Someday Everything is Gonna Be Smooth Like a Rhapsody

I’ll bet you’re a little bit like me. As you draw nearer your last trip around the sun, your coma glows brighter and a tail of brilliant ideas strings out behind you in the firmament–ideas which you have neither the time nor the resources to implement. It’s a cruel universe for geniuses like you and me, no? Ah, well!

 When I used to commute and spend more time stuck in my car listening to terrestrial radio, I came with up with an idea for a radio show that I would host with the other guitarist in my band. We would call it “A Supposed Masterpiece I Cannot Understand” and basically play music which everyone says is great, but that we just don’t get. I don’t know if my list would be long enough to keep the program interesting for very long, but I know what I would play first: Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau rave about it, Camper Van Beethoven did a whole song-by-song cover album of it. Everybody maintains that it’s this deep, angry album about the fracturing relationships in the band. For me, it’s just a slightly spikier, claustrophobic and less Ocean Way Studio smooth and gently rocking adult contemporary soft rock that I used to abhor but now (God help me!) I kind of like just a little bit. But with fewer genuinely good songs. My friend’s choice, as he recalls it, would have been Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. While he didn’t deny the greatness of the individual songs, he wasn’t convinced the album as a whole hangs together. Peronally, I think it probably is a great album, but I have never been able to muster much affection for The Boss. There is a whiff of showbiz about him that makes his earnestness feel like a contrivance.

Don’t mistake me; this radio program would not be an opportunity to disparage and heap scorn upon the contemptible music we loathe. That’s a valuable service too, but this is a different category. I like to like things. And I’m always looking for more things to enjoy in life. That’s why I’ve given Tusk the ol’ college try every few years since the mid ’90s. I can hear there is something there. I don’t hate it. But whatever it has is just not getting through. What would you contribute to this show?

What is getting through, after that pickup in MO on Tuesday, is that a D wave is coming and I want to be on it. So, here is the fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

185 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Trout Mask Replica.

  2. 2
    Jeffro says:

    I came with up with an idea for a radio show that I would host with the other guitarist in my band. We would call it “A Supposed Masterpiece I Cannot Understand” and basically play music which everyone says is great, but that we just don’t get.

    “Everyone says is great but”…oh…you mean Phish, right?

  3. 3
    opiejeanne says:

    My coma?

  4. 4
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Your band can play at my gatherings of the What The Hell Did We Just See Movie Club, which is devoted to talking about movies where nobody can agree on what the actual events were.

    There’s a bunch of recent French movies on this list for me, but the first night I think I’d schedule “Memento”.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    “Born to Run” I respect the hell out of his performance and song writing and yet have no emotional connection. Same goes for Prince.

    Part of Russ Solomon’s genius was understanding that music buyers develop that attachment to a record/artist/genre and then would often lose that connection with time. He made sure to always have plenty of new music to fall in love with as well as curated collections of older music to discover the first time, and a staff able to help guide you.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    Not sure if this is an ask to get anyone to listen to the program or a warning for us not to….

    imho I never liked Tusk. Kinda dumb album. I liked the Peter Green FM. The Bob whatshisface FM, yea a couple songs but not as much. The first two LB/SN FM albums were awesome. The rest, eh…..the drugs and the life got to ’em.

  7. 7
    GR says:

    I like Tusk a lot but would agree that knowledge of and interest in what was going on with the relationships during the recording is necessary to fully appreciate the album.

    I second Trout Mask Replica for incomprehensible supposed masterpiece.

    Supposed masterpiece I expected to not get but ended up thinking was underrated if anything: Marquee Moon.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    As you draw nearer your last trip around the sun, your coma glows brighter

    So bright that I am basically just comatose all the time.

  9. 9
    randy khan says:

    @opiejeanne:

    My coma?

    It’s an extended comet metaphor.

  10. 10
    Just One More Canuck says:

    This should go well

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    @Jeffro:
    while local NPR is doing their 1/4ly beg-a-thon, i’ve been listening to XM’s “Jam On” channel, to give jam bands a chance.

    after the 28th 15 minute long very boring guitar solo over very boring chord changes, i’ve decided that a) jam bands aren’t for me b) they’re a very white and safe approximation of jazz. “What if we all agree on a basic framework for this song and then take turns exploring what we can do with it? But very carefully.”

    “Cool!”

    “Oh, and the guitar player can only leave the minor pentatonic scale if he wants to sound like Jerry Garcia; and if he does that, he must turn on his auto-wah first.”

    “Yay!”

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Well, as far as Fleetwood Mac goes, I’d rate Rumors as the masterpiece, not Tusk.

    Then again, I’m the sort of person who would buy the album just for a single, then would listen to the entire album, and the single would be nothing compared to the rest, or at least as good if not a bit better than the single. Utopia’s Adventures in Utopia for example. Then there’s Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat which has some really lovely non-hit songs that enhance the value of the killer hit single.

  13. 13
    Jay S says:

    All of them Katie? The albums that seem to have a meaningful structure seem few and far between. I don’t read much music criticism but when I do it usually strikes me as fatuous. People trying to impress like wine connoisseurs that preach illusive flavors. Are there critics or analysts that are useful to read or listen to?

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    @kindness:
    Everything Peter Green worked on he made better.

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m with your friend who does not get “Born to Run”. Does nothing for me.

    “Tusk” is basically Lindsey Buckingham (who is a genius) having a nervous breakdown live on tape. For me, “Sara” is the only justification that album ever needed. Sheer brilliance.

    “Everyone says is great but”…oh…you mean Phish, right?

    @Jeffro: Throw the Dead in there too and let’s call it a day.

  16. 16
    cleek says:

    “A Supposed Masterpiece I Cannot Understand”

    Pet Sounds, Bitches Brew, anything from Radiohead or The Clash

  17. 17
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Trout Mask Replica.

