Archive for June, 2014

When great bands write stupid songs: Get On Your Boots

Posted: June 28, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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U2 have always been one of my favorite bands. Just because I join the ranks of the rational folks who now belittle Bono and his political bucking bronco that he can’t get off of, does not mean that I don’t still appreciate that he and his band have brought so many great songs and memories to the masses. They are a great band, although I can’t say that of anything that they have released in the past ten years. Ten years is a long time. This bit of music that I’m writing about? I believe that’s when reality sunk its fangs into me and I realized that the suck had set in. I am not alone in questioning whether Bono is so busy mingling with the free world that he quit concentrating on his craft. I think it’s obvious, and if you go back and examine timelines, it all began, in ridiculous earnest, around the time that How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb came out. U2 hasn’t delivered a solid album in over a decade. In a thousand years I never would have expected the following song to ever be written, much less recorded, AND released as the first single off of a new U2 album. What’s the problem, you say? Let’s take a look.

Future needs a big kiss
Winds blow with a twist
Never seen a move like this
Can you see it too

Maybe the first four lines were written after watching Step Up, the Channing Tatum/Jenna Dewan movie from 2006? If you’re watching the movie, then yes, you are seeing it too. The future didn’t need a big kiss, though, as Tatum and Dewan spent a good portion of that movie sucking face. Winds blowing with a twist? Maybe Bono witnessed a juice tornado in the Serengeti?

Night is falling everywhere
Rockets hit the funfair
Satan loves a bomb scare
But it won’t scare you

Night does indeed fall everywhere. Rockets hit the funfair? Where is this funfair that is being held at night? If it’s in a country in the Middle East and they’re holding a funfair at night, when rebels and terrorists usually strike more, then they’re kind of asking for it? Satan loves a bomb scare. But it won’t scare you. Well, if you’re a human being, a fucking bomb scare would scare the shit out of you. Maybe this is a Johnny Mnemonic type situation? Therefore, they aren’t scared? I was plenty scared by these lyrics. The chorus? Oh yeah, that chorus.

Hey…Sexy Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…

What the fuck? Sexy boots? There’s a chance that a bomb is going off somewhere and you’re worried about seeing some girl put on sexy boots? Why would you identify a girl’s attractiveness by her boots? I can see if she’s stripping in a club somewhere and wearing next to nothing but thigh high boots, but in a potential war zone? On the battlefield? In a war torn field? In God’s Country? Makes no damn sense. Unless Bono means a man, and then we have a whole different dynamic, but one that still makes no sense. It also makes no sense, if he’s trying to set the scene to that of a battle zone. Who cares about seeing some bitch in sexy boots if you might step on a landmine and be blown to bits at any time? Make love, not war is taking it a bit far. Then the obligatory “Yeah”… you need to assert what you just said? Not very sure of yourself, War Zone Lothario.

Free me from the dark dream
Candy bars, ice cream
All the kids are screaming but the ghosts aren’t real

Free me from a dark dream of candy bars and ice cream? No way, Jose. I would remain in that dream forever. Unless he means dark chocolate? I would never leave! Is this Bono’s way of saying he likes milk chocolate, not dark chocolate? What does dreaming of chocolate have to do with anything? All the kids are screaming but the ghosts aren’t real. Kids might be screaming for candy bars and ice cream, but that’s not something bad, usually. The ghosts? Maybe they’re having dreams of the ghosts in Pac-Man? That would scare anyone who grew up inside the 1980’s Pac-Man universe (hand raised). The ghosts of the dentist hovering nearby with a drill to stop them from eating all that sugar? The ghosts of Boo-Berry cereal? Cereal and war and boots. Makes perfect sense to..well, U2.

Here’s what you gotta be
Love & community
Laughter is eternity if the joy is real

If you stand together, united in your hatred of dark chocolate, you will laugh forever. If the rockets don’t get you first. Nice message there, Bono Vox.

