A Textual Journey with Maxwell Von Bismarck
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Singles analysis is to come! For now, I wonder about the Jesus and Mary Chain. Do people really like to rock out to these guys? I have to admit that they're early ballads are stunningly gorgeous. The likes of "Just Like Honey", "Cut Dead", "The Hardest Walk" are unmatched, especially in 1985 (consensus emerging as Worst Year Ever?). But what is the appeal of all the rockers? Their noise basically consists of a small band of high frequencies, that don't really move the body but do cut through the ears. It's difficult to play them loud without it being painful. A few tracks like that are needed to make the fuzzballads stand out, but there are too many, on Psychocandy
Friday, August 22, 2003
I know I may have promised a bunch of different upcoming entries that I haven't delivered upon, but the reason is that they basically all, you know, suck. However, I was inspired by this thread:
I've since decided to embark on a journey through the greatest single runs in pop history. Definitely look forward to in-depth entries.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
My mood has been ranging from melancholy to anxious lately, and I thought it might be fun to listen to the NME's list of most depressing albums of all time, in order. I didn't make it very far, as some of the albums (Mogwai's, for example) didn't hold my attention at all. In spite of this, I found it to be quite a complete list. The only obvious exception for me is Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left, which is so melancholy I cannot listen to it. I stand by this as the most melancholy album ever made. I know it's true, because I have an especially happy memory associated with this album. I was listening to it one of the first nights of my sophomore year of college with some of my dormmates, who I had just met for the first time. The people in that room turned out to be the best friends I made at school. And I still can't listen to it. I was clearly not made to enjoy this album.
Monday, August 18, 2003
Hmmm. Apparently when I call Sam Phillips the first studio wizard, I'm ignoring Rudy Van Gelder. Well, that makes sense. Nothing is as simple as it seems, especially famous firsts. Any time you think something is the definitive first, there's probably a little something something behind it, egging it on. When I say Thomas Edison is the greatest, most important American who ever lived, it's an obvious oversimplification, and I always get the feeling there's someone more important who's only more obscure, who we pass over. There's probably someone underneath that him or her, too. Nevertheless, I choose to ignore Rudy Van Gelder, because I don't like jazz. I'm also not going to deny or qualify that Thomas Edison is the greatest and most important figure in American history.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Some things about America are good. Some are not so good. One of the very good things about America is Sam Phillips. More than anyone else, this guy invented rock n' roll. If you ask me to tell you the first rock n' roll record, chances are I'll tell you either "That's All Right Mama" or "Rocket 88." Well, this guy produced them both. He's also the starting point for any discussion I have about studio wizardry. Thomas Edison invented recording, and Les Paul may have invented the recording studio, but Sam Phillips was the first genius-producer. Not only that, but he wasn't even an asshole! Joe Meek made "Telstar" England's first #1 single on the US charts only by drowning out the band with layers of keyboard and sound effects, without their knowledge, after they had left. And Phil Spector, well we all know enough about him. It's a tragedy, though a predictable one, that he dies almost without mention compared to Bob Hope, who is infinitely his lesser. Hell, Bob Hope was the obvious lesser of Spike Milligan, who died in 2002 to little fanfare.
In a hundred years, live music will be a quaint rarity, and recorded music will be the overwhelmingly dominant listening experience, similar to the way books and storytelling are today. We won't be around to listen to it, but we can hear the way the story begins.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Okay. I've heard some of the Dizzee Rascal album, and...
That's it. It's good. It doesn't blow me away. It doesn't speak to me. It doesn't shake me to the core. And I know that it's going to be the #1 album of the year on everybody's list. Even Pitchfork likes it! I feel so left out. I love the Streets, but Dizzee doesn't seem to be speaking to me at the moment. What do I have to do to be affected by the album?
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
This country may have been been the victim of a radical coup d'etat that shows no signs of ending, but we are at least afforded the pleasure of seeing a fucktard like Antonin Scalia combust his little head in a spat of ignorant outrage. Now that we're all reveling in our newly legalized sodomy, it's time to go after the next target: teen sex. We've been told for years that teen sex is bad. Sexual activity at a young age, even if done safely, can cause irreparable emotional damage. When I was 13 or 14 I didn't understand it, but I assumed it would become clear when I got older. It didn't. I'm not saying that 12 year olds should start having sex, but I think we need to question an established belief that isn't exactly supported by hard data, or even by anecdotal evidence, for that matter. While we're at it, it's time to make a seriously critical evaluation of abstinence-based sex education, and if it can be supported in any logical way, then it should be easy to sneak into the lesson plan the health benefits of masturbation.