Sometimes you have to let go of trying to figure out how the train got off the tracks – the work of putting it back on is just too important.
When something difficult comes your way, you must resist the temptation to surmise you were born under a bad sign – or born a loser or something else.
Things happen – that’s all they ever do.
In the hospital waiting room – my 13 year old says “Hey Dad, I got a question for you.”
“OK, – go ahead”
[I have no idea what is on the way]
……… “I have never asked you this before but I need to know”
[Am I ready for this? – where are we going?]
“If you could have one superpower what would it be?”
[Did not see this coming]
I have time to think —- Flying is not an option because I am not crazy about heights and it gets really cold as you gain elevation—–those little leotards and a cape are not very insulating – flying is out.
Invisibility? You know – most of my life, I have felt invisible – I already had this power and it is way overrated — so no on this one.
The power to time travel! – now we are on to something – I would go back and tell 7 year old me that everything is going to be ok, there will be some difficult days but it is going to be alright, you will be fine.
And I would have older me come back and visit both of us right here and tell us it will be good – that we will move and grow and live with purpose and conviction because of the things that happen today.
Any parent with a teenager knows that you will sometimes hear strange sounds coming from their room, and unlike what all the TV programs and magazines say about parenting —We do not want to know what is going on!
So when I heard THIS — This tin pan alley type music blaring one day from behind the mysterious-door-of-quickly-dissolving-childhood – I broke my “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and yelled through the door.
“Son, what the hell are you listening to?”
“Dad – This is Pokey LaFarge”
It’s old and it’s new – it’s really old and really new – even the name is too quirky to be quirky.
Is quirky the new cool?
What can I say – the boy has great taste in music.
If you go to the band site there is a free download of his new song – Something in the Water—although the file does sneak into your system like a virus – so good luck finding it after you play it.
Disclaimer: I am not a Buddhist, I am a Christian – but like the cowboy that stumbles into the hipster bar by mistake and takes a drink or two — I did tarry some in this establishment.
And these are great songs:
Radiohead – Karma Police
Crystalized and purified arty dark angst in small easy-to-open packages.
John Lennon – Instant Karma
My first introduction to this concept- as I understand it: the cosmic something is keeping track of all your transgressions and making sure you answer for each one how it sees fit (again, I just hung out in this bar for a little while, so I am fuzzy on the details).
Sooooo – stop doing stupid sh*t! And trust in love.
And what is so funny about peace love and understanding?
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
Guilty pleasure or am I a closet Boy George fan?! Yes and Yes. The dude can sing – Yeah,… he had this “androgyny on crack” and really big need of narcotics. BUT – the dude can sing – the songs are smooth and well crafted. This is great pop music.
When I first heard “Take me to Church” – I completely lost it – “What is this crap spewing forth from my new favorite radio station?”
And it kept spewing:
It made the song of the day
It made the song of the week
It made the friggin’ song of the year
Hozier is the anointed saint of music for 2014 and I hate this song!!!!
A hymn about sex – and it is not subtle
Not even a little bit
It blends two things that don’t blend well in a clunky and brutal manner – like say — one of those weird Japanese desert flavors.
Grab two scoops of == Whale Shark Ice Cream ==
I love Whale Sharks – soothingly beautiful giants gently coasting in pristine blue tropical waters —- and who doesn’t like ice cream?
But together? – I get a reaction like I get from this song. It is a queasiness in my spirit.
And this fish is not even cooked – just chopped up and mixed in.
Yuck! Stop it!
I hate this song and all it stands for.
And now for something completely different:
Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene – Hozier
This is soulful and rich. It has nodes of gospel and blues. It is intense – this dude is from Memphis, right?
No—-Ireland? —- And it is that same guy who perpetrated the gratuitous crime of a song detailed at the start of this post?
Color me with a big ol’ paintbrush of converted to this beat.
This is a great song.
Yes, it mixes genres up – but the blend is tasty this time around.
This is ===Raspberry Swirled Vanilla with a Chocolate drizzle === [or whatever epic flavor you want to add].
Bitter raspberry on cool vanilla with quality rich cocoa – does not get better than this.
Cheers from the Cave!
Notes on the title for this post:
Wondier is “Wonder” with that Hozier “i” added. (I know, hilarious wordplay)
Wankier is “Wanker” with that Hozier “i” added. For further explanation of the word “Wanker” – I suggest you move to England or simply watch “Spinal Tap” —in fact, everyone should watch Spinal tap at least once every 5 years to remind themselves of the beauty and tragedy with humor in all of rock music.
Roxy music can be enjoyed by discerning heterosexuals all over the world.
It also has a few tags associated with it like Proto Punk? … Really?, Is this art history with you music critics? And sort of gay? – Which is what I will try and write about next-
I think it means if you play “Avalon” at 3 in the afternoon in a random gay bar somewhere in the world- they are not going to throw beer bottles at you.