    That’s a real thing? Alrighty then.

  18. 18
    Dolly Llama says:

    I don’t see why Pet Sounds is seen as such a masterpiece. It’s a fine album with some fine songs — I love me some Beach Boys — but I just don’t understand the particular reverence people have for that particular album.

  19. 19
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    @GR: I think I’ve discovered the perfect way to listen to Captain Beefheart: On shuffle. I like to hear one crazy song from Trout Mask Replica. Plowing through the whole album is an ordeal.

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: This definitely holds for cinema. It’s not French New Wave’s fault that I saw this at an impressionable age. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wESgWiDVBE

  20. 20
    Jewish Steel says:

    @trollhattan: I’m the same with Prince. I definitely don’t dislike him. No connection.

    @kindness: Those first three FM albums are marvelous.

  21. 21
    Jerry says:

    I would do an entire hour-long podcast on John Cage’s 4′ 33″. Without a saying a word, of course.

  22. 22
    Boatboy_srq says:

    Dave Matthews: Crash. For me it’s three parts single-instance classic tracks and two parts early-onset-dementia stream-of-semi-consciousness drivel set to something resembling music.

  23. 23
    Jewish Steel says:

    @cleek: When you get a chance, give this a listen. I’d like to know your opinion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykZcKFjx_OQ&t=17s
    Not jamband rock, but definitely a jam.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    What does it mean, to judge an album on how well it “hangs together”? Whose definition applies, the artist’s or the listener’s? And how important is it? There can be value in a collection of songs that don’t seem to spring from the same set of ideas, just as there can be in an album that gets digs deep into a musical or conceptual theme. I think it only matters if the artist meant it to work some kind of theme. And even then, an album can fail to do that (or not even try) and still be a memorable collection of songs.

  25. 25
    Jerry says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Well, as far as Fleetwood Mac goes, I’d rate Rumors as the masterpiece, not Tusk.

    People think they’re being contrarian geniuses by saying that Tusk is the masterpiece, not Rumors.

  26. 26
    TenguPhule says:

    DOW still down over 600 points.

  27. 27
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yeah, that’s a way of consuming music that digital files has all but killed. Do kids sit and listen to the whole album because they cannot be bothered to get up and lift the needle? I don’t think so.

  28. 28
    randy khan says:

    @TenguPhule:

    DOW still down over 600 points.

    Thanks, Obama.

  29. 29
    DHD says:

    I definitely feel this way about most of Prince’s output – even if I appreciate the “idea” of Prince, I can’t really get into his music. Same thing for Bowie. And probably all the other famous boomer musicians who have died lately, except for Motörhead, who could do no wrong musically, probably because they kept writing the same 2 or 3 songs over and over again.

    (the Ramones only had 1 song, which got kind of old after a while)

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    @Dolly Llama:
    I think because it was such a sea change (sorry) for them, who went from releasing vast quantities (3 LPs the year prior) of snappy pop to the relatively introspective, all Brian Jones material on Pet Sounds. In its way the record anticipated Sgt Peppers by a full year.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    Anything country, up to and including Johnny Cash (the only country musician I even marginally can listen to and not projectile vomit).

    And I don’t get this whole idea of a whole album having to hold together. None of them do. They are songs and some of them revolve around a theme and some of them don’t. I’ve never listened to a single album that is supposedly one of these “message” albums and thought that every song “worked.” There are songs on Tusk that I like and songs I don’t. Doesn’t bother me that they don’t all work together. Or what anyone else says they like or don’t. I love, love, love the Foo Fighters and Green Day. People here disparage them all the time. I don’t care. I actually kinda like the Eagles (and their Hotel California may be the only exception to the “message” album thing I talked about above) and I know that is looked down upon mightily in these parts. I despise country music, the Grateful Dead and Rush. So what? I don’t get why people care who likes what music. You like what you like. You play the songs you like and don’t play the ones you don’t. Why argue about something so ridiculously subjective?

    /rant

  32. 32
    Amir Khalid says:

    This YouTube video lays out the case for Trout Mask Replica‘s greatness. I don’t understand the presenter’s argument well enough to decide if I agree with her, but some of you guys might.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    MCA1 says:

    @Boatboy_srq: All good, but who in the name of all that is holy ever referred to that album as a masterpiece? Or anything more than probably the 2nd best album of an overrated jam band white boys like me worshiped in college but can’t stand to listen to anymore?

  35. 35
    Shana says:

    Pet Sounds. All Grateful Dead. G*d knows I did my share of drugs, but could never understand the appeal of the Dead.

    On the other hand, I dearly love Making Movies. I think it’s a perfect album and incredibly romantic. Convinced a friend to give it as a gift for her beloved and neither of them liked it. Go figure.

  36. 36
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Jay S: Me. It’s just me now. I am the music critic. For the world. Listen to Colour Haze’s All and Sleep’s Dopesmoker. When You’ve done that, contact me and I will give you more.

    @cleek: Pet Sounds and BB. Totally with you. The Clash and Radiohead? Surprised!

    @Dolly Llama: Pet Sounds is so clangy and abrasive. In slightly more technical terms, everything on that album has a sharp, percussive attack and quick decay. It’s an unpleasant listen in addition to not being a masterpiece, IMO.

  37. 37
    cintibud says:

    OK, this may be off the mark, but I am finding I love EVERY song on Aimee Mann’s mental illness album. I won’t say it’s a masterpiece but I can’t think of another album that doesn’t has at least one less than totally brilliant song on it (IMO of course)

  38. 38
    ed_finnerty says:

    @trollhattan: brian wilson ?

    maybe

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    @DHD:
    The underground commercial FM station in Seattle at the time had a Sunday night show–“Your Mother Won’t Like it”–featuring a listener invited in to introduce and play favorite, preferably unknown music. This was my introduction to The Ramones, when a very laconic teenage girl presented them as “My very favorite group” before spinning “Beat on the Brat.”

