Like most right-thinking Americans, I gave up on "Saturday Night Live" a long time ago. But thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I can enjoy Natalie Portman in the funniest sketch since "Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult."
So a weird recurring theme in the Oscars tonight was that you really should see movies in the theater, and not on DVD. They even had a montage of movies that could really only be appreciated on the big screen.
a) most people have no opportunity to see movies such as "Gone With the Wind" or even "E.T." on the big screen and
b) you people are making a hell of a lot of money from people like me buying your DVDs, and will probably make a hell of a lot when a rebuy a few things on high definition DVD in a few years.
So shut the hell up.
But I loved Jon Stewart's comments after each of the self-congratulatory clips ("next: Oscar's salute to montages!").
The new Belle & Sebastian album, The Life Pursuit, is out Monday in the U.K. and Tuesday in the U.S.
The album is a good'un, though fans hoping for a return to the wistful navel-gazing of If You're Feeling Sinister may be disappointed. Ditto those expecting a continuation of the harder sound cultivated on 2003's Dear Catastrophe Waitress and the terrific "Your Cover's Blown" from the Books EP. The Life Pursuit rocks harder than the band's early output, but lacks the meaty Trevor Horn production of the last album.
It does, however, continue to explore the strange but satisfying twilight zone between Burt Bacharach and late sixties television theme songs. And although less immediately ingratiating than Catastrophe, the songs grow on you rapidly and feel more of a piece than that somewhat scattershot album. The overall mood is bright and sunny, though not without the trademark Murdoch ironic wit. Fans will be pleased, though B&S n00b's may be better served elsewhere.
Early Standouts: "Act of the Apostle, Part 1", "Sukie in the Graveyard", "We Are the Sleepyheads"
The world is a little less funky tonight.
Rap lyrics, translated.
I'm not sure if science or philosophy can answer this question:
What is the best remix album ever recorded: "Disco" by Pet Shop Boys, "Mixed Up" by The Cure, or "Wishful Thinking" by Propaganda?
Too close to call.
Okay, I've found the Pink Floyd album that wins the bottom position in their all-time releases.
Anyone care to take a guess on this one? Never mind - too easy. It's the studio disk of "Ummagumma" - a full 50% crap. The noise from Richard Wright and Nick Mason is completely pointless. Gilmour's pieces aren't bad, but also aren't compelling at all. The same goes for Waters's "Grantchester Meadows", and "Several Species..." is just a novelty piece. Very disappointing.
Anyone know what Medved's point was in debating (and attacking) the legacy of John Lennon on the anniversary of his assassination today? Did he really feel a need to piss off millions of Beatles fans on the anniversary of Lennon's death? Honestly, who cares?
Here's a good idea. Let's piss on John Lennon's grave for no reason and alienate a bunch of Beatles fans. Smart. Real smart.
And his criticisms seemed so trivial:
Ooooh, he didn't protest against the Soviets during the "Prague Spring"* of 1968???
John Lennon's real legacy? Yoko Ono. For that, he should be criticized.
"Imagine there's no Yoko, it's easy if you try."
*The Prague Spring originated with attacks on the Czechoslovak President Antonin Novotny at the Writers Union Congress in June 1967. Escalating student demonstrations led in January 1968 to Khrushchev supporter Alexander Dubcek being appointed President. Dubceks reform program was adopted on 5 April but ended on 20-21 August when Soviet troops invaded.
I can't watch the latest Carl's Jr. ad enough.
From the Corner at National Review:
NRO ROCK BLEG [John J. Miller]
Im going to compile a list of great conservative rock-and-roll songs, and Id like your suggestions. Criteria: 1) Lyrically, the song must express a conservative sentiment, such as appreciation for a traditional value, skepticism of government power, etc. 2) It must be a great rock and roll song. A good example: Taxman, by the Beatles (If you drive a car, Ill tax the street/If you try to sit, Ill tax your seat).
