Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Saturday, January 16, 2010

in what respect, charlie?

guilty as sin but free as a bird, rapper r. kelly opines (in sep. 2008) on his taste in girls women and the justice system.

the interviewer's double-take when kelly asks "how old are you talkin'?" is priceless: it is the look of a man who realizes he's talking to, if not a complete moron, then a man who has failed to grasp the meaning of his predicament.

BET: do you like teenage girls?
kelly: [after a pause] when you say teenage, how old are you talkin'?
BET: girls who are ... teenagers.
kelly: 19?
BET: 19 ... and younger.
kelly: i have some 19-year-old friends ...

kelly: if you was charged with something, and you were found innocent ... then you can't be found guilty, for being found innocent.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

if i only had a brain


i wouldn't while away the hours
connectin' shady powers
and wondrin' who's to gain
and my head i'd stop a-scratchin'
itchy plots it keeps a-hatchin'
if i only had a brain ♫

i'd scoff at every riddle
from every individ'le
intol'rant or insane


with the time you'd stop a-wastin'
a real life you could be tastin'
if you only had a brain ♫


oh, i wouldn't wonder why
no judge will hear my roar
i'd stop thinkin' things
no one's thunk before
and then i'd go
and do some chores

i would not be just a-huffin'
my head all full of stuffin'
my heart all full of pain
i'd sober up and tell orly
a new hobby she needs sorely
if i only had a brain ♫

(transformative lyrics by aarrgghh)

Monday, June 01, 2009

don't bother door

one of the advantages of the internet over pre-internet information gathering and dissemination is speed. it's often tedious and expensive to collect, publish, maintain and update any sizable body of knowledge. by allowing everyone to participate in the fun and allowing the always vaster number of information consumers to join or even supplant the always limited number of producers, not only does the internet allow daunting databases to be built much faster than before, it allows databases of esoteric knowledge that might never exist for lack of a profit model to be built by dedicated followers.

but one of the obvious disadvantages of this new production model is the swamping of the expertise and professionalism of small self-selected credentialed organizations by the amateurism and even mischief and malfeasance that large anonymous pools of contributors can be susceptible to. if information spreads faster on the internet, so does misinformation and disinformation and if it's always been true that a lie travels around the world in the time it takes the truth to put on its shoes, then the truth is just barely catching up.

these are neither novel nor profound observations but nowhere are they better illustrated than in online lyric databases. the amount of data involved has the disadvantage of being enormously vast while the pool of experts and standards has the disadvantage of being completely nonexistent while the task of collecting it has the disadvantage of being utterly profitless, making the area an ideal medium for error and garbage.

if there's one thing that's plainly obvious when browsing lyrics sites, it's that they swipe their entries from each other, mistakes and all. since there's no profit, there's no incentive for independent research, and since the sites don't own the data, they won't sue each other for infringement. if one site has an incorrect entry, they all have it:

lovin' spoonful — coconut grove lyrics

it's really true how nothin matters.
no mad, mad world and no mad hatters.
no one's pitchin cause their ain't no batters
in coconut grove.

don't bother door.
theirs no one comin.
the oceans roar, were double drummin.
of many silly thoughts and silly ways
the ocean breeze has cooled my mind.
the salty days are her's and mine
just to do what we anna

the lovely and haunting coconut grove does not suffer from slurred vocals. john sebastian was no michael stipe yet the song's entry is not only riddled with absurd errors, but is also inexplicably incomplete. thankfully, former van halen frontman david lee roth covered the song, which somehow earned him an entry with more accurate lyrics:

david lee roth — coconut grove lyrics

it's really true how nothin' matters
no mad, mad world and no mad hatters
noone's pitchin' cause there ain't no batters
in coconut groove

don't bar the door, there's no one comin'
the ocean's roar will dull the drummin'
of any city thoughts and city ways
the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine

to do what we wanna
tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's all from havin' someone knowin'
just which way your head is goin'
who's always warm, like in the mornin'
in coconut groove

but even roth's version diverges from the original complete lovin' spoonful rendition, in verse 5:

coconut grove by lovin' spoonful

it's really true how nothing matters
no mad mad world and no mad hatters
no one's pitching 'cause there ain't no batters
in coconut grove

don't bar the door, there's no one coming
the ocean's roar will dull the drumming
of any city thoughts and city ways

the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine
just to do what we want to

tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's all from having someone knowing
just which way your head is blowing
who's always warm, like in the morning
in coconut grove

the ocean breezes cool my mind
the salty days are hers and mine
just to do what we want to

tonight we'll find a dune that's ours
and softly she will speak the stars
until sunup

it's really true how nothing matters
no mad mad world and no mad hatters
no one's pitching 'cause there ain't no batters
in coconut grove

the internet's great, but sometimes you still gotta do some things yourself.