As a proud straight man that likes women and loves one woman very much, I feel the need to write what nobody else will write. I have loved art and loved great music my entire life-and I have been suspected of being gay because of that for my entire life. This may be just my baby boomer generation that likes to pigeon hole everyone based on the few attributes that they see on the surface. I pray and hope that kids now can let other kids just follow their passions without making general assertions.
Like the stranger that rolls into town in an old west movie who everyone assumes is a gunfighter and wants to give him a try. “I am not pulling out my six shooter to go one on one with other dude —-I am not that cowboy!”
This is going to sound bad and it is going to sound a tad homophobic of me and I want to dispel that. I don’t have a problem with people loving who they want to love. I admit not understanding it completely, but that does not mean that I automatically hate and fear it. When we fear another group and give them a name to remove any connection to us as humans –bad things always happen. Bad things are happening.
It may be a good thing that I only have 10 nor 12 regular readers at the moment.
Music should always bring us together and not separate us-
Roxy music gets forgotten among the great bands of all time. Brian Eno and Brian Ferry have both achieved much success on their own. They are a pop band with clean sophistication. They don’t break up when they go on hiatus-they simply choose to arrange other things in their lives and then rejoin when it is agreeable for them to do so. They don’t try to put out re-heated weak new music, their catalog is good and Avalon is a good place to stop.
From an artistic point of view-this is also one killer album cover
This one is an old favorite:
I will end this post with a song that went the other way and ended up in the pop world.
There is cross-pollination among music all the time and that is a good thing.
I do not like this band -if they never visit Cleveland to claim their place in Rock n’ Roll history; that is fine with me!
I was O.K. with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not allowing them in….
I know the names:
Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss
We all know those names and those are the names that the Hall of Fame accepted for induction.
There are a legion of fans still enlisted in the Kiss Army. They made enough records that you could cover an entire ocean and not let the fishes get any light…They are a raging success and deserve to be in no matter what us “serious” rock music fans think.
I mean, was the Ramones hit with Rock and Roll High School really any deeper than Rock and Roll all Nite?… Oh yeah-they were cool but Kiss was all flash.
They were really good flash-with smoke and make up and all the other stuff that made the kids go crazy.
Even the grown up kids. Even now.
But Kiss can’t get it together for the original four to play a couple songs for fans that have made them gods- Fans that have paid the mortgages on mansions and the insurance on fancy sports cars for years and years.
It is one night and a couple tunes- that will allow you guys to take this little carnival of fantasy on the road and laugh all the way to the bank for the rest of your days. It will allow 4 or 5 generations of your heirs to live like kings if they have any sense at all and not waste this wealth that your followers have bestowed on you.
But no—-Wha, wha wha…Gene Simmons wants everybody that ever pretended to be Ace Frehley and Peter Criss to play and be inducted because they are just as much of the Kiss experience.
And it seems that 3 or 4 fake Aces are too many Aces in the deck for the original Ace.
Could you please just give the fans what they want one more time?
A truly great pop song will weave itself into the fabric of society.
Sir Elton John.Rocket Man
Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote some great pop songs-this is my favorite. Their collaboration represents a high-water mark for Top 40 radio and raised all boats to a new level of quality.
This man was not knighted because of Knomio and Juliet or that Circle of Life thing in Lion King.
Not only do we have a fantastic song by Captain Fantastic-We also have this sequel to Bowie’s Space Oddity and a Ray Bradbury Sci-Fi vibe going on. It was like realizing that the space age is not something that should freak us out anymore-this is where we live now.
He brought the whole thing down to earth so that we could all go on the trip and get back home safely.
The best art always takes you on a journey and lets you return to solid ground.
It makes me think of this video which is worth a look because it brings this thing full circle.
Like the song says-Being a rock star or an astronaut is a job- getting up and putting on the flashy suit to punch the clock and do the best you can for the day. You do not always have to like it and you don’t always have to be completely swept up in the emotion of the experience us mere mortals take as living like a god. In fact, if you approach it the right way- you just might stay on top and have people care for a “long , long time”.
Lady GaGa.Bad Romance
“I’m a free bitch, baby”
This line makes me laugh when I hear it yelled in the background-it also evokes strength and power when it returns later in the song as a cold statement of fact.
I love Lady Gaga- She always knocks over the big milk cans of society and does not care who gets splashed. She is bigger than life; riding a wave of controversy with flair and artistry. She just goes for it every single time.
She has been accused of being everything bad in this world-she has even been labeled as being a man?
This man thing kind of confuses me- It is a weird kind of redneck feminist fear about her being too powerful to be a woman. That same fear would turn into a life-threatening blood rush of excitement if she posed in one of her costumes with a bow and stood over the carcass of a fresh killed 8 point buck.