Please send your recommendations to me at email@example.com -- and be sure to explain your reasons. I have a bias in favor of songs that are already well known, or at least songs that are by well-known bands. But Im willing to consider anything. Even Duran Duran.
Frankly, I can't think of any. Maybe Dirty Laundry by Don Henley and Get Over It by the Eagles?
Okay, so I'm on a Smiths kick. I blame John Ashcroft AND Monkey Brad.
Finally, after years of avoiding it, I broke down and bought "The World Won't Listen" on CD. I had avoided it because I only knew for sure that there was one song ("Money Changes Everything") that I didn't already have on some other release. I also have long been frustrated that the CD version doesn't include "The Draize Train", which is another track I need to acquire on CD so I don't have to put on my 12" of "Panic" when I want to listen to it.
Anyway, thanks to some kind seller on half.com, I'm now in possession of TWWL, and I'm delighted that I made the purchase. The song sequence is much more coherent than "Louder Than Bombs," its American counterpart release. And, much to my surprise, there are several tracks that I didn't already have:
1. Money Changes Everything - This instrumental is the only truly "new" track.
2. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - A noticeably different mix from the version on "The Queen Is Dead"
3. Stretch Out And Wait - The vocal track is different (including different lyrics) from the version on "Louder Than Bombs"
4. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore - This is a "single edit", almost a minute shorter than the version on "Meat Is Murder." Basically, when the MiM version fades out, this one never fades back in.
5. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby - This is also different from the version on "Louder Than Bombs", although I haven't listened closely enough to figure out if it's a different mix or a completely different recording.
Slate magazine has Monkey RobbL's number.
How amazingly ballsy was it for The Smiths to lead off their first L.P. with "Reel Around the Fountain"? Serously, that took guts. Hats off to Morrissey and Marr.
There's something you need to know about the new Harry Potter movie. Well, that is if you're the type, like my wife and I, who usually hang around until all the credits have scrolled and the lights come on. Even if you're not the type, you may want to try it after this heads up. But, as a public service, I must warn those fans of reading the credits, that this post will contain a credits spoiler.
Predictably, the movie's score plays over the credits. And, as usual, it winds through a number of motifs, leitmotifs, and themes before it dwindles out. But for the new Harry Potter movie, the credits still roll... and then a new, soft rock number, "Magic Works," starts. It wasn't in the movie, but clearly it's an original for the soundtrack (okay, maybe it was just barely in the background during the ball scene, but it wasn't recognizable). And it's bad. No, this is no "Gollum's Song" or "Into the West" which popped up over the LOTR credits. The merits of those songs are debatable. But HP's extra tune is really, really bad. So bad, in fact, that I suspect it may have been intended ironically. This appears to be lost on Amazon's "editor" though, who comments on the soundtrack:
Note that the CD concludes on a jarringly different note with three songs by the Weird Sisters, the group that performs at Hogwarts' Yule Ball. Led by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, the ad hoc band also includes members of Radiohead and Cocker's side project Relaxed Muscle. "Do the Hippogriff" is a fast-paced rocker that somehow comes across like a grungy hybrid of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" and "Dancing with Myself." The other two songs--"This Is the Night" and "Magic Works"--are less obvious, and much better.
Much better? Hoo, boy! Have you ever seen the improv tv sketch show Whose Line Is It Anyway? "Magic Works" is painfully similar to something made up during the game called Three Headed Broadway Star.
If deconstructionist irony is your bag, by all means, stick around for the song. My guffaws were echoing around the front of the nearly evacuated theater. (The very last lines are the choicest.) For those of you who will heed this more as a warning but worry about any clever bits of credit scroll you might miss, let me give you the skinny. There's a few odd, fun-to-pronounce crew names you might miss, but you can read them here. Lastly, the only gag in the credits was a "No dragons were harmed in the making of this film" disclaimer. Woot! Feel free to bail before the end.
Okay, nearly everyone whose ever gone through a talk radio phase has probably mused about what they'd have as their own show's theme music. This has got to be even more likely among bloggers. Well, the time has come for us all to 'fess up.