You don’t know how beautiful
You don’t know how beautiful
You are…
You don’t know
You get it do you
You don’t know
How beautiful you are…

Singing to the boots, the woman, or the candy bars and ice cream? No clear answers. Just a lot of worshipful questions masquerading as declarations. You don’t know. But you are. You don’t know. You get it don’t you? You don’t know. This is madness! How can any girl understand that back talk?

If someones into blowing up
We’re into growing up

I would hope you want to live and not be blown up.

Women are the future
All the big revelations
I’ve gotta submarine
You’ve got gasoline
I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations
Not right now

Women are the future- of big revelations. Like the commonly known; we’re all insane. I’ve gotta submarine, you’ve got gasoline. Come-on line? Kinky talk of mortar shells; I’m turned on, aren’t you? EEK! He doesn’t want to talk about wars between nations, not right now. Because he’d rather be discussing how women are insane and then lobbing gratuitous grenades of a supposedly sensual nature at the person wearing the boots. Nothing says sexy times like talk of submarines, gasoline, and a bomb scare.

Sexy Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…
Foxy boots

Whoa! Whoa! Stop the presses, Vicki Vale! Sexy just turned into foxy. Foxy Cleopatra? Foxy Brown? Boots..not babes. Go figure that out.

You don’t know how beautiful
You don’t know how beautiful
You are…
Sexy Boots
I don’t wanna talk about wars

You keep saying it, yet you keep singing these words. And likening sensual delights to warfare.

Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
My God I’m going down
I don’t wanna drown now
Let me in the sound

That’s a lot of pleas to be let into the Sound. The Sound of Music? Already cast. Sound & Vision, one of the highlight’s of David Bowie’s 1977 masterpiece, Low? I wish we could all travel back in time to be in there, but alas, not happening. The Sound And The Fury, the classic novel by William Faulkner? Well, the lack of imaginative narrative in that novel does echo the narrative of this song, so perhaps. In context with the lyrics following, I will vote for Long Island Sound. Not to mention, it separates Long Island from Connecticut. I could see him swimming to save the Connecticut Chippies, an elitist group of Gulfstream obsessed yuppies. Couldn’t you? And yes, Bono, if you swim for the Chippies, you are likely going to drown. Of course he doesn’t want to drown now, because how can he jet all over the globe, saving millions from suffering without milk chocolate? And foxy boots? He can’t, yet he begs to be let into Long Island Sound, which may lead to his drowning. What the fuck, Bono? What the fuck?

Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Get on your Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…

I guess the narrator of the piece wants to drown. While watching this girl get on her sexy, no, foxy boots. I hope he isn’t singing this while putting on his sexy, no, foxy boots, because that will definitely result in him drowning. In the sound. In the sound. In the sound. I have no fucking idea.

U2, as I stated, one of my favorite bands. Until the past ten years. No Line on The Horizon is absolute shit. I liked Magnificent for about five minutes, but that, too, did pass. I had Matt Foo make a copy for me, because I refused to pay for the album based on this monstrosity of a song. I love vinyl and music, and I love U2 unequivocally, before the last decade. This song? According to multiple Google sources, it was inspired by Bono taking his family to France and seeing warplanes overhead. Did you get any of that from the lyrics cited above? I certainly didn’t. I witnessed a bunch of nonsensical lyrics coming from a band that brought us earth-shattering songs like “With Or Without You”, “You’re So Cruel”, “All I Want Is You”, among others. Listen to the earlier U2 and then listen to the last ten years. It’s enough to make you want to cry. Or drown. In the sound.

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When great bands write stupid songs: Make Love Like a Man

Posted: June 26, 2014 by The Social Retard in Music
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R-2867671-1304776599I have mentioned here before of my love of Def Leppard. I may have moved on,  mostly, from hair bands and cock rock but this band has given me a lot of great memories. That being said, what the fuck is this song?

