Taylor Swift/Donald Fagen
The ingenue and the roue
Taylor Swift: Red (Big Machine)
So if Stephin Merritt can make a big deal out of 69 love songs, why can't Taylor Swift make a fairly big deal out of 16? His being formally savvy in his pop-polymath way and hers being formally voracious in her pop-bestseller way? Need either deal be autobiographical? One hopes not in both cases, although verisimilitude has its formal aspects for bestsellers. Swift hits the mark less often than Merritt‑-65 or 70 percent, I'd say. But one could argue that the verisimilitude requirement forces her to aim higher. I like the feisty ones, as I generally do. But "Begin Again" and especially "Stay Stay Stay" stay happy and hit just as hard. That's hard. A MINUS
Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (Reprise)
How can you not dig an ED-defying lounge lizard whose April-November romance evolves as far as "Today we were strollin'/By the reptile cage/I'm thinkin': Does she need somebody/Who's closer to her own age"? Whose examples of how "I'm Not the Same Without You" include a spontaneous facelift and an extra inch in height? This is cynicism lite swung tite. You'll grow to love the queen of Bowlmor Lanes, the Jazz Age gangster who takes pride in his work, the souvenirs of dooms past rusting in the back of the sci-fi shop. And before you get het up about the one called "Out of the Ghetto," know this: it's an Isaac Hayes cover. A MINUS
Also, Here are some of my favorite books as usual I'm all over the place-
Winesburg, Ohio/ Anderson
Where I'm Calling From/Carver
The Collected Short Stories/ Welty
Snow Crash/ Stephenson
Hornblower Series/ Forester
Confederacy of Dunces/Toole
The Complete Short Stories/O'Connor
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay/Chabon
Sirens of Titan/Vonnegut
Thanks for the welcomes. Three yr old in photo has taken to strumming the Strat while I play the chords to Keep on rockin in the Freeworld after he saw my Keith Urban/John Fogerty NY tribute. Some would suggest this is some form of child abuse. I suggest this is better than the Wiggles. Havn't had to explain the lyrics yet.
NY and Crazy Horse playing here next March the week after Bonnie Raitt.
Welcome Paul, from yor sister city of Melbourne, Florida. Look forward to your input from Down Under. Australia/New Zealand on my list to visit one of these days.
Drumline Live tonight. Entertaining, high-energy show with talented cast of youngsters. Disappointing crowd.
Long time reader (RC 30 years+ and EW 12 months), but first time participant. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy the posts and the incredible access to the host that we have. I am based in Melbourne which has a pretty strong music scene (Crowded House lived down the street, Paul Kelly nearby), so I am pleased to see the reviews of a few Australian artists from time to time. In saying that, over the years, without our host, I would never have come across the Old 97's, Amy Rigby, Magnetic Fields, Iris Dement, Miranda Lambert, Richard (and Linda) Thompson, DJ Shadow, the Klezmatics, Arto Lindsay, and a bunch of other stuff that I treasure.
We had terrible bushfires on the outskirts of Melbourne in 2009 and lost 173 people, so may heart has gone out to those affected by Sandy. I have been involved in the recovery process from the bushfires and 3 1/2 years later, some people still have a long way to go. But they are getting there.
My wife and I got back a couple of days ago from an extended weekend in New York. Beyond timing it just right in terms of weather, and the wonderful food we ate (Parm was good, Gwynett St. incredible, Red Rooster overrated), two events stood out for us and I wanted to make a recommendation about one and ask a question about the other.
We saw the Broadway production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and it lived up to the reviews it has received. The production strips away the unneeded camp aspects that has become a part of most performances (which is not the same as getting rid of all the camp aspects), but leaves all the humor intact. The lead actors allowed me to view George and Martha in a new, sympathetic light while keeping them as brutal as they always have been. They earn the final few lines that rightfully brings both despair and hope. It is the type of art that words like lacerating, astonishing and masterpiece should be saved for. If you are in New York and have the money ($70 at TKTS for in the middle of the 11th row) don’t miss it.
The second event was going to the Warhol exhibit currently at the Met. I have good knowledge and feel for theater, so I feel comfortable with my reaction to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but beyond gut instinct I bring very little to my response to, for lack of a better term, visual art. I enjoyed the exhibition and it confirmed my reaction to a few artists. However, I didn’t know if it had much use for people who had more understanding of the art world than I do. Are the connections and thematic sections too obvious for all but the relative novices? Has anyone else gone?
Newly released film on HBO tonight "Crossfire Hurricane"-the Stones-
Great reviews everywhere I read.
Reading "The John Lennon Letters"-also new.
He was like John Lennon even in junior high school -or whatever they call it in England.
Also reading the new Thomas H. Cook-one of my favorite authors.
Anyone read his "Red Leaves"?
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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