Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Watch the Sunrise

"I'm in love—what's that song? I'm in love with that song."

This. This is that song.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Against All Odds

You know, for all the fecal matter slung his way, even some of Phil Collins's most popular ballads were really kinda weird structurally and harmonically.

"Against All Odds," with its rising chord progression that methodically works its way through almost every chord in the key of A minor, skipping E minor only to return to it later, unexpectedly, after G major, and shifting the D minor chord to a D major chord for the chorus, is, well, weird. The lack of a bridge or solo, the ever shifting lyrics, which reuse lines but rarely really does sound like what it was, a guy in pain playing just for himself in his empty house as way to try to ameliorate or at least work through his issues. It's just that, in this case, the guy in question turned into a major pop star and was able to rework some of his musical therapy sessions and turn them into massive worldwide hits. But the unusual elements and the pain remains.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

RIP Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Man. Christopher Hogwood, Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus's been a tough decade for maestri. And, not to be grim or nothin', but I just discovered that my boy Herbert Blomstedt—maybe my all-time favorite conductor, which is a bit like preferring the Replacements to the Rolling Stones—was born two years before Harnoncourt, six years before Abbado, fourteen before Hogwood...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Like a Rolling Stone

As I've written, I'm pretty lukewarm on David Bowie the cover artist, even as I remain fairly insane about David Bowie the artist.

But this is a pretty stellar version of a Bob Dylan song which hasn't had a whole lot of great versions by anyone other than the man himself. (Although, yes, there have been some.) It's hard not to think that Bowie's stint in the not very good but very rejuvenating Tin Machine had more than a little to do with how he tears into this, but it's also notable that he does a much better job with it than that band did with the Dylan cover "Maggie's Farm." How much of it is due to this being a much better song ("Maggie's Farm" is, to my ears, one of Dylan's three most overrated songs ever), and how much of it's due to how much better or at least simpatico (read: better) a match Mick Ronson was for The Thin White Duke than Reeves Gabrels remains open to debate.