What (plausibly recognizable) song would you open your fantasy talk show with? Nothing painfully obscure, please. For example, my real first choice would be some unheard-of's track on an unknown compilation of 60's bachelor pad tunes. No, it should be something that did see some radio play outside the college station circuit, or a novelty by someone we've heard of.
Alright, I'll go first.
Monkey Brad - "Oblivious" Aztec Camera
I know, I know... "But I don't want to give away the cool idea I have for the podcast I want to start up next year." Quit whinin' Cartman. This here's a blog. It's got archives. If your podcast ever comes together, you can back up your cred by commenting below, and linking back whenever.
Hugh is searching for new top o' the hour intro music. His guidelines: "Upbeat, fast-paced, preferably with a fiddle."
I may be coming late to the party, so forgive me if I'm restating the obvious: "Come On, Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. There may be enough instrumental to loop together, though the lyrics suit Hugh well enough, eh?
I now yield the floor for Monkey Robb to come up with the right Camper Van Beethoven track, and for Monkey David to offer any appropriate cuts from Laurie Anderson.
Hip-hop is indefensible. I have no link. The thought occurred to me after enduring nearly four hours of the stuff at a party last night. Indefensible! More indefensible than 12-tone composition! More indefensible than free jazz! More indefensible than Yanni!
Comment all you like. You'll still be wrong. Unless, of course, you agree with me.
1) "All Wood and Stones," by John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley
2) "Cream: Live at Royal Albert Hall," by Cream
3) "Guitar Noir," by the Aqua Velvets
4) "Positively 12 Stiff Dylans!" by Nob Dylan and His Nobsoletes
5) "Hefty Fine," by The Bloodhound Gang
6) "Suspicious Activity?" by The Bad Plus
1) I Predict a Riot by Kaiser Chiefs
2) Beautiful by Clem Snide
3) Revolution Blues by The Waco Brothers
4) Black Is Beautiful by Roy Budd
5) Apple Tree by Wolfmother
6) First Wave Intact by The Secret Machines
7) I'm Against It by The Ramones
8) Nesbitt's Lime Soda Song by Negativland
9) F.U.N. Song by Spongebob Squarepants
10) The Cool People Know Who the Cool People Are by The Clint Boon Experience
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Billboard.
(Any political implications in this list -- e.g., metaphors for the Miers nomination -- are purely coincidental.)
Listen to this. And bear in mind, Lileks is trashed, and I am trashed, and you are trashed when you hear it. Listen to Berlioz, you brutes, and despair.
Hey, Hugh? You are totally wrong about Harriet Miers. Don't be such a hack.
J.B. wants examples of rock songs "that are even 10% as right on in terms of a worldview as" some country song he likes. Now, in the first place, if correct lyrics are all that matters, you could just listen to Gregorian chants all day, like ex-Monkey Ben does. But there are plenty of examples of rock songs with true lyrics. For example, Oingo Boingo's Capitalism (unfortunately Elfman took the lyrics to heart, and ended the band to focus on lucrative movie scores). And, yes, plenty of U2 songs (OK, the religious ones, not the political ones). And I'm sure ex-Monkey Ben could take a break from the chants to mention some Rush songs...
Oh, dear Lord. I just noticed I have $2,058.63 worth of music in my iTunes shopping cart. Somebody get me a doctor!
And $2,058! I can probably scrape together the other 63 cents on my own...
What's that you say? Hurricane relief?
I hate every last one of you.
I'm up late doing my expense reports, watching an SNL re-run on the TiVo from earlier this year. Cameron Diaz was the host, and Green Day the guests.
Notes on Green Day's performance:
1. Crappy derivative punk bands become REALLY AWFUL when they get into their thirties.
2. People in their thirties (and up) should stop dressing like 18-year-olds. No more red hair dye and gelled-up mohawks.
3. Take a tip from The Clash and break up, with each member going on to play music that's less adolescent.
Yes, I'm a cranky old fart.
