April 20, 2009

The Definitive Piercing Analysis from a Random Facebook App

What does Jesus think of you?
Jesus thinks you're a Sanctimonious Prick
He's tired of your shit. Nobody thinks you're different, or interesting, or cool. Certainly not the Saviour of all Men. Jesus wants you to quit being such a tool.

John's comment: the Ayn Rand image was just the crown on the sin qua non of Facebook quizzes. Love it!

April 15, 2009

iPod album shuffle of the Day: "Asia" (1982)

My iPod is set to album shuffle (and has been for several months; currently on song 6171 out of 7965), and today's album carrying me thru my drizzly morning commute was Asia's 1982 self-titled debut.

During my tweens this was one of my favorite albums, back before I discovered the progressive heavyweight bands that came to dominate my playlist in undergrad and after. Asia was a supergroup consisting of members of three leading prog bands that at the time had gone on hiatus: guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Geoff Downes had left Yes (who had broken up in '79 and were about to reform without them), drummer Carl Palmer had left Emerson and Lake (who then promptly re-formed with Cozy Powell... a theme?), and John Wetton was the bassist and vocalist of King Crimson before they evaporated in '74 (and had since, all together now, re-formed without him). Hell, even Roger Dean (who had a virtual monopoly on prog rock album artwork) designed the cover.

As the band's pedigree suggests, Asia is awash in the intricate stylings of the genre, albeit liberally peppered with hooks and pop references (i.e. the Spectoresque "Be My Baby" drumbeat in "Heat of the Moment"), but lyrically... well, nobody put it better than master critic Robert Christgau: "After listening to two lyrics about why they like their girlfriends, three about "surviving," and four about why they don't like their girlfriends, I'm ready for brain salad surgery."

I can't deny that Asia is full of catchy, hooky, guilty pleasures, but acknowledging so doesn't overshadow the sense that they're consciously dumbing down their songs to reach a mass audience. When you consider the artistic heights they had reached in their earlier bands, there's an inescapably condescending air pervading this album, which as an adult prevents me from embracing it the way I did as when I was twelve. It's like if the Beatles tried to write "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" after they'd done Revolver & Sgt Pepper. (also guilty: ELP's "Black Moon," Howe and Steve Hackett's "GTR", and any Yes song with Trevor Rabin in it)

And a side note - putting a year in a song lyric is almost always a bad idea. "And now you find yourself in '82 / The disco hotspots hold no charms for you" confines the album to a specific era, freezing it in time (and makes me feel really really old to think that this album came out twenty-seven years ago. I've dated people younger than this album).

(In the meantime, my shuffle has now landed on Yes's Tales From Topographic Oceans, which is either the peak or nadir of progressive rock. For me it's a bit of both, sometimes over the course of a single song. Still, the contrast between this and Asia is startling, and further confirmation of my above opinions.)

April 13, 2009

"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"

Not really.

Here's a list of rock stars (or personalities associated with pop/rock music) over the age of 70.
Taken from http://www.ihopeidiebeforeigetold.com/oldest-living-rock-stars.php