We live in strange times and she is our hero.
I am not a little monster but we created this phenomenon known as Lady Gaga.
And she says more about us than we do about her.
Micheal Jackson.Billie Jean
“Billie Jean is not my lover, she’s just the girl who claims that I am the one”
A good ol’paternity lawsuit will give you a little street cred, especially when you are trying to break through and become the “King of Pop”.
Or a song about it is close enough to send Michael Jackson into the stratosphere of musical stardom; he would not find his way back to earth.
Bob Dylan once said that everyone had a copy of the “Thriller” album. The record was a big deal-it broke the color barrier on MTV….who would have guessed that MTV would break the stupid barrier a few years after this and never look back?
This was 1982 when MTV and vinyl records still ruled the earth…I know…it does seem possible, almost as relevant as dinosaurs to a generation today-but it did happen.
Just like with Lady Gaga- Michael Jackson gives us all these weird dichotomies- Woman or man “He is trying to look like Elizabeth Taylor” Black or White “He is getting skin lightning treatments”- Kid or Adult…I don’t know where to start with this one.
And that is just a hint of the circus that followed “His One-Glovedness” around.
This song is as good as pop music gets and we have a moon walk on top of the podium.
Next –we take on Progressive—and as always-Cheers from the cave!
I am not good enough to hear a band and immediately place them in context of music relevance for the year. It takes a while for things to seep down into the cerebral cortex and percolate themselves out.
I will say…, however -This blog has helped me figure things out a little faster- I am more engaged than I used to be.
Here is what happened to me in 2013 as an “out of touch” rock music fan.
I’ll do 5 that caught me and 5 I hated
What I liked:
The Xx– Not a new band, but new to me as I caught the fever- Atmospheric elegant sound. Like getting lost in a really trendy fog and having someone hand you a fantastic drink that quenches the thirst and tickles the soul.
The Black Keys– They went from a band I heard of and thought they were O.K to possibly the most solid rock band of this century- I never hear a bad song from these guys and after repeated listens of their standard hits-they just gain traction.
Arcade Fire-Afterlife– I know-This is arty French hipster self-important pompous drivel—– I know that they stand opposed to everything I love about gritty down to earth rock music. But I love this song- I love it so much that I might be tempted to find a nice puffy shirt and neon pair of kicks to try and comply with their dress code and catch them at a concert this summer. I love it so much that I will try one more time to make it through the whole Reflektor album on Spotify.
Spotify-Yes, I am very late to this party. I am surprised at the amount of music available for nothing on this service. It’s like stealing as it is so much quality for nothing. (kind of like the Cave of Fame blog!)
Wrecking Ball-Miley Cyrus–((((Guilty pleasure alert))))) I hated this song the first time I heard it—-I now secretly love it if my kids turn it up. I thought it was stupid that she was naked on a wrecking ball- I now understand that if you are going to be naked on a wrecking ball—-do it while you are still young! And it plays more like nudity in renaissance art to me now. (I think this Arcade Fire thing has messed up my brain)
But seriously –if Helen Mirron got on a wrecking ball with nothing but her fantastic acting skill and did a photo shoot for Vanity Fair—-all the critics would talk about what a brave and edgy cool-chick she really is—-and would trip over all the compliments that they would throw at her unbridled toes.
What I hated:
Robin Thicke- That blurred lines garbage is still a ripe smell in the air as we hit 2014. Also, don’t forget that he played a major role in the big twerk-off of 2013- Without him providing the “hammer” to Miley’s “nail”—-The whole thing might not have got so insane. I dislike him so much that I was tempted to browse through “Revelations” and check the attributes of the Antichrist….you know….just to rule him out in my mind because I do have some doubts.
Kiss going in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame– I guess they were going to break down the wall at some point to get in. It was only a matter of time before this Cleveland institution that usually gets it right caved in under the force of those boots and rabid fans.
Nostalgia “bait and switch” – Take a band like say “Bon Jovi” with only one original member like say “John Bon Jovi” and sell it like the whole band will be there. Or the R.E.O Speedwagon-Terrible Ted Nugent and Styx –“Mayhem of the Mid-west” tour or whatever it was called. At least Ted Nugent was a standalone product –so that was good. These old bands that dwindle down to one or two and fight over the name to see who has the rights to a half-hearted performance of bygone hits is a bit much. You might as well go see a good cover band.
Losing Lou Reed- This was really sad because even though he was old and not in great shape- I kind of thought he would last forever.
Rush seems to be gaining power and respect. This bugs me because I may have to go back and change my post about being a Rush hater. I am now changing my position from a Rush hater to a Rush “whateverer”. I still reserve the right to dislike music fans that take it as a solid fact that dislike of Rush means no real taste in rock music. (I think my wrecking ball admission is a worse transgression)