A Far-Too-Close Reading of “Your Song”

In which I, well, never mind This week we arrive at something that has been on my mind all year: the half-century of the release of one of the most special songs in popular music. I’ll execute a smooth transition out of last week by introducing it as the song that prompted Lennon to say,Continue reading “A Far-Too-Close Reading of “Your Song””

80 Years

In which I renew my vows I fell in love with John Lennon a few months after turning thirteen. This might not sound like much to people who grew up in an era when everyone and their cat classified themselves by their favorite Beatle, a question that echoes through subsequent generations. But it was pivotalContinue reading “80 Years”

Any Tom, Dick, or Karen; Any Tom, Karen, or Dick

In which I face the facts (i.e., the cold-hearted cynic I am inside) This title cleverly references not only a number from Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, but also the one-time husband of Karen Carpenter, Tom Burris. He serves no other purpose in this post. It came as absolute and very recent news to meContinue reading “Any Tom, Dick, or Karen; Any Tom, Karen, or Dick”

Warren Beatty Reacts to “You’re So Vain” (A McSweeney’s Castoff)

In which I house a homeless monologue Here follows a piece which was rejected by not one but TWO online humor mags, one being the illustrious McSweeney’s Internet Tendency of Boston. Given the double distinction, I felt it merited self-publication. It is, I think, no meaner than the song. • It was a yacht party,Continue reading “Warren Beatty Reacts to “You’re So Vain” (A McSweeney’s Castoff)”

The Manly Men of Motown (& More)

In which I give into temptation (I’m so sorry, please don’t leave) This week is the week I sit down and hash out something I’ve had on the brain for years now, which involves taking a closer look at two musical factions which were essential to my musical education. I do say factions, because theyContinue reading “The Manly Men of Motown (& More)”

Songs I Love to Hate to Love

In which I admit guilt Popular music is fraught with problematic songs. There’s just no way around it. They express a sentiment which was commonly accepted in its day but hasn’t aged well, or they start out edgy by expressing a risky sentiment which really hasn’t aged well, or something else feels off-color or ickyContinue reading “Songs I Love to Hate to Love”

Every Musical Biopic Ever

In which I map it out (trailer is a miniature of the following) ACT I Establishment of band of hometown/university friends. Shots of small-time gigs at local clubs. Unrecognizable snippets/early drafts of what will evolve into hits. Idiosyncratic performance methods (e.g., dancing) which lead family/naysayers to ridicule the band’s dream of mainstream success. Band membersContinue reading “Every Musical Biopic Ever”

Anti-Show-Ponying

In which I ponder the virtues of not playing to the room Lately I’ve stumbled upon a wealth of bootlegs (audio and video) of early R.E.M. shows. As the kids say, it’s giving me life. This owes partly to the sheer volume of the catalogue: there are so many songs, some popping up years beforeContinue reading “Anti-Show-Ponying”

Album Review: FINE LINE

In which a former boy-band darling goes in yet another direction Harry Styles has become a god. This was clear enough on his solo debut back in the spring of 2017; now, on the eve of his sophomore release, it’s only getting progressively clearer, what with the imaginative glimpses we’ve been treated to. And yetContinue reading “Album Review: FINE LINE”

The Best Song Choruses

In which I test the ideological power of a pop chorus A song is, ultimately, a machine, a collection of cogs with their own functions. Possibly the most conspicuous cog is the chorus, which, by its nature, is an aural focal point where the artist communes with the listener. People who do not know theContinue reading “The Best Song Choruses”