    Unforgettable moment, that.

  40. 40
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I can understand an American getting confused about this, but the album title is Rumours — with the British spelling. Remember, three of the five band members are Britons.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    @ed_finnerty:
    Whoops, guessing Dr. Freud was in the house when I wrote that.

    Out of the pool, Brian!

  42. 42
    cleek says:

    @Jewish Steel:
    yeah, i like that. that’s what the kids these days call “stoner rock”, right? i’ve always dug that heavy psychedelic rock-out thing. it’s a lot more interesting than any of the jam bands i’ve heard ever get.

    there was a band we used to go see in my college days called “NRG” who did the same kind of thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXo73Q4J3P4

    it’s just fantastic, live.

    i can’t listen to this stuff every day, but there are times when it hits the spot just right. see also: Bardo Pond

  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid: Graham Parker on Line #3.

  44. 44
    N. M. Norton says:

    I’ve been not understanding Sgt. Pepper for over fifty years now.

  45. 45
    cleek says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    The Clash and Radiohead? Surprised!

    i like a lot of their songs. but when i put on London Calling or Kid A (their respective untouchable classics), i’m underwhelmed. i’m totally not awed. when i put on Rumours or Dark Side or Highway 61 or Kind Of Blue, or whatever, i come away feeling like i’ve experienced something greater than a bunch of good songs. nothing from Radiohead or The Clash does that for me.

  46. 46
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Boatboy_srq: I taught a LOT of DM songs to earnest young strummers in my career as a guitar teacher. The guitar parts were weird, hard, and they sucked.

    @Amir Khalid: Dude. When does this bar close? I think we could be here all night working on this. Although I think the quick and dirty answer is atmosphere and cohesion don’t matter if you’ve got 10 kick ass songs.

    @Jerry: This is my suspicion. Rumors is the shit.

  47. 47
    kindness says:

    @Jewish Steel: Heh. When we first got an i-pod that had 160G and loaded it up with all our stuff and hooked it up to the living room stereo my wife set it to shuffle. I was horrified as I am one of those who used to demand hearing an album as the artist wanted me to hear it. But I let her. She’s the wifey. Gotta let them have what they want most the time. And it functions mostly as background music, so no big. If I wanted definition I’d crack out my vinyl or my gold discs/dvd audio/blu-ray audio. So over time I came to appreciate the Shuffle and that is how it rolls (for the most part) now.

  48. 48
    Jewish Steel says:

    @DHD: Bowie was my friend’s other pick for someone he could not understand. Listening to Bowie at the Beeb turned his head completely around. I am a lover of Bowie’s hits and the rest of it sounds like showtunes to me.

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    Critics’ opinions are overrated anyway. Quite a few albums now regarded as classics got a pasting from the crits when they first came out, didn’t they? A critic might be able to claim a superior trainspotter’s knowledge of the music, or have a technical grasp of music. But at the end of the day they’re just another listener like you; their opinion is no less valid and no more so than yours.

  50. 50
    ed_finnerty says:

    @trollhattan: speaking of which

    brianjonestown massacre was a great band name, although the music was a bit mediocre

  51. 51
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I was a legit alternative rock fan back in the day (when it was called alternative rather than indie rock) and was of the generation that it clicked with, but Nirvana’s Nevermind never did much for me. Actually the whole Seattle grunge scene was just kind of meh as far as I’m concerned.

    @Shana: American Beauty was a pretty good album, and so was Working Man’s Dead, but the rest leaves a lot to be desired, especially the bootleg crap that played on a constant loop at every college party I went to. And I graduated college in 1992, so not even the generation of the Dead.

  52. 52
    MCA1 says:

    @trollhattan: The studio production work, sound engineering, etc. are also miles beyond what every else in the world outside of George Martin and co. were doing. Wilson was layering like a dozen separate vocals into some of those songs, while at the same time using extremely complex, far less accessible harmonic structures than usually seen in pop and rock music, along with unique and new instrumentation and overdubbing all over the place. It’s one of those albums that was influential enough that some of its innovations are now so absorbed into the landscape that it’s hard to see how unique they were at the time.

    I’ll take the cues from McCartney on this one – he’s publicly stated that “God Only Knows” is his favorite song, and that Pet Sounds was the biggest factor spurring the Beatles to make Sgt. Pepper. Good enough for me.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    @cleek:
    If you ever encountered the Welsh band Man, they were an accomplished jam band and at one point toured and released a live recording that includes John Cipollina of Quicksilver fame. Managed to see that lineup at a very memorable show, not just their performance but that they opened for Peter Frampton at Winterland, parts of which are included on a certain live album of his released the following year.

  54. 54
    Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    I’ve decided we need a term that means “unbelievably mediocre from beginning to end, but inexplicably popular nonetheless.” I nominate “Lloyd-Webber”. As in “That was the most Lloyd-Webber thing I’ve seen in years!” “About as Lloyd-Webber as you can get and note be run out of town.”

    Also, Can we agree that “Saturday Night Fever” should be banned from radio forever?

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    I apparently am a musical idiot, because I always seem to like the albums by classic artists that everyone else swears are terrible. Two examples: Bowie’s “Scary Monsters” and Elvis Costello’s “King of America.”

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    @MCA1:
    I prefer your summary to mine. :-)

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    If you like something unpopular, more power to you, and sod the critics.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MCA1:

    That’s reminding me of the classic saying about the Velvet Underground’s first album with Nico — very few people bought it, but everyone who did buy it ran out and formed a band immediately afterward.

