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“TEN THOUGHTS FOR A TUESDAY…MARCH 2, 2021”

1.THE JEFF BUCKLEY BIO PIC “EVERYBODY HERE WANTS YOU” PROCEEDS FORTH. I have no clue who Reeve Carney is. His IMDb doesn’t give me much hope. He looks vaguely like Buckley, which is not a deal breaker for me. Buckley’s mother and his estate management are behind the deal, which will allow the film to have full access to his wondrous music. But to have any faith in the project is to operate with a true suspension of disbelief. Decent biopics about musicians you can probably count on two hands, and maybe just one. It’s only the industry which produced such drivel as The Green Book and Glitter. However anything which helps introduce Buckley’s singular catalog to a new group of listeners is worth the usual Hollywood bullshit. I have a relevant fear that Buckley is in danger of being forgotten because the pendulum of music has swung so far from the type of music he was crafting before his untimely death.

2.Anyone vaguely interested in what the Nineties hype was about with Buckley must read Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley by David Browne(2002). A dual biography of an absentee folk singer dad and an indie rock-leaning son trying to escape his shadow is as compelling of a read as I have ever encountered. Browne writes with great intelligence and feeling about both men’s music, of their differences and their similarities. In the end both men were Icarus.

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3.BAD BUNNY IS STILL RUINING WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW. When will the madness end?

4.RIP LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI. Poet, publisher, political activist, bookstore owner, practically the last surviving member of the Beat Generation. Important for his crusading victories as a free speech advocate and a curator of a moment, he should not be forgotten.

 

5.RIP U-ROY AKA EWART BECKFORTH, “toasting” maestro and one of the fathers of Jamacian dancehall. I’ve grown to mostly despise rappers but there’s something about Jamaican “toasting” which for me has a more enduring appeal. Maybe it’s the accent and dialect. Maybe it’s the backdrop music. Maybe it’s the joy, bravado and a dash of the exotic and even the mystical. You can have Travis Scott and Drake. Give me U-Roy any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

6.SMASHING PUMPKINS, CYR(2020). A dead end. Maybe the worst “Smashing Pumpkins” album, which is saying something. “Billy, don’t be a hero”–just make fucking Smashing Pumpkins albums. Even paint-by-numbers would be better than the 80’s snyth fest of CYR.

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The link above is a direct link to the  Amazon.com website. This website is a probationary member of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing LLC program. Any purchases made using this link for any item might result in this website receiving a small commission fee from the transaction, but any viewer of this website is under no obligation to avail themselves of this or any other link.

7.THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MARATHON ON NICKTOONS. In order to hype the latest Spongebob Squarepants movie, Sponge on the Run, the offshoot of Nickleodeon has been showing every episode in chronological order for almost a week. That’s 248 episodes. And counting. Any excuse for Nickleodeon to promote Spongebob isn’t overkill–the series has been that great. I have seen almost everyone and can type with a straight face that this cartoon is a more enjoyable and sustainable series than nearly all “adult fare.” Its tremendous popularity has been well-deserved, yet is probably underrated for how superb an entertainment it has always been. One day Spongebob may approach the longevity mark that The Simpsons has achieved. The show has always balanced appealing both to kids and adults, juggling naitivity and buffoonery with almost lethal doses of cynicism and bleak humor. Like all classic comedies(and dramas) the characters are stock and the scenarios often repeat, yet the writing, acting, direction and animation are so compelling that watching so many episodes during a marathon hardly diminishes its power. Scoff at cartoons if you must, but the best ones–and I would debate that Spongebob Squarepants is among the very elite–are timeless, alluring to both children and adults. I don’t truly understand why Friends–a mainstay of “Nick at Night”– has returned to being a cultural phenomeon, of what sudden appeal it has to the Tik Tok generation, who were probably babies or unborn when it ended its original successful run. I never could get behind the show despite how truly attractive the female cast members were and I still can’t. I’d rather be watching SPONGEBOB.

8.LOU REED. Bittersweet that Lou Reed was trending on Twitter today. He was born on this date in 1942. Had he lived today he would be 79. Can you imagine what type of music an 80-year old Lou Reed would be making? What would he have made of Covid-19, Trump, “wokeness?” Could he still get away with being Lou Reed since his death in 2013? Would he give a shit? For sheer joy listen to the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” and “Rock and Roll.” For the grand melancholy of such a day I turn to the eponymous title track of his album about death, Magic and Loss. And whatever you do turn it up LOUD.

9.CAROLE KING’S TAPESTRY TURNS 50 YEARS OLD. Working on a piece to honor it but I wanted to take notice of it now. It’s a masterwork, a more challenging one than its reputation as comfort food might suggest.

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The link above is a direct link to the  Amazon.com website. This website is a probationary member of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing LLC program. Any purchases made using this link for any item might result in this website receiving a small commission fee from the transaction, but any viewer of this website is under no obligation to avail themselves of this or any other link.


10.THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Sigma Sound Studios. “Philly Soul.” Thom Bell. The “MFSB” Orchestra(aka Mother-Father-Sister-Brother). What Motown and Stax were to the Sixties, Philadelphia International was to the Seventies. Gamble and Huff took their inspiration from Berry Gordy’s founding and running of Motown, but expanded upon his vision with their own. Gordy had created a truly successful Black-owned business which could do well internationally, but had initially shied away from having his roster of Black artists sing “politically”-tinged songs. (To be Black and to express anything about being Black, whether the sentiment is trivial or confrontational is so very often a “political” act.) Just as Stax tweaked Gordy’s timidness with confronting his white audience with material they might not wish to hear by accenting a Southern Blackness indistinguishable from the sound, Gamble and Huff would not have its r & b divorced from the real life encounters and experiences of those making the music. They and their artists were unapologetically Black. Blackness would be unavoidable a discussion in some songs because they had never lived in a world that did not react to their very Blackness. As one of the label’s best known songs goes “Joy and Pain” emerged as their manifesto. In retrospect Motown productions can sound  more static and era-bound than those from Stax and Philadelphia International, as if the optimism whether organic or forced dated more the captured moment than the transcendence of the songs themselves. The Stax sound is considerably more freer and funkier. Maybe unlike Motown they weren’t committed to creating an universal American pop music, of these Black performers creating a music that could radio in all 50 states. Stax was always soul music, intrinsically Black and Southern, and centered on allowing its roster of artists to be themselves, not a projection of what white America would want with its Negro artists, even though they were making music in the deeply, violently segregated South. Years later Gamble and Huff and their roster of artists would emerge, one eye on the dance floor, the other on political activism or reportage. Although the Philly Soul sound did have some crossover appeal, its most ardent fans were ones with “plenty Black ears to listen”(to paraphrase a lyric from Joe Strummer). I don’t think Gamble and Huff would have had it any other way.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

The link above is a direct link to the  Amazon.com website. This website is a probationary member of the Amazon Affiliate Marketing LLC program. Any purchases made using this link for any item might result in this website receiving a small commission fee from the transaction, but any viewer of this website is under no obligation to avail themselves of this or any other link.

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