Sunday, December 25, 2016

RIP George Michael

And the worst year of my sentient life continues.

It would be inaccurate to say I was ever a George Michael fan, or a fan of Wham! At the time I foolishly thought myself above what I considered such pop piffle. And yet...and yet when the videos came on, I never turned the TV off. Not because I enjoyed the videos themselves—although the videos for "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was a lot of silly fun—but because, in the end, as always, it comes down to the music, and Michael's gift for melody was undeniable. (As were his voice and his production skills, as well as his extraordinarily handsome looks, but none of those have ever meant anything close to as much to me as melody.)

So...yeah. Somebody wake me up once 2016 has gone-gone.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Acadian Driftwood

It's not easy to find three singers in the same band that can stack up against The Band's powerhouse lineup. The Roches do it without even breaking a sweat. It's too easy, too pat to think it's because they're family. And yet...

We had kin livin',
South of the border
They're a little older,
And they been around
They wrote in a letter
Life is a whole lot better
So pull up your stakes, children,
And come on down

Thursday, December 8, 2016

36 years later

I love the LP version of "Woman" and think it truly is one of the best and most beautiful love songs ever written. Such a perfect love letter from John to Yoko, written, tragically, just before the end. I love the lushness of the song, the fullness in his voice and instrumentation that almost hearkens back to the Wall of Sound.

But I think I love this stripped down version even more. It's still tender and lovely, only now it's raw, bare. Like these are words he doesn't just want to say but has to say.

And thankfully he was able to say them.

"So let me tell you,
again and and again and again...
I love you, now and forever."

We miss you, Beatle John.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Driven to Tears? So what.

As a fan of The Police and a Miles Davis fanatic, I found this amalgamation beyond magnificent.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Favorite Song Friday: Faithfully

I've often thought of Journey as the anti-Beatles. Not that they were against everything or anything the Fabs stood for or represented—just the opposite, in fact; even without knowing much about what the band members believe in their heart of hearts, I'm quite confident all of them grew up loving the lads. No, I think of them as the anti-Beatles because each and every member of the most popular lineup of the band (although, really, it goes for the musicians who were members before they got really popular, as well as the ones who came after their heyday) is an absolute monster on his instrument. I mean, seriously, you just don't get better, really, on a technical level, than Steve Perry, Neal Schon or Steve Smith. And yet, unlike the Beatles, none of whom were technically all that accomplished—save, perhaps Paul McCartney, on bass—Journey managed to produce nothing transcendent, and little that's really, objectively, of lasting value.

Harsh, I know. So let me temper it with this caveat: a handful of their songs remain wildly popular, and I fully admit to liking several, including "Separate Ways," despite (perhaps) its staggeringly terrible in a slow-motion-train-wreck-can't-look-away manner.

And then there's "Faithfully." Another entry in the "oh, life is so hard on the road when you're a fabulously wealthy and popular musician" category, I absolutely adore this song unreservedly and without the slightest hint of irony—no mean feat, when you consider the mustache in its accompanying video.

Now, usually on our Favorite Song Fridays, we over some sort of analysis, whether it's a close reading of the lyrics, or perhaps our ham-handed stab at delving into the chord progression in some sad pseudo-music theory attempt. Not here. I got nothin', other than to mention Smith's typically spectacular drumming, and the fact that the lyrics are straightforward, which helps them scalpel their way directly into your heart, or at least, into my heart.

One funny note, though: apparently, Prince called up "Faithfully" composer Jonathan Cain, immediately after The Purple One had recorded "Purple Rain," to see if that masterpiece was too close to the Journey song. Cain assured the lil fella that other than sharing some chords, it was not, in fact, too close. For some reason, that makes me love the song even more, as well as Prince, and who knew that was even possible?