  59. 59
    joel hanes says:

    Interesting that Bruce and Fleetwood Mac are exactly the two acclaimed-genius rock acts to which I seem genetically immune. I can hear the musicianship, but no emotional connection occurs.

    I acknowledge that the fault is in me, not in the art.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    Moviewise, I’m that way with Kubrick. I can enjoy his movies on a visual level, but I mostly find them dull. 2001 will literally put me to sleep.

  61. 61
    cleek says:

    @joel hanes:
    i can’t get into Bruce, either. i have nothing against him, i can’t say that i dislike much of what i’ve heard. but aside from a very small handful of hits, i’m happy to change the channel whenever he comes on.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    trollhattan says:

    @cleek:
    For a year or so my workplace was split between two cities and “London Calling” was one of a handful of records keeping me sane on CA99. I basically know it as well as Doug! does. “Fight me, Doug!”

    Now “Sandanista” was something else again–so very indulgent.

  64. 64
    raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: If Full Metal puts you to sleep you need a hand.@Mnemosyne:

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @cleek:
    Like Tusk, love Prince. Bitches Brew might be a desert island record. If you don’t love Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, you don’t love life.

  66. 66
    raven says:

    @Jewish Steel: Did you know of Al DeCarlo?

  67. 67
    Jewish Steel says:

    @VOR: Beck always seemed to promise more than he delivered. At a certain point you gotta just admit there isn’t much there.

    @geg6: Unity and variety are two much sought after musical values that almost every writer of music tries to get just right.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @raven:

    Full Metal Jacket is okay, but it’s really two short films stuck together. And the second one is boring until the big firefight at the end.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Bah, Live in Europe in 72 is great as is Live Dead. You’re just a puppy.

  70. 70
    trollhattan says:

    @raven:
    If you don’t have Live at the Boston Tea Party it’s worth chasing down. There are three volumes, all recorded in 1970.

  71. 71
    Rex says:

    I returned Close to the Edge by Yes when I bought it in high school. Love the album now–all three songs. :)

    I also hated Fargo on the first viewing. Watched it again the next day to find out why I hated it so much and wound up thinking it was brilliant.

  72. 72
    raven says:

    I put up a post that John Perry Barlow died this morning but none of you numbness even know who he was

    Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by it’s own design.
    Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I’m done with mine.
    Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by it’s own design.
    Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I’m done with mine..

  73. 73
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @MCA1: I have dudebro friends who insist on comparing it to The White Album.

  74. 74
    Amir Khalid says:

    @joel hanes:
    No emotional connection? Try this live perfomance of Silver Springs, from about 30 years after the breakup that the song is about. Stevie Nicks spits the lyrics out at Lindsay Buckingham, the ex in question, like she’s still mad at him.

  75. 75
    cleek says:

    @Brachiator:
    i’ll take all the first quintet records (esp the Prestige stuff and Kind Of Blue), In A Silent Way, and McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff, over BB.

  76. 76
    ed_finnerty says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yes

    And a couple of great lines

    “Does this mean Ann Margaret isn’t coming”

    and

    “As long as were dying for word, make mine poontang”

  77. 77

    @Mnemosyne: Huh? I’ve never heard anyone say Scary Monsters is terrible. It even has a five-star rating on Allmusic.com.

    I’ll try to make the case for some of these artists later. Finding YouTube videos on a phone is a pain.

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yea, “The duality of man” scene is a real snore job.

  79. 79
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: I’ve got the whole GoldenRoad 65-73 set but I need to get those.

  80. 80
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Shana: That could be another great radio show. A Masterpiece Only I Understand!

    @Amir Khalid: Google autofilled the American version. Swear to Jah!@

    N. M. Norton: Maybe you’ve heard this before, but have you tried the mono version? It’s very different. Although if you’ve been listening for 50 years, maybe you heard the mono first.

  81. 81
    raven says:

    @ed_finnerty: “Inside everyone of these gooks there’s an American trying to get out.” “We have to lay low until tis whole peace thing blows over”.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @raven:

    Like I said, I find Kubrick to be boring. A Clockwork Orange is an incredibly dull film once you’ve seen all of the shocking scenes once. It doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings at all.

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Critics’ opinions are overrated anyway.

    But you and any other lay person is a critic as well. A professional critic hopefully has more knowledge about music and art history than the average person, and perhaps some insight into the production history of a song, album or movie, etc.

  84. 84
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: Oh, I thought it was a Dead thing!

  85. 85
    MCA1 says:

    @cleek: That’s funny. The first time I listened to OK Computer I was awestruck and listened to it again immediately. Blew my mind. It was the first album that captured the disorientation, anger, confusion and everything else of our new technological age. I hear you on the Clash, though. Never liked London Calling other than the title single.

    I’ll throw a couple new ones into the hopper that just never have resonated for me:

    Meriweather Post Pavilion. I tried to like Animal Collective, but there’s just no melody there or something.
    LA Woman. I actually loathe and despise the Doors, so maybe this one’s just a grudge, but I don’t see what’s above average about it.
    The Wall. And I love Floyd, and Dark Side of The Moon is perpetual Top 10 for me.
    – anything by The Velvet Underground
    – the entire catalog and/or career of Peter Gabriel. In particular, I think “Solsbury Hill” is self-indulgent and cringe-worthy
    Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness. I don’t think there’s ever been an album so inferior to its immediate predecessor, that got more gushing and made everyone forget the band had already released its masterpiece.

  86. 86
    trollhattan says:

    @raven:
    Having the GD channel on Sirius I now appreciate how well curated the Dead’s live albums are, because on satellite they broadcast concerts from the entire ginormous back catalog and lemme just say that regardless of the musicianship, the vocals tend to range from so-so to cringe-inducing. Goddamnit Donna, stop screeching!

