I’ve Been Waiting on This Day Since Dr. Dre and Pac

As the blog’s resident Kendrick Lamar stan (I actually listened to Section 80 today on the ride to the big city and back, unaware this was about to happen), some unexpected news today with the release of the Pulitzer Prizes:

Since (at least) the release of good kid, m.A.A.d. city in 2012, the singularity of Kendrick Lamar has been plainly evident. But with the Pulitzer Prize in Music for 2018 being given to the Compton rapper for his 2017 album DAMN., his exceptionalism is now officially historic: It’s the first time in the prize’s history that it has been given to an artist outside of the classical or jazz community.

“A virtuosic song collection,” the Pulitzer board writes of DAMN., “unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” In addition to topping many year-end best lists (including ours), DAMN. was awarded five Grammys, though it lost out on album of the year to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.

He actually had a bunch of mix tapes, an EP, and his first album, Section 80 released prior to good kid, and a very solid argument could be made that Section 80 is up there with the best debut rap album by an artist alongside Kanye’s College Dropout, Biggie’s Ready to Die, and of course Illmatic. I don’t know why they think good kid is his debut album. Regardless, this award was for DAMN., which has received widespread critical acclaim.

I don’t personally care for it as much as the other albums I have mentioned, but it is a pretty amazing album, and shortly after purchasing it I used mp3tag and shuffled the song order to play it in reverse as I read on the intertrons, a move that Kendrick himself did when he re-released it as a collecter’s edition:

“I think like a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards,” he told MTV News in August. “It plays as a full story and even a better rhythm. It’s one of my favorite rhythms and tempos within the album. It’s something that we definitely premeditate while we’re in the studio.”

He continued of the reverse order: “I don’t think the story necessarily changes, I think the feel changes. The initial vibe listening from the top all the way to the bottom is…this aggression and this attitude. You know, ‘DNA,’ and exposing who I really am. You listen from the back end, and it’s almost the duality and the contrast of the intricate Kendrick Lamar. Both of these pieces are who I am.”

At any rate, there’s no doubt the man is insanely talented, and this is a well deserved award. BTW- I know I have mentioned this several times already, but Kendrick’s work in the Black Panther soundtrack is just excellent. It’s probably my favorite album this year. It’s just so god damned listenable.








144,000 Lord

Hey. I haven’t dunned you all week for our prospective Democratic congress-critters. Let’s fix that. I don’t expect something for nothing. Let me share a song from my personal reel of proto-rock songs.

I’m well aware of Louis Jordan, Ike Turner’s Rocket 88 and all that stuff. My list doesn’t just have backbeat-y songs that sound like early rock and roll. I’ve found some early songs here and there that have the energy and spirit of good rock music. Here, just listen:

Isn’t that fine? Maybe you know a few good ones too.

Let’s keep up the good work with 70 most competitive congressional races according to Swing Left.

Goal Thermometer



I Don’t Care If It Rains or Freezes

Who is your favorite Jesus? No, I don’t mean who is your favorite Bible Jesus. That’s obvious. It’s Jesus busting heads at the temple, doing what any good action hero does when he discovers a den of thieves in his father’s house. Then later he says, “Ah’ll be back.”

I mean, who is your favorite film Jesus? Mine is Willem Dafoe. You gotta like a Jesus with a flat Midwestern accent, the kind of Jesus who, if you got turned around in Beloit, can get you back on 90/94 and on your way to see the Tommy Bartlett Water Show.

Gahd loves me. I know he does. I wahnt him to stahp.

I really liked The Last Temptation of Christ (follow me now). It’s right up there with Jim Crace’s book Quarantine and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in its depiction of the powerful alienness of Roman-occupied Judea. If their literature and customs are anything to go by, that world and those people were very different from us. The idea that whole continents would become so preoccupied with the mutterings and incantations of this little tribe of desert people that it would form the bedrock of societies sounds like science fiction. Trying to get into their heads of the ancients, even if you’re not related to them, is a fun exercise.

Despite the fact that it is a very eighties-sounding album, full of whooshy synthesizers, I liked the soundtrack to the film by Peter Gabriel, Passion (getting closer). And even more still than the soundtrack (almost there), I loved the music that was the inspiration for the soundtrack, which is collected in an album called Passion – Sources (arrival!). It was a daily listen for me when it came out in 1989 and it still holds up. World music was, I recall, at its zenith in popularity at the time and seemed to come in two flavors: soporific wind-chime music to calm jangled hippie nerves or traditional songs that actually rocked. The Passion – Sources collection is all rockers. The music sounds untamed and a little dangerous. The YouTube collection below omits a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song. Be sure to listen to that one too if you are inclined. It’s a jam.

