Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Was This Abject Misery?


"Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy" is one of my favorite Zappa songs. Terry Bozzio on drums, great playing on the verses, lets loose on the solo. Good groove on the bass from Tom Fowler.

Lunch with my parents went fine, to the point that I thought it seemed a bit short. We ate at Olive Garden then went grocery shopping. I'm pretty sure the grub should hold me over until August 13th or 14th. Still not sure when I'm actually moving out...one of those two dates. Anyway, Mom told me after that Shelley seemed "more confident" and from all I can gather left a good impression. That's always good, right?

One thing I've noticed is that not only do all these things have a way of working themselves out, I often feel like I don't give my parents enough credit. It was as though we hadn't lost a beat, just picked up right from where we started. Much like Shelley and I wanted in the first place when we got back together.

Tomorrow I'm waging my all-out assault on the 1971 Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies. As the title may suggest, the album contains elements of British country, jazz, and blues. It wasn't one of my favorites when I first heard it way back in 2001, but now being a LOT more worldly wise I have come to love it for what it is: yet another in a string of masterpieces from Ray Davies.

One thing I might do is give you guys a paragraph or two (or however much space it takes for me to do a rundown of a particular song) and provide an embedded YouTube link. I'm sure that will tickle all your fancies.

I had a rough day today, my math exam kicked my ass, then I came back here and dozed off, thinking it was my day off. Thankfully, my supervisors are understanding and chill. I still have to have a "meeting" with them to discuss this, but I have already assured them today was a fluke. A complete stress-addled fluke.

Somehow I have this feeling that the next week and a half will crawl by and seem a lot more like a month in itself. Shelley, too, since she's working the art camp at the Waldron Center downtown. It's a shame, but I'm looking forward to the end of summer. It means the beach, it means moving into my apartment, it means work at both Spencer's and the Rock & Roll History Dept., and it means classes that don't involve functions or logarithms or any of that bullshit.

I'm feeling generous, so I present to you my paragraphs on one of my favorite Kinks songs, "Top Of The Pops" from Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneygoround. I wish there weren't so many limitations that are keeping me from posting the whole thing (it's waaaaaaaay too long, you guys don't know the album, etc.), but still, let me know what you think.

(Note: I published this at 12:55 AM, right after uploading this video onto YouTube. Might want to wait about an hour or so for it to be processed.)
"A drum-roll, followed by a chipper announcement of “Yes! It’s number one, it’s Top of the Pops!” introduces “Top Of The Pops,” a song sardonically named after the BBC music program. A true hard rock song, driven by Dave’s heavy riff and Mick’s fill-laden playing, the hero deals with his gradual rise to the top. Spotted originally at #25 on the charts, Ray smugly sings, “Life is so easy when your record’s hot,” no doubt a reflection of the runaway success of “Lola” on both sides of the Atlantic. The cockiness of the main character intensifies as he muses, “I might even end up a rock and roll god./Might turn into a steady job.” Once the hit single is at “number eleven on the BBC/But number seven on the NME,” he is tapped for an interview to discuss the topics of politics and religion. During the instrumental break, a barrage of spoken voices are heard: “I’d like to ask you about your influences…”, “It’s gonna be the show of a lifetime…”, the very material that rock journalism is made from. Upon the return from the middle section, it is revealed the record is at number three now, and the main character’s star power is such that female fans scream when they see him on the street.

To the main character, it’s a dream come true, though he notes “Now I’ve got friends I thought I’d never had before…” before Dave’s searing guitar solo. Ray finishes his thought, adding that “people want you when your record’s high/But when it drops down they just pass you by.” Keeping in mind their four-year absence and less-than-triumphant return in 1969, the superstar status they attained with “Lola” no doubt inspired both this lyric and Ray’s disdain for the record industry. That grim thought is kicked to the wayside, as the hero’s manager – the one who hates his music and his haircut – greets him with the news that his single is now number one. As Ray’s humorously voiced manager states over Gosling’s organ, “now you can earn some REAL money!”, rolling his r’s on “real.”

Musically, this is The Kinks in one of their finest moments as an ensemble. Not counting the hard-rocking bridge on “Brainwashed,” this is the first time Dave has laid out a heavy riff since his song “Love Me Till The Sun Shines,” way back on 1967’s Something Else By The Kinks. John Dalton’s bassline during the break, consisting of straight eighths on a single note, adds a touch of sinister tension. John Gosling lends an atmosphere of decadence to the song with his playing. Much praise should also go to drummer Mick Avory, as he deftly pounds out the same rhythm as the instruments during the turnaround before the verse, while throughout the rest of the song he fills up space in an already loaded musical atmosphere. The scorching version on Everybody’s In Showbiz’s live disc shows this song was only better on stage."

Alex

PS - I took a whiz on my car, but it was for a reason. A cooler was in the middle of Atwater, and in the other lane was a recliner chair. I had two choices: hit the curb and get a flat, or pummel through the cooler. I chose the latter, and liquid splashed up on my car. After Shelley and I dropped Graham off, a disgusting smell permeated the interior. The cooler was full of VOMIT. Fucking vomit! It was horrendous, so before it congealed I whipped it out and pissed on the car - almost vomiting myself, but it took care of the problem. Who would have thought such a juvenile act could actually serve a purpose?

1 comment:

m@ said...

Hitting a cooler full of vomit sounds like a stupendous beginning to a killer short story.