I am secure in my sexuality but back in 1992 (and now), this made me question singer Joe Elliott’s. The very first lines of this song also comprise the chorus. It goes as follows:

“Make love like a man/I’m a man/That’s what I am”

This is like Popeye trying to get Bluto to fuck him. “Make love like a man. I’m a man and that’s all that I am. I’m Popeye the butt pirate man”. I don’t actually care if this is some gay declaration but for a band that wanted everyone to believe they were a pack of pussy hounds, this certainly sodded that right up.

“All you girls ’round the world /Lookin’ for a guy who’s a real go-getter”

What? OK, yes, women tend to find successful men more attractive. This is a solid premise.

“Every guy grab a girl/Love her like a man, make her feel a lot better”

Not sure if this is misogynistic or weird role play. Am I to love her as if she were a man? Because that could get awkward.

“Don’t call me Gigolo/Don’t call me Casanova
Just call me on the phone/And baby come on over”

This reminds me of the 1989 movie, Loverboy, starring Patrick Dempsey. McQueesy is, at this point, a scrawny kid who is a pizza boy that somehow sexes up every cougar in town except his own mother.

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This is a terrible movie but one of those that I have improbably seen hundreds of time because of its early 90’s frequency on cable. If this is what the song is based on, I almost have to forgive it. It’s like they were trying to squeeze a lump of coal into a diamond only to realize they were squeezing hardened dog shit. No diamonds in there.

We soon get to the full-fledged chorus:

“Make love like a man/I’m a man/That’s what I am, yeah
Make love like a man/Your kinda man/That’s what I am”

Maybe he isn’t asking his man for love. Maybe he’s only just realized that he himself is a man, and now he’s all excited. So, Elliott is going to make love like “your” kinda man because he doesn’t have his own style. He’s just going to plop himself down and wait for instructions. “Casanova”, I think not.

“Every day, every night/Take her little heart ’til it beats like a hammer
Do it good, do it right/Crazy little girl gonna stutter ‘n’ stammer”

Classy now he’s looking for a girl with a cardiopulmonary condition and a speech impediment. He definitely knows what he likes. Is he lowering his standards so this girl will be extra appreciative and not particularly discerning?

Then comes a bridge that seems shoe-horned in like a left-over or outtake that they could never figure out what to do with:

“Gimme some rock ‘n’ roll/Little bit of rock ‘n’ roll
It’s gotta be rock ‘n’ roll/Little bit of rock ‘n’ roll”

What in the hell does this have to do with anything? You guys are a rock ‘n’ roll fucking band! Make it yourself.

“A little bit of love goes a long, long way/Gotta get it on if you really wanna get her
Never ever wait it’s a little to late/Love her like a man, make her feel a lot better”

Angina Lispnagle also needs to overlook a tiny dick. But, quick, stick it in her before she knows what hit her. Which isn’t much.

The song mercifully comes to a close amid a multi-tracked chorus hodgepodge reinforcing the general mission statement of the song Read into it what you will. I don’t understand it. But we are left with these isolated words of wisdom:

“You love her like a man/She’s gonna feel a lot better”

Wait for it…

“And that’s a fact”

Followed immediately with a bent mini riff that sounds like a boner popping up.

For all of the pomp and shine on Def Leppard’s discography, I never felt totally devolved listening to their music until this song. I was 13 when this came out and I knew it was shit then. Here’s the sad part. I own this 7″. I bought it 12/20/10 at Remember When in Westmont for $3. If this is such a crime against music, why did I buy it? Because the b-side “Miss You in a Heartbeat” is a good song if you’re a big sap, which I am on occasion. It is the only known occurrence of the song being released on wax and a collector collects. Make purchases like a collector. I’m a collector. That’s what I am, yeah.

 

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I’m not going to front on you guys. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that, when I was 15, I knew everything there was to know about hardcore punk. I didn’t know shit. The first album from SST that I heard was the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime. Good start, for sure, but Black Flag was still just an insect repellant to me. The summer of 1994, Henry Rollins’s mug was everywhere. He may have been a punk rock pioneer but to me and my friends, he was the “Liar” guy.