Monday, March 09, 2009

lost art, rediscovered

"design artwork for a shrinking album cover" by steven heller @ wired documents the lamentable demise of the 12" canvas once enjoyed by album art — real estate that now seems glorious compared to the 500x500 pixel graphic (at best) that accompanies most digital music these days:

in the late '80s and '90s, when the cd replaced vinyl as the format of choice, the new 5.5- by 5.5-inch jewel case was a far less luscious canvas.

... when the mp3 gained popularity in the late '90s, it seemed that the album — and its cover — would join the moldering 45s, 78s, and 8-tracks in the format graveyard. the first incarnation of napster made no accommodation for album art at all, and itunes shrank covers into dispiriting splotches.

... happily, technologies like cover flow, the visual navigation interface apple dropped into itunes in late 2006 — not to mention the iphone and ipod touch screens — have given album art some renewed prominence.

as heller notes, cover flow made me a bit happier if a bit more obsessive: of the nearly 5800 tracks on my ipod, comprising nearly 1160 albums, all but 2 albums have cover art, all of which i spent months hunting for, or scanning myself. the few tracks that never had any art to begin with got a picture of the artist. now if there were some way to rescue liner notes ...

a few favorites:

in the court of the crimson king, king crimson (1969)

king crimson

unsettling and mesmerizing, by barry godber.

are you experienced?, jimi hendrix (1993 rerelease)

jimi hendrix

hendrix and crew beam-in from outer space. scifi-kedelic.

born to run, bruce springsteen (1975)

bruce springsteen

i had to reformat this one, including new titling. if there is a good reproduction of eric meola's full size gatefold cover on the net, i've yet to find it. it would be nice to find a decent print to scan, sans crease. update: finally — decent art found!

a million in prizes: the anthology, iggy pop (2005)

iggy pop

iggy looking like he was carved from granite.

aqualung, jethro tull (1971)

jethro tull

great drybrush technique, by burton silverman.

blues for allah, grateful dead (1975)

grateful dead

one of the dead's finest covers, by philip garris.

because the night, patti smith (single from the album easter, 1978)

grateful dead

rare cheesecake, by lynn goldsmith, for the high priestess of punk, who usually did everything she could to not look sexy. she usually succeeded.

Monday, March 02, 2009

formative albums: decade zero

inspired by my friend margie's facebook note "25 formative life-changing albums". click images to enlarge. dates are release dates.

peter and the wolf (1957)

the version currently on my ipod is by leonard bernstein and the ny philharmonic.

the three little pigs: favorite children stories (1961)

mother goose favorites (1965)

sesame street original cast record (1970)

the amazing spider-man: a rockomic! (1972) — now this was awesome!

some stuff from my parents' collection that in some part made it onto the ipod:

whipped cream and other delights (1965)
"whipped cream" and "a taste of honey" were the big hits but the masterpiece is the criminally short (1:32) "green peppers".

they also had the herb alpert's ninth (1967) and beat of the brass (1968) but not !!going places!! (1965). "whipped", "beat" and "going" made it onto the ipod.

the best of sam cooke (1962)

the supremes: where did our love go (1964) and i hear a symphony (1966)

make way for dionne warwick (1964) and here where there is love (1967)

four tops: second album (1965)

temptations: gettin' ready (1966)

the 5th dimension: stoned soul picnic (1968) and greatest hits (1969)

jackson 5: abc (1970)

soul train: hits that made it happen and soul train: hall of fame (1973)

note: they also owned a (relatively) sizable collection of popular classical recordings that i don't remember hearing them play, many of which nonetheless made it to the ipod.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

life is short

life is short
filled with stuff
don't know what for
ain't had enough

the cramps, "new kind of kick" (1981)

when i first heard that verse, i thought they were among the best lines ever written, without qualification. twenty-eight years later, i still do.

the human experience in four lines. so deceptively simple. so compact. sheer haiku.

i'd be surprised if it took more than a minute to actually think up and i'd be doubly surprised if any of the cramps gave it half as much thought as i have.

i wonder if lux had any idea how truly awesome that little verse is.

lux interior, dead at 62.

born erick lee purkhiser, interior started the cramps in 1972 with guitarist poison ivy (born kristy wallace, later his wife) — whom, as legend has it, he picked up as a hitchhiker in california. by 1975, they had moved to new york, where they became an integral part of the burgeoning punk scene surrounding cbgbs.

their music differed from most of the scene's other acts in that it was heavily steeped in camp, with interior's lyrics frequently drawing from schlocky b-movies, sexual kink and deceptively clever puns. (j.h. sasfy's liner notes to their debut ep memorably noted: "the cramps don't pummel and you won't pogo. they ooze; you'll throb.") sonically, the band drew from blues and rockabilly, and a key element of their sound was the trashy, dueling guitars of poison ivy and bryan gregory (and later kid congo powers), played with maximal scuzz and minimal drumming.

because of that — not to mention interior's deranged, iggy pop-inspired onstage antics and deep, sexualized singing voice (which one reviewer described as "the psychosexual werewolf / elvis hybrid from hell") — the cramps are often cited as pioneers of "psychobilly" and "horror rock," and can count bands like the black lips, the jon spencer blues explosion, the reverend horton heat, the horrors and even the white stripes as their musical progeny.

