Afternoon Open Thread with More Mountain Goats Content

The Mountain Goats (who you may remember from such posts as this one) played a free show in East River Park yesterday. This was great for me, since none of the other tour dates worked out. It was a beautiful day with lovely weather. The concert was very good, as well.

The Mountain Goats play at East River Park

Really just a perfect evening. This was the first time I’d seen them at a venue that had seats, which is important since Millennial fans can no longer stand for three hours straight.

Anybody else been doing outdoor summer activities?

A couple of songs they played below the fold. Studio versions, of course. Open thread!

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Late Night Open Thread: The Trump / A$AP Rocky Conundrum

Normally I would have been relieved not to be required to have an opinion on rapper A$AP Rocky’s innocence or guilt. But I did wonder, as a very white person and an old one at that, if Trump’s indignant ‘appeals’ to the Swedish justice system went beyond You don’t understand our folkways! He’s a celebrity! He has money! Eugene Scott’s report at the Washington Post was illuminating:

A$AP Rocky, whose legal name is Rakim Mayers, has been accused of beating a man in the street on June 30 in central Stockholm.

In a video of the alleged assault, the rapper and those with him apparently threw a man to the ground before kicking and punching him.

Another video posted to A$AP Rocky’s Instagram account claims that the men followed him for four blocks and had repeatedly been asked to leave the artist alone…

Trump, a celebrity before he was a politician, appears to give more credence to the words of black musicians than he does black people working in policy and advocacy. He tweeted that he got involved with the effort to release A$AP Rocky after a request from Kanye West. Last year, he demonstrated his commitment to sentencing reform by commuting the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson after Kim Kardashian West advocated for that.

He views entertainers as the most influential voices in black America. That could be in part because Trump does not have a black person working in a senior position in his White House. Some of the people the president mentions most when addressing issues like criminal justice reform and the black unemployment rate are hip-hop artist Kanye West and conservative activist Candace Owens, supporters of the president with no expertise in these areas…
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Musical Interlude

He tells a sad story, but the refrain is one to live by:

I’ve been binging Waits while I revise the current tome/albatross.  Something in the rhythm (and the tone) seems to drive the work at a good pace.

Got any songs that make you calm or content, even if a close listen to the lyrics paints a different story?

You may consider this a euphonic open thread.

Early Evening Open Thread – The Estonian Song Festival

This weekend, Estonia celebrates its songs and dances in a country-wide festival, centered in Tallinn. It’s an every five year event.

I first went to Estonia in 1998. When I heard that the next year would feature choruses of 25,000 people, I had to go, and I did.

Tonight was the first performance of the dance festival. Here’s an excerpt from the grand finale.

The first time I heard “Tuljak,” I knew practically no Estonian, but I could tell that it is one of the happiest songs in the universe.

Tomorrow is the song festival. Here’s the traditional opening song from 2014.

They streamed the 2014 Song Festival on the internet, but I haven’t been able to find it this year.


Open thread

Friday Morning Open Thread: Maybe Just Enjoy the Weekend

Speaking of weird “patriotic” co-optations… I knew that Gretchen Peters’ “Independence Day” was not exactly an America Fvck Yeah! anthem, but then I was living in the area during the Francine Hughes trial. What I had *not* known, until now, was that the song has been claimed by the same sort of rightwing nitwits who think “Born in the USA” is about how Ronald Reagan made jingoism kewl again. From Rolling Stone, “How a Song About Domestic Violence Got Mistaken for a Patriotic Anthem”:

When Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” was released to country radio in April 1994, it was easy to mistake the country song for a U-S-A! U-S-A! anthem. It was titled after America’s most patriotic holiday after all, and its irresistible chorus of “Let freedom ring!” seemed custom-made for small-town Fourth of July celebrations to come. But the true meaning behind “Independence Day,” written by Gretchen Peters and recorded by powerhouse vocalist McBride, was lost on many listeners — the seemingly July 4th holiday hit turned out to be a story of domestic violence and one woman’s drastic measures to escape abuse at home.

“I started getting all these letters — handwritten letters, back in the day — from women saying, ‘This is my song,’” McBride says now. “I got a few letters that said, ’I heard this song on the radio, I’ve been battered for 10 years, and I left. This was the thing that made me realize that it’s not my fault, that I need to make a change.’”

Throughout the past 25 years, both McBride and Peters have watched as their song has taken on a life entirely of its own — not just in its cathartic impact for victims of abuse, but also in its misinterpretation for political means. Sean Hannity used the song as a theme on his radio show from shortly after 9/11 until 2014; Sarah Palin chose it as a walk-on song during her Vice Presidential campaign. Peters, in particular, has been saddled with a patriotic anthem she did not write.

“As the writer, I always believe that it’s very powerful to know what your story’s about and know your characters, but not necessarily put it all in there,” she says. “Because I think it invites the listener to play a part. The danger there is that those kinds of songs are much more easily misconstrued.”…

Somehow a song about deliberate cruelty driving its victims to a terrible revenge seems appropriate right at the moment, or maybe that’s just me. It’s a darned catchy ditty, regardless!