On the other hand, the "Dramatic Weekend Update Play" was loads of fun.
If you knew my mom, this would be even stranger. Here I am, sitting at home, cooling my Tour de France* decompresion via full immersion in the new Harry Potter experience when the phone rings.
"I don't know who else to call. You're the first one I'm calling." She proceeded to ask if I wanted to go with her tomorrow night to see the Eminem, 50 Cent, Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boys concert. And she wasn't asking me to go as a security measure; she just wanted someone to share the experience with, someone to reflect upon it with. "Uh, okay, Mom, let's go."
I had to make it clear that it would contain some vulgar elements and she responded, "Very vulgar. Yes, I know." She went on to explain that she has never regretted stepping outside of her peers' boundaries and attending a James Brown concert in Mississippi back in the 60's. (She swears she was the only white person there.) Of course, she wasn't connecting the implied sexuality of James Brown's material with the overt crudity that we can expect to accompany some of tomorrow night's acts. She seems to view Eminem as an enigmatic talent, and having been impressed with the movie 8 Mile, wants to get the vibe of his live performance amidst the modern hip hop milieu.
A report may follow.
*Three week's worth of virtual paralysis and DVR bliss. It was unbe-Tivo-lievable! If I wasn't watching, I was riding the wave of inspiration, getting in a tad over 490 miles of my own (including three races) during the span of the Tour. Robb has urged me to post the race reports I've typed up for my team. That may happen, if for no other reason than to get back in the habit of posting.
MTV's coverage of Live8 was horrible. I'll blog about it more later, but having just watched (on Tivo) MTV interrupt Pink Floyd's set so we could watch a couple of idiots talk about how great it is that Pink Floyd is performing, I'm a little too furious to comment. I listened to it on AOL yesterday, which would have been OK if they had supported the Mac (instead, I had to hook up an old PC laptop, and then find out that I had to use IE instead of Firefox). I'll try watching AOL video later, but I suspect it's also not Mac friendly...
Inspired by Lord Lileks, who was inspired in turn by this fellow and this other guy (both of whose blogs I'd never laid eyes on before this hour), I confess my (anonymously) promiscuous and expensive musical tastes!
Total size of music files on computer:
Last CD purchased:
On eBay, a wonderful out-of-print soundtrack, composed by James Horner. Although, the truth is, I buy albums all the time... just on iTunes. The three most recent were "Get Behind Me Satan," by the White Stripes, "Charge!!," by the Aquabats, and "Rock Swings," by Paul Anka.
"Shame on the Night," by Dio. Coming up next: "Ruby, My Dear," by Thelonious Monk.
Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me.
"Stardust," by Hoagy Carmichael, although just about any version will do and I have 50 or so. The song reminds me of my early 20s... and why I was probably born in the wrong part of the century.
"Brazil," by Geoff Muldaur. This is the version Terry Gilliam used. "Brazil" is one of my favorite films of all time. I think I first saw it when I was 16, and I was hooked instantly. The song is just so strange and sad.
"Subdivisions," by Rush. Or maybe "New World Man." No, wait, "Countdown!" Signals isn't the best Rush album ever -- not even close -- but it was one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money, on cassette! "Some will sell their dreams for small desires/And lose the race to rats..."
"The Warning," by Black Sabbath. Evil blues. Another reminder of my misspent youth. "Now you never said you loved me, and I don't believe you can/'cause I saw you in a dream, and you were with another man..." Had that dream once, and it came true. Things did get better, of course. They usually do.
Lileks excluded classical, and I can understand why, but it would be wrong for me not to include the first movement of Mahler's Eighth Symphony. I played Horenstein's recording five or six times -- very loud -- on the morning of my wedding. I played it again the afternoon of the day my son was born two years later. It is the closest earthly thing I know that expresses pure and perfect joy.
Five people to whom Im passing the baton:
The other monkeys, of course.
After reading this, I STILL don't know what that dumb song is about. But I'm definitely amused.