It’s getting to the point…

In which it’s a matter of mind over music—or is it? Yesterday a favorite podcaster of mine who often engages in discussions of mental health issues—and who is herself studying to be a therapist—read out a message from a female listener who described her boyfriend’s unwillingness or inability to help her through an emotionally turbulentContinue reading “It’s getting to the point…”

Every Beatles Reference in “You’ll Be Back”

In which I send a fully armed battalion to remind you that all you need is love Hamilton’s George III, our favorite mad king, steps out in the middle of Act I to the most fanfare since, well, Hamilton stepped out. He proceeds to introduce himself with a tune I can only describe as Late-StageContinue reading “Every Beatles Reference in “You’ll Be Back””

Is “I’m a Believer” a Perfect Song?

In which I pose a rhetorical question Today is the feast of St. Cecilia, patron of musicians (also poets, less relevant to the forthcoming discussion). On an unrelated-yet-related note, I listen to a podcast called Punch Up the Jam wherein the hosts and guests end each episode by offering an “unpunchable jam”—a song they feelContinue reading “Is “I’m a Believer” a Perfect Song?”

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)”

Album Review: SONGS OF INNOCENCE

In which I celebrate an uncelebrated curio Surprise! You thought you’d left this album in the dust, huh? Apple product users will remember it as the one that automatically streamed when U2 released it nearly six years ago. As an involuntary addition to millions of music libraries, it was also largely unwelcome; people griped aboutContinue reading “Album Review: SONGS OF INNOCENCE”

Stones Studies, Part II: Character portraits, best practices

In which I dip into the cult of personality Welcome back. Or, if you’re new here, welcome (and go get up to speed). As I’ve mentioned, in paring down a fifty-plus-year career to what resonates with me, I arrived at the material spanning 1968-72, give or take a bit on each side; okay, let’s sayContinue reading “Stones Studies, Part II: Character portraits, best practices”

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”