That video and song were fucking awesome. I bought Weight on CD and the album version of “Liar” was even longer. There are other great moments too, like “Civilized” with its little funky interlude about guns. It’s a great album to just start yelling phrases that don’t necessarily go together. I still relate to “Disconnect” as people sicken me. It’s even more poignant now as technology has made the world so much smaller. “Liar” is still the crown jewel though. This would only be the beginning, though.

Henry showed up in the awesomely awful movie The Chase with Charlie Sheen and O.B. (Original Buffy) Kristy Swanson. I know this movie sucks but it entertains me to no end. If it was on now, I’d watch it. Not just for Henry, admittedly, as Swanson was way hot and Carlos Estevez had yet to go all Tiger Blood on us. I then started watching any movie that Rollins was in. Most of the time, this was a mistake but I blame Keanu Reeves for Johnny Mneumonic.

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Along the way, I kept buying Rollins Band CDs and they were decent. I bought his Black Flag stuff but, like most, I prefer the Keith Morris stuff. Henry’s finest musical moment is his collection of two solo EPs: Hot Animal Machine and Drive By Shooting (credited to Henrietta Collins & the Wifebeating Childhaters). Some really great tracks on those but none top the superior-to-the-original cover of Wire’s “Ex-Lion Tamer”. The original version is fine but Henry’s take is, obviously, more aggressive and it suits the song. I, sacrilegiously, like the vocals themselves better. I’m also pretty sure he screwed up the lyrics to the track’s benefit.

See, that’s another reason why Henry Rollins is so great. He’s chiefly important because he is the gateway to a lot of cool music. He was the first introduction to Bad Brains after he sang a cover of the MC5’s classic “Kick Out the Jams” with them. Shit, that was the first exposure to the MC5 too. He’s such an abashed fan that any band he became involved with or talked about was worth a listen.

When he had his talk show on IFC, that was the first time I had seen Slayer perform. I always felt wrong for listening to them because of all of the pentagram stuff. I had written them off in my mind even though I had mostly shed all that baggage by that point. They played “Cult” from their then-latest album Christ Illusion. In a serendipitous moment, this happened to be their best album in 12 years and, here, I was lucky to catch them at that time. I hadn’t seen anything such a powerful performance by any band on television.

With no new music from Henry, I still try to catch what he does. I’ve gotten a few of his books and have loved some of his spoken-word albums, especially Provoked. The last time I bought anything by him was a couple of years ago at the Chicagoland Record Show at the Hillside Holiday Inn, site of the Atomizer showdown with hipster douchebag. As soon as you walk in, there’s a vendor in the corner on the left who has a shit ton of 90’s vinyl. The 90’s bands loved vinyl but record companies didn’t, so runs were really limited. I managed to score Weight for $12. It has a little bit of a skip in it but not during “Liar”, so no big deal. Anyone know where I can find the Drive By Shooting EP on wax?

 

Going Down with The Gutter Twins and Saturnalia

Posted: June 7, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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The Afghan Whigs hold a special place in my heart of musical hearts. No, it doesn’t just involve that swaggering, chain-smoking lead singer Greg Dulli (I like them tall, dark, and troubled). It doesn’t involve any one time period in my life or one particularly bad relationship, rather they are the one band that I listen to that embraces the dark, seedier side of things that hide in the bushes of one’s troubled subconscious. For every Duran Duran that litters that vinyl record player, there’s an Afghan Whig or a Greg Dulli side project that’s sitting in its plastic waiting to be unleashed. The Whigs never fail to stir up the creative side. Often they stir up dark, submerged memories that should be left thousands of feet underwater. Often, more often than not, they make me turn that radio up higher and try to figure out what makes Mr. Greg Dulli tick. More and more lately, I have turned to their records in an attempt to find my fountain of inspiration, which has left me arid in the middle of deserted cacti. Do To The Beast is incredible, by the way. Not just good, or okay. Incredible. It’s the type of record that should be played when you are sitting alone in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, unable to dream, unable to write, unable to be, well, anything. At least you’ll have one hell of a soundtrack to put some wrappers in your brain, things that may later give birth to incredible outbursts of creativity, or at least make you pay heed to what’s rustling around in the attic. This latest album has inspired me to head back into the catalog of Whigs and Co. material. I went on a mission to find all of the vinyl. First I found the CD for Saturnalia, then I went through two more boxes of stuff and found the vinyl. What the hell are the Gutter Twins? Well, friends, let me give you a small history lesson.

