Friday, March 30, 2007

Doin' the Stagnant Shuffle

I have about 600 songs in my RealPlayer library. So why, every time I put it on Shuffle Play mode to hear random tracks, does it play mostly Fine Young Cannibals [top] and Siouxsie & the Banshees? Their songs total maybe 12 of the 600. Any mathematicians out there who can tell me the probability of this?

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Mika Report

I'll call Mika intelligent and original. I'll call him explosive yet delicate. I'll call him a vocal craftsman with a huge range. But I will not give him Freddie's crown.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Don't Let the Sun Go Down

Happy 60th Birthday, Sir Elton John! (Reg, dahling, you are still fabulous.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Biggest Heart in Show Biz

Recently watched the film of Peter Gabriel live in Milan, from 2003. Despite pushing 60, he still has the respiratory capacity of an Olympian, and the aesthetics of the Blue Man Group. While singing, he rode a bicycle, walked upside-down in anti-gravity boots, and bounced and rolled around the stage in a giant plastic sphere called a Zorb Ball [lower pic]. This is just the sort of visual madness we expect from our favorite MTV pioneer.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Singin' of the Green

Happy St. Patricks's Day! Liam, Paddy, Tom, and Tommy are in my heart today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cuttin' in Peace

Congrats to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five for becoming the first hip hop artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And thanks to them for publicly reproaching the current hip hop generation's advocacy of violence.

Friday, March 9, 2007

McNally's Music

As usual, Terrence McNally gives music a major dramatic role in his new play, Some Men. Much of it this time, though, is performed live. Most striking is a tribute to Lorenz Hart (who is never named, but clearly described) by his lover, a singer in a Harlem nightclub, who tenderly recounts their pillow talk between verses of "Ten Cents a Dance."

But any good New Yorker will feel a special connection with another appearance of music in this play: the theme blared from Mister Softee ice cream trucks, used here to demonstrate the comfort of a long-term relationship (you can feel free to eat ice cream when you're not on the prowl).

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Back and forth with Moz

For over ten years, since I first heard Morrisey sing, I've been trying to articulate what I can't stand about his music. Now I've got it: rather than being linear, his melodies are trapped in chords, so he worries thirds and fourths in a kind of intervallic autism. This is a shame, because I like his voice, his lyrics, and his manner. But his melodies make me feel like I'm sealed in Tupperware. Let me out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Fair Robert, His Grownde

For those of you who thought the technique of "ground bass"--- a continuously repeating series of pitches in the bassline --- went out of fashion with Henry Purcell [top], may I present "Fascination Street" by The Cure [Robert Smith is on the bottom]: its deeply disturbing c-minor ground proceeds by leaps in alternating directions, restrainedly mad enough to thrill Webern anytime, or Brahms when he's drunk. (While we're comparing noble Henry and Robert, who's got the crazier hair?)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Successor to the throne?

Who is this Mika [top photo], the young British pop-chart monster touted by many to be a worthy successor to Freddie Mercury [lower photo]? I'm most curious, but trying not to be too hopeful; after all, the band Darkness had a similar reputation for a while as the "new Queen".