  87. 87
    The Moar You Know says:

    I put up a post that John Perry Barlow died this morning but none of you numbness even know who he was

    @raven: I know damn well who he was, I went to a college full of Deadheads. Did less than nothing for me.

    His work with EFF, on the other hand, was a BFD. Wish he’d never got involved with that idiotic band.

  88. 88
    Silent no more says:

    Coming out of lurkerdom just to acknowledge still being a certifiable DeadHead, and a huge fan of the really wierd albums of Jefferson Airplane. Yes, I’m that old. They don’t hang together as albums, but the music is interesting. These days, driving my car around with the windows down blaring “Volunteers” is as raucous as I get.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    @raven:
    He yeah, several parallel subthreads occurring here.

  90. 90
    Amir Khalid says:

    @cleek:
    The Rising, Bruce’s post-September 11 album, is to my mind his most thematically connected and emotionally resonant work at that length.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    True, but a critic is never going to be able to tell you if you’re going to like something on a visceral level. I can recognize that Kubrick is a great filmmaker and still not emotionally connect with his films.

  92. 92
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    OK Computer and London Calling are on my personal masterpiece list.

  93. 93
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @Jewish Steel: Weird, hard and ducky does seem to describe much of DM material in others’ hands. I suppose that is his/their greatness: making the impossibly WTFy weird somehow musical.

  94. 94
    joel hanes says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I didn’t say that the members of Fleetwood Mac had no connection to the music, or that that connection was hidden.

    I said (and quite clearly I think) that *I* feel no emotional connection to that particular music, and I explicitly acknowledged that I counted this as a strange flaw in my tastes.

  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @Silent no more:
    Agree, especially about the Airplane because they made some real jewels that sparkle still. Do. Not. Get. Me. Started. on the monstrosity that was Starship. I will not have it!

  96. 96
    raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: Just fuck you, with all due respect.

  97. 97
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    IMHO, Bowie never made an album that wasn’t a masterpiece, including Scary Monsters. But I’m a total geek fan of Bowie.

  98. 98
    raven says:

    @Silent no more: I used Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers in my dissertation!

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: Yeah, I kinda vaguely remembered that the U belonged in there, but I was too lazy to look it up.

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings at all.

    For you. For me, Kubrick is a master.

    I am listening to a podcast in which sci fi nerds review classic movies. One of the hosts admits that he used to dismiss all movies before Star Wars, especially black and white films, as his mom’s movies.

    During a review of Psycho, one of the hosts said “Anthony Perkins was really good. Did he do anything else?”

  101. 101
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    But at the end of the day they’re just another listener like you; their opinion is no less valid and no more so than yours.

    Definitely not true. A good critic can open your eyes to music you did not before appreciate and deepen your understanding and love of music you already like. And he or she can also crystallize why something sucks! Schumann supposedly said something like, “It’s our job as composers to make the bad music go away.” Critics can help with that very worthy task.

  102. 102
    MCA1 says:

    @Rex: Were you stoned the first time, or the second? ;^)

  103. 103
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Moar You Know: The inclusion of the name of a stone traitor hiding in the country of a true tyrant in one of the obits for him has made my support of the EFF less.

  104. 104
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: “That’s for sure “ is good. Actual lot’s of Blows is too.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MCA1:

    Gabriel’s So was the soundtrack of my entire summer after high school. I still love it.

  106. 106
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @MCA1: Re: if you think Solsbury Hill is navel-gazing material don’t even bother cueing up Secret World, Red Rain or Don’t Give Up. Big Time and In Your Eyes, though, are genius. Part of PG is that he’s very visual, both in his image-strewn writing and in presentation: to “get” him you have to see him live.

  107. 107
    MCA1 says:

    @Boatboy_srq: Those guys either wear MAGA hats or voted for St. Bernard of Burlington. You need to ditch them! Kidding, of course. But that’s some crazy fool talk.

  108. 108
    MCA1 says:

    @MCA1: Man, did I botch the italics in that post. Sorry.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    One of the hosts admits that he used to dismiss all movies before Star Wars, especially black and white films, as his mom’s movies.

    Dude. I have a critical studies degree from USC. Trust me, I have seen movies other than Star Wars. I just don’t like Kubrick.

  110. 110
    geg6 says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    The only three albums I can think of that manage variety and unity all at once and do it well are Springsteen’s The River, the Eagles’ Hotel California and Green Day’s American Idiot. You can listen to each song and appreciate it for itself or listen to the entire album and feel the overall sense of what they were trying to do as a whole. But I can’t think of any other examples that work as well as those do in managing both. I don’t love every song on any of them, but I can see how all the songs fit together. But personally, I just like to pick out the songs I like best and don’t really care about the overall theme.

  111. 111
    Jewish Steel says:

    @ed_finnerty: I wanted to like them so much! Eh.

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, I like King of America too. Some great EC songs on that one.

    @joel hanes: You’re going to fit seamlessly into my band then. What do you play?

  112. 112
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Brachiator:
    Yes, since they do their opinionating in public, one would expect critics to be better educated about the art than the rest of us. But even then, sometimes the critics get it wrong and the public gets it right.

  113. 113
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @Mnemosyne: So and Savage were senior year at uni for me.

  114. 114
    raven says:

    Have You Seen The Stars Tonite

    Featuring : Paul Kantner : Lead Vocals, Guitar, David Crosby : Guitar, Vocals, Graham Nash : Vocals, Jerry Garcia : Slide guitar,Grace Slick : Piano, Vocals, Harvey Brooks : Bass, On XM, eletronic instruments by Kantner, Garcia, Hart and Sawyer, –

  115. 115
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    All of his films are a snooze fest. Self indulgent twaddle. Kubrick sucked.

