Tuesday, November 30, 2004

If you're able, do make sure you get a chance to hear "There She Goes, My Beautiful World" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at some point in your life. This song is a mountain of awesomeness. It's pretty much not worth trying to articulate, but this thing pogos in a way that other songs loaded with so many literary and historical references never, ever do.

Scroll down for the lyrics, not that it's an adequate substitute for hearing the damn thing.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

In a vaguely unprecedented move, there have been two Under the Rocks in the City Paper this month. Here is the second one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I have revised my top 20 albums thusly.

The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, The Kinks (1968)
Summerteeth, Wilco (1999)
Good Old Boys, Randy Newman (1974)
A Different Class, Pulp (1995)
Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan (1975)
Abbey Road, The Beatles (1969)
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis (1959)
Together Alone, Crowded House (1993)
Pleased to Meet Me, The Replacements (1987)
Featuring “Birds,” Quasi (1997)
Wild Gift, X (1981)
Skylarking, XTC (1986)
Low, David Bowie (1977)
The Execution of All Things, Rilo Kiley (2002)
Music From Big Pink, The Band (1968)
Spilt Milk, Jellyfish (1993)
Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick (1977)
I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Richard and Linda Thompson (1974)
Imperial Bedroom, Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1982)
Radio City, Big Star (1974)

Again, it's in no real order after the first four.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Scroll down a bit on this link for my review of the first volume of Bob Dylan's memoirs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Perfect Pop

(I've decided to write an essay about a perfect pop song every few weeks or so. Just for fun.)

1. Pulp, "Lipgloss" (1994)
There are many reasons why Pulp's Jarvis Cocker is the Morrissey/Ray Davies of his day. Perhaps one of the less heralded ones is empathy. While all three songwriters are capable of oft-brutal, razor-sharp wit, there is a great deal of sad-eyed, poignant recognition in their thumbnail sketches of social misfits.
On this track, Cocker details the wrecked life of a woman recently spurned by her lover. No "hell hath no fury" here; more like, "No wonder you're looking thin/When all that you live on is lipgloss and cigarettes." Nevertheless, when Cocker reaches the line "And it rains everyday/And when it doesn't/The sun makes you feel worse anyway" you know he knows exactly what the woman is going through.
Musically, "Lipgloss" strikes the same anomaly as so many other Pulp songs, seemingly bright and, no pun, glossy, but utterly evocative of British working-class malaise all the same. Their songs are filled with shimmering synths, bold guitars and big choruses, yet most of the time manage to bring to mind one of the quieter scenes from Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies.
By the chorus, it all comes together -- the ruined love affair, the brisk melancholy of the music: "He changed his mind last Monday/So you've got to leave by Sunday, yeah/You've got your lipgloss, honey/Oh yeah/Now nothing you do can turn him on/There's something wrong/You had it once, but now it's gone."

More about "Lipgloss."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The latest column is up.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Now what?