Saturday, February 4, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Ever get the feeling you're being cheated? The thing is, I'm not backlashing against her. I thought her music was overly mannered drivel from a half wit. However, that's par for the course. Supposedly, she is some overly packaged little twit who performed badly on Saturday Night Live. Now, kids, it's been years and years since SNL was even remotely cutting edge, so what's the big deal? But, then, I start hearing over and over and over and over like a sample on an MC Hammer track about how there's some massive hipster backlash against her for that performance. Really now? You expect me to buy it? I know a campaign when I see one. But, let's just say that you're not as cynical and bitter as me. If that's the case you may need a slight primer. See, you've got a sub-standard fake-alt singer. How do you generate buzz? Why do it just one way? Why not pump her up and get her over exposed, then, invent the backlash against her overexposure, and make it seem like the kind of tragically hip poseur that everyone hates, hates her. Et voila, her very sold-out fakeness become a selling point for her authenticity. Think that's paranoid? Well, ask Liz Phair. Ask Maria Mckee. Ask Fiona Apple. Ask Tanya Donnelly. Get the picture? This is an old marketing ploy, just sped up and put on Twitter.
I'm fairly depressed, about now. I'm prone to depressions, and I no longer take them so very seriously. There's an underlying understanding that the world isn't right, and that I'm not right, and that sometimes these things misalign, so I've just got to wait until things align a little better. I'm basically a positive dude, with a real will of steel, so I know that it's just the price I pay to live. This means I'm in a perfect place for the music coming out, now. I've not yet purchased the stuff coming out on the 7th, but I will. Today, I've got Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas. It's perfect for my discontent. The pace is fairly languid, the instrumentation sparse, and Leonard is actually in fine voice, here- he doesn't really so much "sing" as descant, incant and chant his way through his songs, which is exactly what they require. If he sang them, it'd be schmaltzy, like an unnecessary decoration. I think of his voice like a narrow black tie. It goes with most suits, but when paired with the simplicity of a black 2 button suit with a white oxford, and a black straw fedora, it is complete, and perfect in a way that either a big colourful cravat or a bow tie or some such would not be. So he simply pours drams of his life, soul and weary heart on to his authentic little tunes, and that serves as his voice- as if you could ask for more.
So, could you enjoy this? Well, unlike , say, some Goth Princess, Leonard's wounds aren't self-inflicted, but are all his fault. He's sitting on the lawn of the local cemetery, pouring himself a light drink, not because he wants to be there- but because he's got friends there, and he can't drink at the funeral. So, it helps if you've been there, too. This isn't music for wallowing in it, or for putting up some romantic front- this is the music of those who survive, whatever it is that that means, and are glad to have survived, but sad at the reason why it's called survival.
I'm not trying to make you interested. You don't have to earn the right to listen to Leonard Cohen, but if you are interested, and if you feel like he's earned the right to sing the blues, then, yes, I believe there are great rewards to be found here.
Leonard speaks the things I cannot, and sees the things I'm blinded by, while being kind enough to let me catch little glimpses. He allows me access to wisdom I haven't earned. He's been doing that for years. This isn't any different. My favorites are the one-two combination of "Darkness" and "Anyhow", but the end caps are the likely hits- Going Home and Different Sides are likely to show up on hipster playlists for the next few years. It's all amazingly perfect for me, though.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Don Cornelius. My son's middle name is partially derived from the man. Absolutely depressing. I hope there's another world for Don. I suspect that there isn't, and he knew there was nothing in store for him but pain, so I respect his decision, but it still really makes me sad.