  116. 116
    raven says:

    @geg6: I hate the fucking Eagles man

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    True, but a critic is never going to be able to tell you if you’re going to like something on a visceral level.

    I don’t think a critic can ever tell you why you should or should not like something, they can help you understand how an artist gets you to respond to a work. For example, how Hitchcock uses suspense instead of surprise or shock.

  118. 118
    cleek says:

    @MCA1:

    – LA Woman. I actually loathe and despise the Doors, so maybe this one’s just a grudge, but I don’t see what’s above average about it.

    IMO, The Doors first two records are solid (and the first is a classic). after that, they quickly ran out of ideas. they could manage a couple of good singles on most records, but the quality of the non-singles dropped precipitously and this makes the albums unlistenable for me. and i say this as a proud Doors fan.

    – The Wall. yeah. i can’t remember the last time i played that one. my go-tos are ‘Meddle’ and ‘Animals’.

    Peter Gabriel – ‘So’ is solid. everything else is spotty. i think he’s a genius, though. and for me, the Pumpkins peaked with ‘Gish’. i admit that’s a minority position.

    @geg6:
    you’re definitely not alone. a lot of people i respect think very highly of both. and i’ve tried, but they just don’t click with me.

    ‘London Calling’ – i like the first and last songs, and ‘Hateful’. i can tolerate most of the rest, but i’ve never wanted to hear any of them.

    ‘Kid A’ just washes over me – as does all Radiohead. it’s fine, but i never feel like i need to do it again.

  119. 119
    geg6 says:

    @raven:

    I know who he was. Still hate his music.

  120. 120
    MCA1 says:

    @Boatboy_srq: Fair enough. I loved me some “Sledgehammer” back in the heart of the MTV days, and “Big Time’s” a very good song, too.

  121. 121
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Okay, I’ll be the one…

    Every other Beatles album.

  122. 122
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    Funny, I thought Fleetwood Mac Rumors album was about them breaking up. Yes Rumors is one of my favorite albums

  123. 123
    Yutsano says:

    My contribution here: anything by Smashing Pumpkins. The lead singer’s voice is 10,000 kinds of annoying to me and I can only hear so many songs about California teen angst until my eyes get tired from all the rolling.

  124. 124
    geg6 says:

    @raven:

    So does everyone else here.

    I don’t care. I like them.

  125. 125
    Amir Khalid says:

    @West of the Rockies (been a while):

    Every other Beatles album.

    The odd ones or the even ones?

  126. 126
    Jewish Steel says:

    @raven: No. He is associated with Terry Kath somehow?

    @Rex: This is the experience I am always looking for.

    @raven:

    I’ve got the whole GoldenRoad 65-73 set but I need to get those

    Me too. I am a very late in life Dead convert. It took almost 50 years, but I got there.

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    @SFBayAreaGal:

    I think Rumours was about them all having affairs, not breaking up. Tusk was post-break-ups and there was a lot of anger among them.

  128. 128
    Boatboy_srq says:

    Another one: Ultravox: Lament. Beautiful work, but I’m not convinced it hangs together as a cohesive oevre. Vienna, in contrast, does, though the work on that album is much more uneven and U-vox was still finding its stride with Ure at the front.

  129. 129
  130. 130
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Dude. I have a critical studies degree from USC. Trust me, I have seen movies other than Star Wars. I just don’t like Kubrick.

    I understand that you don’t like Kubrick. These nerds would say that almost every movie you and I have seen that was released before Star Wars is a creaky old antique that only appeals to old farts, moms and grandpas.

  131. 131
    joel hanes says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    drums, but long ago now.

    These days, I mostly play an informed commenter on the net, with brief excursions into playing the fool.

  132. 132
    David Smith says:

    I comprehend Trout Mask Replica. I don’t listen to it very often, but I comprehend it. Now the Minutemen, they baffle me.

  133. 133
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @MCA1: There are some very entertaining stories about Genesis when he was frontman: Rutherford and the gang would be in jeans and shirts ready to play, and PG would come on stage dressed like a flower… He’s performance art, and just happens to produce brilliant music.

  134. 134
    Amir Khalid says:

    @SFBayAreaGal:
    As Fleetwood Mac were recording the album, the bass player and the keyboard player were getting a divorce, and were not on speaking terms; the guitar player and the singer were breaking up; and the drummer had just learned that his wife (not a band member) had been cheating on him. So yes, it was a rough time for the band, and the album is so titled because Mick Fleetwood reckoned the band members were writing the songs about each other.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    I think Rumours was about them all having affairs,

    Go your own way was definitely about breaking up, and affairs.

    And then there is The Chain…

  136. 136
    joel hanes says:

    @raven:

    I love virtually all of Airplane, early and late, even Baxter’s and Bark.

    Saturday Afternoon / Won’t You Try

  137. 137
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Jewish Steel: I’m not sure that I’ve ever bought something or changed my opinion of something based on what a critic said about it. On the other hand, I do enjoy listening to what musicians say about other musicians’ work, and that can open my eyes. For example, some years ago, Kim Mitchell (veteran Canadian rocker – I believe that’s his official title) became the afternoon drive time host on the local classic rock station. He had a feature called “Damn I Wish I Wrote That” where he would talk about what he liked about other people’s music – lyrics, the way the song was put together, or whatever. I was never much of a fan of his music in particular (probably because it’s overplayed) but I learned a lot from listening to him

  138. 138
    joel hanes says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t care. I like [the Eagles]

    Me too. I’d call “Desperado” brilliant, even.
    It’s apparently no longer a widely-shared opinion.

  139. 139
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Silent no more: I’ve overlooked JA for far too long. Need to spend more time with them.

