Give the Arena Some
The first six tracks are all heavy irony shading over into murderous rage, with refurbished arena-rock to slam it home; it's perversely anti-political to lay any other interpretation on the opening "We Take Care of Our Own," which cites places "From the shotgun shack to the Superdome" where we‑-meaning the U.S.A. so many Americans weren't even born in‑-documentably haven't taken care of our own. It's protest music, damn right about moral abstractions rather than those finely limned characters good little aesthetes get gooey about, and for me a cathartic up. Second half's less of a scour, which the anti-political find a blessed relief and I find a forgivable nod to humanism and Clarence Clemons‑-
especially since the climactic "We Are Alive" is so vulgar as to assume that all America's oppressed will rise up from the grave they share. To wreak vengeance, y'think? They got a right. A MINUS
Madonna: MDNA (Interscope)
Forget the four "Deluxe" extras, not one of which except maybe the pretty little "I F***ed Up" improves on the updated '90s arena-dance power tracks of the first 43 minutes, although they top the deadly-dreamy closer "Falling Free" as well as the penultimate "Masterpiece," which begins "If you were the Mona Lisa . . . ." Granted, I could mock "Ooh la la you're my superstar/Ooh la la that's what you are" just as easily. But lyrics have never been where she showed off her gorgeous brains, and anyway, the 10-track mix I propose as an alternative goes out on a real song called "Love Spent": "Hold me like your money/Tell me that you want me/Spend your love on me/Spend your love on me." Nicki Minaj shines bright, but she's no more crucial structurally than the cheerleaders who garnish "I'm Addicted" at its close and embellish "Give Me All Your Luvin'" throughout. Play loud. She's smart and she's proud. A MINUS
Seriously comparing Madonna to Springsteen is like comparing dog food to caviar.
I really like the new Bruce a lot. He's my number one guy so I waited until I had six listens under my belt before weighing in. To these ears he takes the best parts of The Rising, Seeger Sessions, Magic and Devils and Dust and hits it out of the park. Although I like both halves just fine I have to say the first half has a little more meat.
I bought the deluxe version and the first song does nothing for me while "American Land" is great but not a whole lot different from the Seeger Sessions deluxe version.
Also appreciate Bob's guidance on the Madonna deluxe version. Sounds like the standard one will do me just fine.
Among my many experiences as a fraternity pledge, I was: forced to swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen, and rotten food products; forced to eat an omelet made of vomit; forced to chug cups of vinegar until I was afraid that I would vomit blood like one of my fellow pledges did; forced to inhale nitrous oxide; degraded psychologically on a daily basis; forced to drink beers poured down a fellow pledge’s **** crack; vomited on regularly, and encouraged to vomit on others.
As a pledge, I ceased to be a human being; instead, I became a “whale ****”. In the process, I, my fellow pledges, and all pledges since, have been trained to treat Dartmouth women with about the same respect with which we treated ourselves: none.
However, I've likewise got on board with later Madonna as a corporation that tries harder than it has to (when it isn't being flatly crass and time-filling). And she's always been a standout champion of the concept that Big Is Important in pop, and I'm with her on that.
Finally, these days she doesn't get enough credit for being one of the supreme born-to-make-videos pop performers ever. When I want to hear The Immaculate Collection (every couple years), I reach for the DVD version. And it holds up. "Like a Prayer" in particular is a thrilling tiny movie. Though it ain't great for the career arc of Ms Ciccone, a confirmation is that she never made a satisfactory transition to the big screen. Embrace the small form that is your soul mate.
So I have fancies where Madonna turns into a Whole Foods superstore. And I'm at ease with that.
*'Course, I never imagined Blondie would make an album as worthless as their recent one.
Also part deux, what does everyone think of One Direction being the first band since The Beatles (and, are also British), to get to number one with their début? I don't think they are bad, per se, but... number one material? ...Unsure.
Levy, who has had stints as the top editor at Maxim and Blender, will keep Billboard trade-focused while attempting to usher in some long form pieces.
“We don’t intend to make it any more consumer-facing than it already is,” Levy told the Post. “I hope I’ll bring more enterprise reporting and do more of the deep looks we’re capable of taking.”
And while we're on the subject of that song, I still wish it had about 4x as much Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.
Americana includes covers
According to Songwriter Magazine it includes those Jeff mentioned...
as well as the British national anthem “God Save The Queen,” because hey, it’s Neil Young, and he does whatever he wants. Call it a nod to his punk rock roots (dating back to 1889, when the song was still sung on our shores.)
Here's hoping it gets shredded in proper Crazy Horse fashion.
'Boy, do I think this MDMA advocacy/coattail-riding/whatevs is a nonissue.'
TBH, when I first read it, I thought it was a little lame. It sounded like the first thing you'd come up with. MDMA, DNA, yeah, that works--go with it! IE, a little cheesy.
Anyway, on to the music, I think it's minor (more like 50s year-end or below)--IDK how much it'll make, or where it'll place on the leader board--but I like it, and there are some nice hooks, here and there. I feel as if she's really skimped, though. Music had so much more, better melodies!
'And for the record, I've never taken the stuff in my life, though I suppose I might try it once, if my caregivers were down.'
I wouldn't expect you to! But, FTR, it's actually quite fun, if you don't have a justice system attitude towards drugs!
you'd think that universities would be eager to prevent stuff like that from happening, and that they'd be getting their asses sued left, right and center.
As a former frat member, I hated and loved certain aspects of the whole system. Nicky already delineated most of them quite well. I'll add that the "boys will be boys" attitude of our current patriarchal society seems to perpetuate this hazing problem. It's easily avoided but I also think Universities fear they may lose some alumni support ($$) if they rock the boat. If I could do it over again I wouldn't. So it goes.
RE: Cloud Nothings show tonite - the show is sold out. So, for an alternative and relatively cheap night out there is a concert by Blues Control and Laraaji at Roulette in Brooklyn (509 Atlantic Ave) at 8pm. Tickets are only $10 and they'll be performing music from their FRKWYS Vol. 8 album that came out last fall. Okay, it may not be the best substitute for Cloud Nothings, but for me it will do.
Sharpsm - Good one!
Nicky: Reminds me of some pretty deplorable behavior that occured at the fraternities at the University of Delaware. Also reminds me of some sexually provocative moments for me when I pretended to rush one of the frats just for fun.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.