Now that the sermon is over, it’s time to pass the plate. Here fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

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Do You Need Anybody?

My job is such that sometimes I can be cleaning one damn thing or another from the moment I awake until I collapse into bed. Today is one of those days.

I watched half of that Joe Cocker doc on Netflix last night. It was pretty good! The post title is supposed to invoke the cri de coeur that follows this line. Some further research has lead me to this album which I’ve never heard before and am now sampling as I scrub this house clean. So far so good! Classic Rock Values!

Speaking of cleaning, we can clean up congress this fall with a little elbow grease, some love, and whole heap o’ money. And so I present fund the that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

ETA: Down in the comments Thoughtful David having the thoughts:

have some suggestions for what you can also do, besides giving money, to help Democrats get elected: get involved with your local Democratic Committee. If you live in a county with, say, <100,000 people, the local Dem Committee is probably desperate and begging for your help.
I’m not talking about just things like making phone calls or writing postcards. If you have accounting skills, they probably need a treasurer or assistant treasurer. If you’re good at organizing events, they’ll need help with that too. Manage email lists. Do data entry. If you’re a good communicator, help with the communication strategy. Write copy. Be the web/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram master. Manage the online events calendar.
No, the pay isn’t great (=$0). But this is the kind of thing that’s needed, and sometimes needed desperately.
You can volunteer to help with this kind of stuff for candidates, too. Town, county, state, or federal.
And the best part: they’re all decent people. No deplorables.








Mid To Late Evening Open Thread: The Crossdressing Attorneys Of Arendelle To The Rescue!

(Sort of) Queen Elsa to the rescue!

You’d expect to see this type of thing in Florida, not Boston, if Florida had blizzards.

Also, Crossdressing Attorneys would be the name of my neo-punk cover band if I had any musical aptitude whatsoever.

Obligatory:

Stay frosty!

Open thread.



Whoa children

My wife and listen mostly to children’s music now. It’s a a little more interesting than I thought. We can deal with Raffi in limited doses and kind of like the children’s music the guy from POTUSA does. We also discovered a great children’s album done by Doc Watson (Songs For Little Pickers) though we think Tennessee Stud may not be appropriate for very little children (great song, though). We also think the Rockabye Baby lullabies have surprisingly tasteful arrangements.

What children’s music would you recommend?

I remember some of the songs from when I was a kid so well! John Henry and Erie Canal especially. It’s kind of neat to me that these songs go back so far.

And here’s a picture of the baby!

Let’s raise a little more money for the Balloon Juice fund that is split equally among all Democratic nominees in all House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer








When I’m in Holland I Eat the Pannenkoeken

My wife has left me for an older woman. I can hardly blame her. She is a sophisticated, landed lady who collects books, dotes on her dogs, and wields soft power all around her neighborhood. She’s surprisingly modern for being 411 years old. For the next couple of weeks, my wife will be doing detective work at Harvard’s Houghton Library on her friend Frances Wolfreston, a lady book collector of the seventeenth century, which leaves me here alone manning the pumps. The hounds are being predictably bad. Spencer took a spill in the mud yesterday, so we had to have a bath after our walk. Echo’s separation anxiety compels her to shred one piece of junk mail if I am gone for too long. I guess it could be worse.

Harvard STC 3674

When your spouse is out of town, that is a good time to blast your old Beastie Boys albums at all hours. I remember contemporary critics being a little sniffy about this one. It’s maybe a little long, but still a banger. It sat comfortably in the bin of hip-hop albums that white college kids loved along with The Low End Theory and Three Feet High and Rising. It’s friendly and breakbeat-y. It’s respectful of music history (i.e. your parent’s record collection). It’s knowingly self-referential, and gets asses shaking on the dancefloor. White people love that shit!

Around the time this album was released I spent a summer living by the now demolished Robert Taylor Homes. I heard lots of R&B, contemporary and “dusties,”  blasting from cars and open windows in the breezy Chicago summer. Never once did I hear someone rapping. I found that interesting.

Republicans would happily stomp out any and all music education to the communities that gave us national treasures beyond value: jazz, rock and roll, and hip hop.  Let’s stop em. Here is the fund that’s split between all eventual
Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer