riff for a few paragraphs off say, Lester Bangs’ assessment: “Exile is about casualties, and partying in the face of them.” and go to bed.

But for all of that, is there really anything going on here that’s not present on Beggar’s Banquet? Gutbucket hard rock? Check. Smashed, bluesy country? Check. Stoned gospel? Checkcheckcheckitycheck.

If Exile stands up better than Beggar’s, it’s because there’s more music to go around, and a smaller gap between the earworms and the filler. The first six tracks on this album outpunch any six contiguous tracks on any Stones album, ever. They left nothing on the field this time, assigned nothing to the cutting room floor. Maybe this is everyone’s favorite Stones album because it’s the last time they sound like they gave a damn.

For me, it’s been a long time figuring all this out. I’ve owned this forever, as long as any of my Stones discs, and the first few times I heard it, I did not get what was happeneing. It sounded all over the place and off-center, without any of the obvious hits to carry me through. The only tune I connected with was “Sweet Virginia,” but boy, did I connect with that. It was a perfect, an invitation to dirty yourself and clean yourself at the same time, made full of worldly knowledge that I was too young to have thend didn’t know until that point that I wanted. Now I dig the whole messy thing, and don’t feel quite comfortable unless I can spare the time to listen to the whole thing. Unlike Let it Bleed, which felt comfortable as an old jacket the first time I heard it, Exile has new revelations every listen.

Grade: LL

Further Rolling Stones CD Reviews: