Cave Olympics – Pop

cave-medal-salute-5

The Bronze:

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.

http://www.space.com/19907-astronaut-plays-peter-gabriel-for-peter-gabriel-video.html

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”.

The Silver:

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.

The Gold:

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!

Do you ever yearn?

Do you ever yearn?

Yearn: to have a strong desire for somebody or something, especially when the desire is tinged with sadness.

That is really what all these unrequited love songs are about.

Maybe it is all this rain gently washing away the January snow that has me in this yearning funk.

I don’t know… but the best way to deal with it-is to find some great songs and let them rain in on my soul.

There is something always pure about something that is unattainable-if you can’t get it then it follows that you can never diminish it. It stands there in all its glory and remains just out of reach.

Mix it with talent and music and magic happens.

These songs are all great and I am just scratching the surface.

Howard Jones. No one is to blame

Bonnie Raitt I can’t make you love me

Cake. The Distance

James Blunt.You’re Beautiful

And for George and his constant craving:

What I found in 2013- What I hated in 2013

English: Arcade Fire at the Eurockéennes of 20...
English: Arcade Fire at the Eurockéennes of 2007. Français : Le groupe Arcade Fire aux Eurockéennes de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 KeysThey 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 1
Robin-Thicke 1 (Photo credit: jazzuality.com)

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 FameI 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)

The Xx… my new favorite band

The Xx… my new favorite band

They may not be brand new but they are new to me. I hear atmospheric indie pop that is ice cold. I hear The Cure on the way to another galaxy running through the endless void of outer space. I feel like I am walking over the immensity of solid sea ice in constant dark winter as the northern lights dance over my head….

But that might be just me.

That is the great thing about having a music blog and pushing yourself ever so slightly to jump into some strange waters. Once you get over that first shock –you often find that the water is kind of nice and before you know it, you are having a nice refreshing swim.

This blog post is all about not being that guy who thinks the best music has already been done.

That guy who says music today is all crap.

Just slow down –get over yourself—–and listen——-really listen.

Joe Jackson.It’s Different for Girls

Joe Jackson (the one with shoes)

Joe Jackson, El Macombo, Toronto, May 21, 1979
Joe Jackson, El Macombo, Toronto, May 21, 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is for one of the great lost technicians to ever craft wonderful beat and melody. He arrived on that great flood of new wave/pop-punk that washed a ton of debris on shore starting in 1979. He was one of the few precious gems left after that great flood receded. This post finds him still alive and well and living in Germany.

Find him here: http://joejackson.com/

He not only creates great songs- the dude can sing- the dude can put on a show-grabbing the moment in his fists and squeezing everything out of it. He is a professional-I only saw him once in concert and he did not disappoint.

Am I going a little crazy waxing poetically about a little blip on the screen of pop music?

Maybe- but I hope you did not miss it at the time it happened. I am focusing on that great output of creativity in three short years from 1979 Look Sharp to 1982 Night and Day – 5 solid recordings – I admit that I left him at the scene of Mike’s Murder in 1983—it was over for this fair weather fan but the man kept rolling on through life and all the storms and kept making great music. You have to respect a true professional. And I am tracking him down again. Now that we are both adults (or at least should be by now).

Nanook.Ingerlaliinnaleqaagut Music is the universal language!

Nanook.Ingerlaliinnaleqaagut

I was looking through all the countries that have visited the cave on my WordPress stat thingy and noticed this big area of Greenland with no hits at all…. So I figured I would take a visit myself and found these guys

This sound is both enchanting and comforting. It is like The Lumineers with some special ethereal Artic-ness added in. But I don’t want to call this band a knock-off of anything else because they are unique.  They just seem to fit into this Nuevo folk music revival going on all over the world. I have no idea what they are saying but I know they sing truth because I can feel it. This dude takes regular notes and gently lifts his voice to a higher range flying to the heavens to produce a delightful resolution. This is pure magic. Maybe part of it is the language? I know French and Italian are called romantic but this language of Greenland is made for acoustic guitars and a gentle folk beat.

For more info on this band go to their website   http://www.nanook.gl/bio.html

And give this a listen!