Also, not to shortlist the other talented part of The Gutter Twins, Mr. Mark Lanegan. Mark Lanegan spent sixteen years as lead singer and visionary of the band Screaming Trees. After the band ended in 2000, he went on his merry way, doing anything from solo records to guesting on prominent band albums (mostly Queens of the Stone Age), to side projects with notable musicians. He and Dulli began this collaboration in 2003. I have a lot of Lanegan’s music as well, solo and Screaming Trees, and he doesn’t disappoint. Put the two together and albums like Saturnalia are born. The duo worked on it over the next five years, and it finally found its release on March 4, 2008 (time of Pisces. Go figure the dark, brooding nature of parts of this album).

Sadly, I didn’t connect with Saturnalia until August of 2008. Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre had been released in November of 2007, and distractions of that nature took a while for me to get past. I was also, to great regret, re-igniting that long snuffed out torch known as the ten-year error in judgment. I was, for the second time in my ten years loving the wrong individual, “The Other Woman”. No, the romper room fruit plate gifting fool wasn’t married, but was in a committed relationship with one woman, and carrying on with me behind her back. Am I proud of both lapses in judgment? No, definitely not. However, you don’t learn to move on and past things if you aren’t shat upon repeatedly by the same bird of prey. I finally woke the fuck up, and when it did happen, it was ugly. And the soundtrack to this happenstance? The Gutter Twins Saturnalia.

As I have said with previous albums, it’s hard for me to pick favorites on some of the vinyl I own. This would be one of those occurrences. The time, nor the place, really matter because every single time I listen to it, a new bevy of emotions threaten to consume me as Mount Vesuvius did Pompeii. It doesn’t matter what sort of mood you’re in when you put this record on, or what sort of calamity may have befallen you on that day, but you’re going down when you put this record on. It’s a cathartic experience. It’s one that should be experienced, repeatedly. It’s worth owning the vinyl, the CD, and if it exists (I am not certain if it does), on cassette. Because that’s how you roll with music you really love; any and all formats are appreciated and should be owned.

About that vinyl. I got it on Alabamazon from an independent seller for $14.02. It came in the mail trashed. I filed a complaint and got a refund. I couldn’t play the fucking thing; it was scratched worse than Clinton’s nut sack after Lewinsky got done. The second vinyl I ordered came in pristine condition, but broken. In two. Thanks, UPS, you can suck it. We had a UPS driver in Willow Springs who liked to throw any and all boxes on top of the staircase. I lost plenty of vinyl over the years from that fucker. The third time was, thankfully, the charm. I finally gave up on ordering it online, and I hit Musicland in Chicago Ridge Mall looking for it. Steven Joseph of the Mataros Mafioso (LCP) was managing it, and gave me the old stink eye when I told him I was looking for that on vinyl. That motherfucker wouldn’t order a jazz record if you asked him, unless you gave a shout out to his favorite “singer” of all time, Ms. Sheryl Crow. I waxed some bullshit about how “Everyday Is A Winding Road” changed my karmic outlook toward world peace and manure piles, and he ordered it. Since it was a “special order”, it took almost a month to come in, but the rejoicing was mine when I picked it up. I believe a special celebration was in store that evening: me, myself, the gentlemen Lanegan and Dulli, and a bottle of Southern Comfort. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.