    @Yutsano: Billy Corgan, like me, is from the suburbs of Chicago. I hate him too.

  140. 140
    Everett says:

    I would contribute the entire Clash oeuvre. I like some of their songs, but I just don’t get the love.

  141. 141
    trollhattan says:

    @Brachiator:
    After all this N Korea and Russia shit they should slide closer to the screen when “Dr Strangelove” rolls.

  142. 142
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MCA1:

    Never liked London Calling other than the title single.

    What—not even “train in vain”?!

  143. 143
    Brachiator says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    But even then, sometimes the critics get it wrong and the public gets it right.

    Absolutely. But at best, art is a continuing conversation between artists, the critics and audiences. Works which were once dismissed find new champions.

    I have a special fondness for critics who are able to change their minds about works and artists.

  144. 144
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Billy Corgan, like me, is from the suburbs of Chicago. I hate him too.

    Same here. On both counts.

  145. 145
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    “Damn I Wish I Wrote That”

    Love it. I have my own list too.

  146. 146
    realbtl says:

    @raven: Hey, some of old farts both know of and appreciate him. By the way, have you been going through my record collection again?

  147. 147
    cleek says:

    @Just One More Canuck:
    music criticism never seems to have any effect on my opinions. i’m confident enough in my opinions and knowledge that i can simply dismiss incorrect opinions (or, just adjust my rating of the critic). so, i use reviews to learn about new music, mostly.

    on the other hand, not being a student of cinema. i recognize that movie critics generally pay far more attention to movies than i do. so, i’m totally susceptible to movie criticism. therefore i tend to avoid reviews of movies i might want to see because i know a bad review will poison it for me.

  148. 148
    Shana says:

    @Rasputin’s Evil Twin: Yes and yes. Now Sondheim on the other hand….

  149. 149
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Steve in the ATL: What is it with that guy! There must be a German compound word for punchable voice.

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    On the other hand, I do enjoy listening to what musicians say about other musicians’ work, and that can open my eyes.

    I agree. I used to read Downbeat magazine, and loved the feature, Blindfold Test. The writer played a cut and the musicians had to identify the players and the tune. I loved what they had to say about other artists and what knocked them out about particular tunes.

  151. 151
    Turgidson says:

    agree on the Peter Gabriel confusion, particularly the Genesis “masterpieces.”

    Thinking back on my earlier days as an indie rock adherent, I’ll throw Pavement in there. So critically acclaimed, so loved by many friends of mine who generally had similar taste to mine. But so fucking useless.

    My view is that they were an elaborate prank played on their own fans. “How shitty can we be and still convince these hipsters we’re geniuses?”

    Otherwise, couldn’t get into any of the prog masterpieces, and don’t think very much of the Ramones or Sex Pistols. Didn’t live through that era though and never had a “punk phase”, so I realize that their music just wasn’t/isn’t meant for me.

  152. 152
    Shana says:

    @Jewish Steel: Feel free to take it.

  153. 153
    Jewish Steel says:

    @cleek: I avoid user reviews of recorded books (the all-night janitor’s friend) because if you say that the reader says “and” too much, it will be all I hear.

  154. 154
    John Revolta says:

    re: hanging together. I listened to Sgt. Pepper a million times when it came out and I never questioned anything about it, but now I’m not so sure. The first side is great but the second side……………….I dunno. It has its moments of course but you can push “eclectic” only so far…………………

  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Yes, since they do their opinionating in public, one would expect critics to be better educated about the art than the rest of us

    Also, I used to be shocked at the ignorance of a lot of current working critics. There was one writer who became the lead critic of a major paper because the editor thought that the person wrote so well. But reviews were riddled with errors.

  156. 156
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Meh. I don’t have time for self-proclaimed film geeks who refuse to watch movies older than they are.

  157. 157
    cleek says:

    @Turgidson:
    Pavement is exactly what that famous quote about the Velvet Underground was about (see @Mnemosyne). there’s a straight line from VU to Pavement (it happens to go through the Modern Lovers and the Buzzcocks on the way): songs that teeter on the edge of chaos but never quite fall over. it’s not for everybody.

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    That’s why I can’t stand Pauline Kael. She was proud that she would only ever watch a movie once, but she always had a ton of factual errors. Her writing about Citizen Kane is embarrassing.

  159. 159
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Brachiator: Music critics used to have a lot of detailed technical knowledge about music. That ship sailed long ago, but I’d like to see it return.

  160. 160
  161. 161
    MomSense says:

    @raven:

    Glad I read the comments for a change, because I was going to say that Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac was a completely different experience.

  162. 162
    Turgidson says:

    @John Revolta: I think Sgt. Pepper should have been the first half staying as is through Mr.Kite, then take out the campy songs and George’s sitar wank song, put Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane in their place, and of course leave the incomparable A Day In The Life as the closer. I could take or leave the reprise of the opening song.

    Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane might not “flow” quite right, but they’re 10x better songs.

  163. 163
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Apparently the person who has absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of pop music is Elvis Costello. He can listen to anyone’s song and tell you what their influences were.

  164. 164
    Turgidson says:

    @cleek:

    Eh. I guess. I’m sticking to my theory, though.

    I can do “almost chaos” type stuff and like the VU well enough. Pavement is something else to me, far more annoying. Trying to make deliberately not giving a shit some sort of artistic virtue. Can’t do it.

  165. 165
    cintibud says:

    Funny thing about the Clash for me – I love a handful of their songs (London Calling, Clampdown, Guns of Brixton, Rock the Casaba, Rudy can’t fail), Like a couple others (Train in Vain, Should I stay…) but just about everything else is totally forgettable to me.(I’m sure there are a couple more I like that I’m forgetting)

  166. 166
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    @DHD:
    The Hank Williams often said he only wrote two songs, one slow and one fast.

