Space Cowboy 5-play

wayne-spaceman

After I visited Geoff @ https://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/odyssey-to-2001-top-5-space-tunes/ and briefly chastised him for leaving out Flock of Seagulls with his post —-I thought: “Hey, I got a blog, why not riff off what my Canadian friend is doing and write my own post?”—-and then I saw https://gigisrantsandraves.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/supernova-and-an-unexpected-universefrom-astronomy-picture-of-the-daybeautiful/  over @ Rethinking Life with a cool galaxy pic and thought: “Hey, why not put yourself in space and go for it? – you blogging fool you!”

So here we go!  Space 5-play

  1. Flock of Seagulls –Space Age Love Song

This one sounds spacey more that is spacey – like if I was flying between galaxies test driving a new star cruiser – I would crank this up and drink some tang.

  1. After the Gold Rush – Neil Young —sung by Dolly Pardon and friends.

The abstract imagery of Neil Young’s song writing allows for many interpretations – The core of the sci-fi genre is us getting off this earth and into the stars – sometimes with aliens helping us. Yeah,…mostly they are trying to make us extinct, but sometimes, as in this song, they are our friends.

  1. Space Boogie – Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck always gets forgotten – too jazzy to be rock – too rock to be jazzy. Fusion? Is that what they used to call it? You are not forgotten on the cave my friend. (Using friend for dramatic effect-I have never met the man or seen the man in concert – but he seems like he would be ok and drink a sensible mid-range beer like a Sam Adams or Newcastle Brown Ale).

  1. Rocket Man – Sir Elton John – hit by William Shatner with phaser not set to stun.

Does not matter how much it has been played – as a serious chronicler of popular music I am contractually obligated to include it. It is a great song (even after this fiasco) – which makes the task not difficult

  1. Space Oddity – David Bowie

David Bowie is a space cadet with no equal and this was written at the birth of the space age. We saw the brilliance and he saw the isolation. He was/is ahead of his time.

I challenge all the other bloggers out there to do a space themed blog!

This could be the start of something good.

And as always.

Cheers from the cave!

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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!

Dude looks like a Lady? Not on this list of best 5 Androgyny Rock Interpretations.

Cover of "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Star...
Cover of The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust

I went for substance over glitter for these classics. The gender lines get blurred and the yin yang smudges together for some of the best music produced in the rock era.  The glitter and high heels kicking you in the face is the proverbial tip of the iceberg when having a bit of free swim time in this part of the pool. The first couple I added were such strong works that I challenged myself to keep them all of the same quality. This date night went in a different direction than it started, kind of like my number 1 pick for this category.

#5

Your Song-Elton John

“What are you doing Mr. Cave guy, this is just a sweet innocent love song by Elton John?” And you are right. Elton John and Bernie Taupin were just sweet innocent kids when they wrote this.  The striking part – it is so innocent that it has no male and female parts at all. Like a toy doll with no bits that are going to make the kids ask questions. It has all the sexuality completely sanitized. A man could be singing about a woman- a woman could be singing about a man- it works with a man singing about a man and woman about a woman. It works with any combo deal on the menu.

#4

Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is one of the great records of rock music and David Bowie became an androgynous alien alter ego for the ages. Maybe some obscure bands were dressing like chicks before he did…but he smashed the doors wide open to let all the cows and horses out of the barn to go play in the fields and roll in the mud. He took it from

a “strange” thing and turned it into an “edgy” thing. The song itself really does not reference any gender blurring but it is impossible to separate the song from the act. You get the package deal with David Bowie.

#3

Me and Bobby McGee- Janis Joplin

Kris Kristofferson wrote this song originally about a woman and in the Janis Joplin version it changed to a man. Even the name Bobby can fit both sexes so it was not a big deal to make a switch. That makes something written from the male perspective get transformed into something from a female perspective. It gives it a weird toughness that Janis Joplin was made to sing.

#2

Angel from Montgomery-Bonnie Raitt

To write this song John Prine imagined himself as a middle aged woman doing dishes and gazing upon the ashes of a burnt-out life. Like an artist that freezes a scene in a painting; he gets all the colors and lines in correct coordination and perfection. I don’t care if you are a woman or a man- this song is powerful. As a man you feel bad about this woman and you should hate the man that drove her down this highway and hope you ain’t him…you should be affected by the emotion if you have anything at all in your soul that feels emotion. This song has a way of making people cry like Ray Lewis in a post game speech after a football game.

#1

Lola- The Kinks

“Well, I’m not dumb but I can’t understand Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man”

How in good conscious as a fan of Rock Music do you not make this the Number one song in this category?  And just like the naïve soul in this piece of music-How long did it take you to listen to the words and have that “Sixth sense” movie moment…Oh…man…he is a ghost!…I mean..Oh man, he is a transvestite! And how as a regular guy trying to write a music blog do I take so long to get to a song by Ray Davies…the quintessential everyman and icon of popular music…plus he seems  like just one hell of a nice guy.

5 Best River songs

River Danube
River Danube (Photo credit: Istvan)

I thought about this and I asked about this before writing. River songs are more personal than most; opinions are all over the place. The original idea was to write the 5 best and 5 worst but I am tossing that “worst” idea off the bridge. People were so heartfelt and responsive that I can’t risk putting one of their songs on a bad list and crushing it. River songs are often deep and intense and I have too much respect for all involved in this process.

Almost made the cut:

Blackwater- The Doobie Brothers… The River- Bruce Springsteen… …Burn On, Big River-Randy Newman

Here we go on a little trip:

5. The Sea Refuses no RiverPete Townshend

“The sea refuses no river and the river is where I am” -I have been critical of all the old rockers shaking it around for these geriatric tours – I feel like if you missed them in their prime , then you missed them, because wheeling them out now for a “re-heat” show is something else. The Who have fallen into this trap and I was never a big Pete Townshend fan to begin with….but….but …this is a great song. It speaks to the equality and inevitability of all of us in a stark and poetic way.

Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front o...
Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front of his amps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Eminem- Stan (with Elton John)

For this list I am utilizing the services of Sir Elton John as a knighted Rock Star to justify bringing a hip-hop artist to the cave. Dido also heavily involved as her song and vocals were used in the studio version. A difficult song that deals with a difficult subject. It is edgy, powerful and surprising (remember when rock music used to be that?)

3. Washing of the Water-Peter Gabriel

This song kills me every time I have seen Peter Gabriel. The intensity that emanates from this simple tune is profound and at another level. It may not be manly to admit that a piece of music can completely overwhelm and turn a not tough dude into complete mush, so I won’t.

2. Take me to the River- The Talking Heads

Oh, the joy and celebration of being artsy was never as much fun as with this hypnotic and cool bunch. If you never saw David Byrne dancing around in his big suit followed by a stint of running around and around the whole stage like a raving lunatic-then you missed some of the best that the 80’s had to offer. What a trip these guys and girls brought you on.

1.When the Levee Breaks- Led Zeppelin

A song from Zeppelin 4 that is a remake of a 1927 blues song about a flood can almost make this list before I even hear it. But I have to hear it again and again and it still sounds great. The Drum track may be the best to ever grace any rock song…and unlike other tunes from this seminal  chunk of vinyl -it has not been overplayed and otherwise abused.

And a big thank-you to Blackjayne for asking this question and making me generate this post! We are all connected in the blogosphere.