... due to their imagery, obsession with kitsch and dogged dedication to touring — they wrapped up their latest jaunt across europe and the u.s. this past november — the cramps commanded a loyal fanbase, and even earned a spot in the rock and roll hall of fame, in the form of a shattered bass drum that interior had shoved his head through.

interior was widely rumored in 1987 to have died from a heroin overdose, and his wife received flowers and funeral wreaths.

"at first i thought it was kind of funny," he told the los angeles times at the time. "but then it started to give me a creepy feeling."

Thursday, May 04, 2006


it's not easy defending positions you've never actually thought about.

sully erna, frontman of top-of-the-charts grunge metal band godsmack, attempts to explain to jay babcock of arthur magazine why he doesn't have a problem with licensing his songs to the military for their recruitment videos:

jb: well i have a quote from you here: "we've always been supportive of our country and our president, whereas a lot of people i thought" — and you said this in 2003 to mtv news, you said — "a lot of people i thought lashed out pretty quickly at what we did and i thought the government did everything pretty cleanly and publicly as possible."
se: yeah ... ?
jb: well, what are you talking about?
se: that was my opinion at the time. the whole war thing, and trying to keep us up to date like ... if you remember, back in other wars, we didn't have the opportunity to follow it through the media, and cnn, and the news — live updates and that kind of thing. and i thought that for the most part you know we were allowed to follow it as best we could through the media sources that were feeding us information.
jb: [incredulous] you didn't think the media was being controlled by the military?!?
se: well, it could be. i don't know.
jb: you didn't look into it?
se: listen, are you a fucking government expert?

oh shit, another one of these friggin' experts! man, i couldn't get outta high school fast enough to get away from these geeks!

se: so i just feel, well, you know, whatever we can do to say 'thank you for protecting our country' is what we try to do. i'm not trying to make this a big political issue.
jb: okay. have you done anything to prevent people from joining the military?
se: no.
jb: to maybe educate them as to what's in store for them?
se: i don't have enough education in the military to educate them in anything.

besides, it's not like there's any possible reason you wouldn't jump with both feet on gettin' your song in a recruiting vid, right?

se: we just simply — an opportunity came up, they wanted to use some music for a recruit commercial. what are we gonna say, no?
jb: yeah. how hard is it to say 'no'?
se: why would we, though?!?
jb: because —
se: is it because you don't feel the same way about the government that we do, makes you right and us wrong?
jb: yeah. what do you feel about the government? tell me what —
se: aw, that's crazy, man! that's just an opinion.
jb: i can back my opinion up from here to tomorrow if you would like to talk to me all day long.
se: well, obviously you've done a lot of research and you've
jb: that's right, because —
se: — got a different opinion. we don't know that stuff that you know, so —
jb: why don't you do some research before you get involved with these sorts of things? you're talking about young kids' lives. you're talking about kids —
se: [yelling] would you rather not have us be protected so they can come and overrun our country?!?

because, after all, if we were to actually do some research, the terrorists would win! but if you like your fuckin' research so much, they still got libraries in iraq!

jb: you know what i'd like, sully? a department of defense. not a department of offense that attacks other countries — sovereign nations — who do things in a different way than us, who we have no right to go over and invade and change their governments. would we want someone else to do that to us?
se: i'm not saying —
jb: how hard is that to think about?
se: i'm not saying that we were right on every war that we've created. i know that we've been damn wrong at times about stuff —
jb: when have we been wrong?
se: [yelling] but they have also been wrong too!
jb: when have —
se: i don't trust someone like fuckin' sadaam and osama to come in here and try to control —
jb: [incredulous] when did sadaam try to come in here and control our country?
se: dude, [yelling] why don't you go live in iraq then if you have such a problem with america? why are you here?

because, you know, you can love it or leave it, you osaddama-lovin' geek! love it or leave it!

now, if you'll excuuuse me, i have some recruiting song$ to cut.

now i could care less whether sully erna supports the troops, or how he chooses to demonstrate his support. there's a broader issue on display here.

the issue here, which jay babcock clearly illustrates, is that sully's position is completely bankrupt because he's made no effort to think about it in anything but the shallowest terms.

whatever your beliefs, especially if you actively promote them in order to influence the behavior of others, you have a responsibility to learn what all the facts are. because sully hasn't made any effort to learn anything about the military or the war, he's unable to offer any credible or coherent rebuttal to jay's arguments. all he has are cheap slogans.

sully obviously has no interest in the military beyond indulging himself in some kind of feel-good give-em-hell rock-and-roll fantasy that he's getting paid to promote. and not being in the military himself makes him not just an idiot but a hypocrite.