  167. 167
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cintibud:

    I only discovered Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros after he died, unfortunately, but I actually prefer a lot of it to the Clash. He was doing some really fun stuff by combining different elements of world music together.

  168. 168
    John Revolta says:

    @Turgidson: Yes. As you probably know, those two songs were supposed to go on the album but Epstein wanted to put them out as a single and there was some custom at the time of not including singles on your album. George Martin later called it the biggest mistake of his career.

  169. 169
    cwmoss says:

    @trollhattan: KRAB radio?

  170. 170
    crshark says:

    Stairway to Heaven. I never listened to Zep back in the day, but even then I’d heard of the iconic status of Stairway. I actually like the song, pleasant enough, but its status as a cultural milestone? I just don’t get it.

  171. 171
    cintibud says:

    @Mnemosyne: I need to check them out. Shame he died so young (at least compared to me!)

  172. 172
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @crshark: much like the Mona Lisa, a fine work but grossly overhyped.

  173. 173
    Jamey says:

    My Bloody Valentine, Loveless.

    What the actual fuck are people talking about?

    It is the Gertrude Stein’s Oakland of pop music: There IS no there there.

  174. 174
    Kmeyerthelurker says:

    Sgt. Pepper is where Paul went full blown “granny music”, as John put it so well. He always had one foot in the pool, but from there on out just dived in headfirst. Makes abt 40% of everything from there on out unlistenable.
    Those of you interested in chaos music who have not dug into Mercury Rev, do so.

  175. 175
    JR says:

    Pretty much any highbrow popular music, plus stuff like The Rolling Stones, which to quote Eminem “is like dying in my sleep, I don’t feel it.”

  176. 176
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Jamey: Another one I want to like! Can’t get there. I don’t get it either.

  177. 177
    jc says:

    I second the meh about Sgt. Peppers LHCB (the title track). I prefer Joe Cocker’s version of “A Little Help from my Friends.” LSD is pretty cool, whatever it’s about. I guess after 50 years I just prefer the Lennon songs to the McCartney songs.

  178. 178
    J R in WV says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    I agree about your Grateful Dead album picks. The rest of their recordings, meh. But they were a great band to see and hear live, which I did 3 times. The sound sucked the first time we saw them live, it was in a round arena and the crew worked the whole show trying to sync the sound to get stereo in the whole arena. Nope.

    Then we saw them the other time they were in WV in Huntington, and our tix were 8 seats from the center aisle in the 8th row. A great show! IIRC 1977 or so, won’t look it up.

    Last time was at the Rubber Bowl in Akron Ohio, Tom Petty opened, Bob Dylan joined the Heartbreakers and Petty, and both of them joined the Dead for their show, which had much better sound than Tom Petty’s set up. A great show. I remember the music, the party, I don’t really remember going to bed at our friends later after the show…

    A great band to see and hear. And Jerry Garcia made a ton of great records without the Dead, with David Grisman, who lived next door and had a studio, so when they noodled together, they recorded a lot of it, some of which has been released. I really his work with other artists as well as with the Dead. The Dead’s music uses very different chords and rhythms, it’s hard to play even if you know the tunes from listening to them for 30 years.

  179. 179
    J R in WV says:

    @raven:

    Come on, Dude, I’ve known who Barlow is for close on to 50 years. After he slowed down in the music world, he became a commenter and critic on software development and information technology strategy, which was my career after I gave up being a hippy.

    I first saw Joe Cocker in Philly, I’m thinking 1968, along with Janis, Santana and a blues guy IIRC, not sure now who it was. I usually remember 3 of the 4 acts, a different list each time I think about it. At an old hall that was called the Convention Center because a couple of political nominating conventions were held there.

    My first exposure to Blues and R&R was at the Newport Folk Festival the summer of 1968, the theme was the blues, they had guests with homemade instruments from deep in the delta to Janis, BB King, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, too many to remember. No sleep, hot sun, etc. A great time to be exposed to new music.

    I’m sure that just a very few years earlier the crowd would have hated it. Rock and Roll and the Blues are NOT Folk Music, AmiRite? They booed Dylan for an electric band called the Band eventually. I think that was ’65?

  180. 180
    Turgidson says:

    @Jamey:

    Loveless isn’t really pop music. I love it, but it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s about the layers and the atmosphere, not the melodies.

  181. 181
    hugely says:

    @raven: you are in my fathers cohort but i actually listen to that atarship album often. My dad had the airplane on reel to reel

    Have u seen the saucers?

  182. 182
    cleek says:

    @Turgidson:
    i certainly won’t try to talk you into liking Pavement, but in my mental taxonomy, Pavement and MBV are closely related. ‘Loveless’ takes simple songs, stretches and bends them, then buries the results under mountains of cotton candy and pastel-colored smoke. Pavement takes simple songs, breaks them, and then buries the remains under piles of scrap metal. same technique, different materials.

    what i find great about both of them is that the songs come through despite the noise, but if i want to pay attention to the noise, that’s interesting too. it’s almost like cubist paintings – the subject is there, but it’s deliberately obscured.

  183. 183
    PIGL says:

    @Jewish Steel: I would have said that nobody these days gets that stoned. But I know that is not true.

  184. 184
    PIGL says:

    @raven: This was my sign-off song during my very protracted campus radio days.

  185. 185
    PIGL says:

    @joel hanes: I never appreciated what a masterpiece of songwriting Desperado was until I heard Lindi Ortega cover it at workshop stage at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, a couple three years ago. And yes, they were the annoying sound track to my high school years. The Flying Burrito Brothers with better studio gear and a lot more cocaine

Comments are closed.