The Abysmal State Of Pop Music

Sorry to beat a dead horse; maybe I should just join a different gym.

The videos they play are just so godawful and I do suspect they’re a very fair representation of today’s pop. Every song is the same. Every video is the same.

Today they played a video by Dua Lipa followed by a video of Pia Mia. You can’t make this shit up!

I certainly won’t bother you with either of these videos lest I perpetuate this plague. (Believe me, you’re not missing anything.)

Happy Memorial Day!

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Friend: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

While trashing Deep Purple earlier, I stumbled into this video (which I guess a lot of folks have seen, but it eluded me) made when George Harrison was inducted as a solo artist into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.

It is very good, but, if you ever doubted Prince’s mastery of the axe, watch this cos he KILLS (what happens to his guitar after the solo?).

Additionally, this great little piece about how it all came about and went down, by Finn Cohen, from the New York Times, is way interesting and fun and cool.

Finally, it might be easy to say Prince was grandstanding grabbing the spotlight on a song meant to be an homage to a late and great artist, but, Harrison was inducted the same year as the Purple One and I think that gives him some license to kick out some jams.



WTF? Deep Purple?

I admit that I don’t pay a lot of attention to who gets inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.

As with any cluster of humans trying to determine what is good or socially relevant or important to a sport or genre or discipline, the subjectivity of said homo sapiens is always beyond puzzling to me. And, it isn’t that I don’t understand that KISS or Steve Miller were enormously popular, but neither of those artists ever put anything out as interesting or challenging as Moby Grape’s debut album, which still sounds great although the band broke up over 40 years ago meaning no group could be further from HOF consideration. (I was looking for a vid of the song Omaha and found this great and funny live bit from the Mike Douglas Show, believe it or not.)

I do, however, like watching the Hall of Fame induction concert that HBO shows after the ceremony, and when I flipped the channel on the other day to see what part of the concert was on, there was Deep Purple getting inducted.

Huh? Deep Purple, who owned two hits–Hush, and Smoke on the Water–and never released a complete album worth owning or listening to? Deep Purple over Roxy Music? Or, Yo La Tengo? Over Steve Earle, or Richard Thompson, or Mick Ronson, or Marc Bolan, or the Dolls or even fucking Turbonegro who are a lot more fun and interesting than Highway Star will ever be?

Putting Deep Purple in the Hall is like saying Mark Kotsay is HOF worthy (and, I love Kotsay, a good and steady player, but hardly one who should live in the archives among the best or most influential ever).

At this point, I am no longer interested in even seeing the live excerpts from the show, as the Hall is there with the Grammies and Oscars.

Note, it wasn’t even worth posting a Deep Purple video. We know their hits: we don’t care about the rest. Good thing the R’n’R HOF wasn’t started in the early 70’s or Up With People might have been voted in.


Song of the Week – Trip Hoppin’, Aerosmith


Great bands are capable of putting out very good music throughout their careers. For some reason most fans latch on to the first few albums by most groups and then move on. There are exceptions of course. I can happily listen to any album by the Beatles all the way through and most any by the Stones or Springsteen. But there are records by some of my favorite bands, like the Kinks for instance, that get a little tired late in the discography. However, even their worst is pretty damned good and probably has at least one or two gems hidden within.

That brings me to today’s SotW – “Trip Hoppin’” by Aerosmith.

Aerosmith had a great run of 4 or 5 classic hard rock albums in the 70s then let substance abuse run them off the rails. By 1980 band stalwarts Joe Perry (lead guitar) and Brad Whitford (guitar) had left the band.

In 1984 the original band members reunited and found their second wind with another group of commercial and critical successes including Permanent Vacation (1987), Pump (1989) and Get a Grip (1993).

The band’s biggest hit (measured by sales) was the single “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” This 1998 power ballad was from the soundtrack to the movie Armageddon. It was written by Diane Warren and was Aerosmith’s first #1! (Frankly I find it an embarrassment to their roots.)

In 2001 Aerosmith released Just Push Play that included today’s SotW – “Trip Hoppin’.” Although the album reached #1 and had a Top 10 hit with “Jaded”, it wasn’t a huge critical success. (The Blue Army loved it but I doubt it brought in any new fans.)

“Trip Hoppin’” kills it! It’s a typical Aerosmith rocker but with a bit of a 60s era psychedelic twist (especially in the chorus). They even pull out the psych phasing trick. The title and lyrics are a throwback to the 60s too.

And if my karma suits you
Cross the line into another place and time
Tell me how pretty she is
When she turns the colors of the rainbow

One more day with you…trip hoppin’… yeah
One more night with you…no stoppin’
Ain’t no smokin’ fantasy
‘Cuz lovin’ you is trippin’ to me
You got me psychadelicized
You got my situation bone-a-fide

So keep on digging. You can find gems hidden everywhere in their catalog that includes 12 multi-platinum, 18 platinum, and 25 gold status albums.

Enjoy… until next week.

Guy Clark Has Moved On.

Guy Clark is in the Country Music Songwriters Hall of Fame and was a beloved artist during his long career. At the same time, he was a big star. His talent was big, but his shadow was small and intense.

I saw him at Joe’s Pub in NYC a ways back, before he got sick. It was a terrific show, full of gee whiz moments when songs you knew took you by surprise, and songs you didn’t know made themselves feel familiar and important.

Like this one.

A Punk Album You Need

Whenever I listen to these guys, I think perhaps they’re the best punk band ever – or at least they may have been in their prime. You need either The Unboxed Set CD or the Back From Samoa album and the Inside My Brain EP.

To steal from Tom:

Fuckin’ sheep I’m on the rag
They got my balls in a plastic bag

Best minute you’ll spend today:

La URSS all hands on deck

Yesterday’s post about Blackball lead to this Andulucian punk band. I love this music, because it starts with the Clash’s London Calling as its aesthetic baseline.

If I lived in Andsalucia/a>, I bet it would hit more notes for me. For me, the Clash hit the same notes more immediately, because of the English thing mostly. Home is where the heart is.

But maybe you should listen to the whole thing. It’s really good, if a bit familiar.