1. Les Paul, guitar pioneer, 93 (born 9 June 1915)
2. Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar legend, 89 (born 7 April 1920)
3. Bert Weedon, early UK rock guitarist, 88 (born 10 May 1920)
4. Ed Cassidy, drummer for Spirit, 85 (born 4 May 1923)
5. Jim Marshall, the "Father of Loud", 85 (born 29 July 1923)
6. Tuli Kupferberg, beat poet and member of the Fugs, 85 (born 28 Sep 1923)
7. Earl Scruggs, 85 (born 6 Jan 1924)
8. BB King, 83 (born 16 Sept 1925)
9. George Martin, Beatles producer, 83 (born 3 Jan 1926)
10. Chuck Berry, 82 (born 18 Oct 1926)
11. Mose Allison, 81 (born 11 Nov 1927)
12. Fats Domino, 81 (born 26 Feb 1928)
13. Burt Bacharach, 80 (born 12 May 1928)
14. Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitarist, 77 (born 16 Nov 1931)
15. Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's guitarist, 77 (born 27 Dec 1931)
16. Petula Clark, 76 (born 15 Nov 1932)
17. Little Richard, 76 (born 5 Dec 1932)
18. Yoko Ono, 76 (born 18 Feb 1933)
19. Quincy Jones, 76 (born 14 March 1933)
20. Willie Nelson, 75 (born 30 April 1933)
21. Marshall Lytle, one of Bill Haley's Comets, 75 (born 1 Sept 1933)
22. John Mayall, UK blues rock pioneer, 75 (born 29 Nov 1933)
23. Loretta Lynn, 74 (born 14 April 1934)
24. Leonard Cohen, 74 (born 21 Sept 1934)
25. Carol Kaye, LA session bassist, 74 (born 24 March 1935)
26. Bobby Vinton, 73 (born 16 April 1935)
27. Jerry Lee Lewis, 73 (born 29 Sept 1935)
28. Johnny Mathis, 73 (born 30 Sept 1935)
29. Julie Andrews, 73 (born 1 Oct 1935)
30. Glen Campbell, 72 (born 22 April 1936)
31. Engelbert Humperdinck, 72 (born 2 May 1936)
32. Kris Kristofferson, 72 (born 22 June 1936)
33. Buddy Guy, 72 (born 30 July 1936)
34. Bill Wyman, 72 (born 24 Oct 1936)
35. Charlie Daniels, 72 (born 28 Oct 1936)
36. Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul & Mary, 72 (born 9 Nov 1936)
37. Shirley Bassey, 72 (born 8 Jan 1937)
38. Don Everly, 72 (born 1 Feb 1937)
39. Roberta Flack, 72 (born 10 Feb 1937)
40. Merle Haggard, 72 (born 6 April 1937)
41. Dick Dale, 71 (born 4 May 1937)
42. Vic Flick, 71 (born 14 May 1937)
43. Trini Lopez, 71 (born 15 May 1937)
44. Eddie Floyd, R&B singer, 71 (born 25 June 1937)
45. Tom Paxton, 71 (born 31 Oct 1937)
46. Frank Ifield, 71 (born 30 Nov 1937)
47. Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul & Mary, 71 (born 30 Dec 1937)
48. Paul Revere, 71 (born 7 Jan 1938)
49. Allen Toussaint, 71 (born 14 Jan 1938)
50. Etta James, 71 (born 25 Jan 1938)
51. Duane Eddy, 70 (born 26 April 1938)
52. Herbie Flowers, 70 (born 19 May 1938)
53. Peter Yarrow, of Peter Paul & Mary, 70 (born 31 May 1938)
54. Ben E King, 70 (born 28 Sept 1938)
55. PJ Proby, 70 (born 6 Nov 1938)
56. Gordon Lightfoot, 70 (born 17 Nov 1938)
57. JJ Cale, 70 (born 5 Dec 1938)
58. Scott McKenzie, 70 (born 10 Jan 1939)
59. Phil Everly, 70 (born 19 Jan 1939)
60. Gerry Goffin, 70 (born 11 Feb 1939)
61. Ray Manzarek, of the Doors, 70 (born 12 Feb 1939)
62. Neil Sedaka, 70 (born 13 March 1939)

April 12, 2009

Still More Piercing Analysis From Random Facebook Quizzes

Which Beatles Song Are You?
You are I Am The Walrus.

You are the true iconoclast. You possess the perfect union of intuition and knowledge. You are independent and very involved in your thoughts. Avoid the tendency to have envy and contempt of others.

Which element are you?

You are Wood, an interesting element indeed. Made of tough stuff, you are. You have an outer shell that can protect you from most things and, unlike Metal, your shell is one built on logic and experience instead of one hastily put up to protect you from being hurt (though it functions in that way as well). Wood has the least personality of the elemental personae and is the most effected by the other elements (needs air to breathe, water to drink, earth to grow from, fire destroys it). Though to balance all of that out, you can heal far more easily than the rest (which is good, because if you do fall, bouncing back will be horrendously difficult). You are stable, stubborn almost, but smarts and common sense are your roots that keep you in place. Your place in the world: You are the wizened old soul whose mere existence proves that anything's possible..

John comments: How ironic, most drama critics say the same thing about my performances.

What Old Movie Star Are You?

Bette Davis
Short and to the point. Temperamental. Smoke when you get nervous or distracted. Good at whatever you do. Doesn't waste time. You either have strong friends or strong enemies. You have proven that nothing can stop you and you can do anything. Don't care what people say about you. You are ultimately capable of murder.

John comments: I changed my answers several times, and each time I wound up Bette. I think the fix is in.