Girlpop's Greatest Hitters
Lady Gaga: Born This Way (Streamline/Interscope/KonLive)
First of all, avoid the "Special Edition." Of the three extra songs, only "The Queen" would be a decent B side, and the remixes are as unnecessary as usual. Even at normal length, moreover, this isn't up to The Fame or The Fame Monster. But both of those keep growing, and with its mad momentum and nutty thematics, this one could too--despite being laid down on tour trailed by 28 semis. Ever the non-Catholic, I let "Judas" and "Bloody Mary" slide while going all googly-eared for the hilarious "Hair," where the nimbus of every woman's vanity becomes the cutting edge of every woman's freedom, and "Americano," a marriage proposal to a Chicana in a flowered skirt that's as sincere and unreliable as The Fame Monster's "Alejandro," where the title inamorato keeps morphing into Fernando and Roberto. This lags seriously only on the one with unicorns in it, a no-no not even Gaga can safely defy, and a big closer that just doesn't take the whole effort over the top where it belongs. The country song in particular is a hoot, which reminds me that the title track wasn't inspired solely by "Express Yourself." Close your eyes on the refrain and you can almost hear Carl Perkins lining out "You've got the right string baby but the wrong yo-yo." A MINUS
Pink: Greatest Hits . . . So Far!!! (LaFace/Jive)
Nine of these 16 tracks are from albums with their own strong identities, including four from the 2001 policy statement Misundaztood, the rest of which holds up fine even without them. Normally, that would be too many. But the same four songs transfer nicely from that concept album to a best-of that salvages the pugnacious "So What," links "Trouble" to "Glitter in the Air," and adds two top-shelf Max Martin blends. It's where I will go for a shot of the longterm hitmaker rather than the 21-year-old who's finding herself in public. A MINUS
WHAT IS WRONG WITH WINDOWS LIVE? ITS REFUSING TO ACCEPT MY POST! 'SPAM! SPAM!' it reads. So frustrated!btw it was on 'Born this Way'
Re: Lady Caca: "... the nimbus of every woman's vanity becomes the cutting edge of every woman's freedom ..." Isn't it about time rock critics stops sucking up to these loud, obnoxious, narcissistic divas?
Oh, wait, narcissism IS now mainstream culture .....
And why didn't Rhino/Atlantic ever remaster Willie Nelson's Phases and Stages with great Rhino sound and new liner notes?They did -- for The Complete Atlantic Sessions in 2006. Includes new notes by Jerry Wexler, James Austin and Bill Bentley. Also includes the long-unreleased Live at the Texas Opry House and 21 previously unreleased tracks, too many of which are alternates or outtakes you'll listen to a couple times and then skip. Sound is good, though. And it gets the job done. Don't need any other Atlantic Willie.
Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador 2011)
Drumless, the aging hippie strums himself into the ether. Beautiful stuff featuring great audio verite production by Beck.
Willie Nelson: The Essential Willie Nelson (RCA 1995)
20 tracks selected by Colin Escott from Willie's 1965-1971 RCA period. Xgau nailed this one when he said the songs were classic but diminished by the hack Nashville arrangements, and yet he recommended it, albiet admitting that Rhino's 1959-1971 comp was superior. I think this collection is worse than that. The few RCA tracks included on the Rhino (or even on the recent Nelson box One Hell of a Ride) don't intrude, but I can't get through this comp of 20 good songs ruined by the production. Practically every song here was done better by Willie elsewhere. This one just ain't an A-list record in my book. I'll stick with the Rhino.
A bit late in the conversation, but did anyone mention Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City?
"Jazz 101, a basic book about jazz, but not a book for idiots or dummies. Jazz made simple, but not for simpletons."
Although Goodman was by far the largest producer of those records, others got in the act, too..."Convention '72" by the Delegates was a sizable hit, and you can find it on YouTube.
Wasn't that surprised to discover upon listening to some of those records as an adult that the majority of them have a laugh success rate of about 1/2 to 1/3 or less. But as you say, Jeff, like MAD, they were perfect for the time and age one encountered them. One 45 that I bought at the time that (mostly) holds up even better was Tom T. Hall's "Watergate Blues." Though I was fully aware of Watergate I was still not quite old enough to suss it all out, but I loved Tom T., and my parents and grandparents helped walk me through the song.
2. Youssou N'Dour at Terminal 5 on Friday!!!!
I really should save up money for events like this. Should have a concert cookie jar. There is a free concert this Sunday in Central Park:
Sunday, June 26
Hugh Masekela / Freshlyground / Somi
And to all my Boston people: turns out Whitey Bulger was living out the Everclear dream all these years ("We can live beside the ocean/Leave the fire behind...")
Jeff - you are thinking of Dickie Goodman who did "cut-in" records from the late 50's through the 80's --- Flying Saucer" (Buchanan and Goodman), "Mr. Jaws", etc.
But that brings me to this. The Stan Freberg mention made me think of those wonderful talking cut-and-mix "interview" parody records from the early/mid 1970s. I have these vague memories of a few of them being AM hits. The interviewer would say something like "President Nixon, how is all this Watergate stuff affecting your life?" and then the record cut to the 5th Dimension singing "Last Night I Didn't Get to Sleep at All." Any leads or links? Along with MAD magazine, I think these are where I got some of my earliest political education. And they also sent me off looking for a lot of the songs that got "sampled."
Upcoming New York City Concerts:
1. Archers of Loaf in Brooklyn this Saturday -
2. Youssou N'Dour at Terminal 5 on Friday!!!! I didn't know about that one until just now...anyone know if tix are definitely still available?? also - it says he's promoting his new Dakar-Kingston album - correct me if i'm wrong but didn't Xgau give that one a B+ at least two years ago? His new album??
But now I read in The New Yorker that kids are no dumber than they were a hundred years ago, that it's all ego anxiety and that fer shirt's sake, undeniable chowderheads like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann were kids a long while ago, now. So I guess I'm just wrong. Or something. (I do know that caricaturist Tom Bachtell nails the creepy thing about Bachmann's eyes better than anybody I've seen.)
PS: I must add that Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals (a "graphic novel,"much as I hate that term) is a small masterpiece, like his Weathercraft from last year and that the guy can draw nightmares when he's awake like nobody's business.
The line about Stan Freberg and Alan Freed is a political argument and not a musical one. Freberg was a parody, cut-and-mix, rock-hating guy. "Payola Roll Blues" with its rock-show-as-fascist-rally nonsense (actual chants of "Sieg Heil" in it!) was meant to impugn rock and roll figures like Freed. Bu all Marcus is saying, I think, is that the music promoted by Freed rolls all over such idiocy.
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.
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