Rest in Peace, Malcolm McLaren

April 10, 2010

One of rock’s oddest and greatest characters left us April 8, and his passing should be noted. His impact was more than deep on the punk and New Wave music that he encouraged and that has influenced, well, hell, just about everyone. He even made a legitimate splash in the then-embryonic world of hip-hop.

I’m saddened and pleased to present examples of all three genres. Rest in peace, Malcolm!

Sex Pistols – “Holiday in the Sun”

Bow Wow Wow – “C-30, C-60, C-90, Go!”

Malcolm McLaren and the World’s Famous Supreme Team – “Buffalo Gals”


Justin Moore Award Nominee: “Miracles” by the Insane Clown Posse

April 9, 2010

I really don’t want to bag on ICP too much, for the following reasons:

  • They are a profitable business in my beloved home state of Michigan. In fact, the list of profitable businesses in Michigan is as follows:
    • Ford
    • Jack White
    • Eminem
    • Insane Clown Posse

Unfortunately for Michigan, the list of profitable businesses ends there.

  • I am an eternal juvenile, and have to confess to snickering to a handful of their rhymes in the past.
  • Stranglemania 2 is a longstanding post-imbibement ritual at Casa de Winslow.

But I’m sorry. Sentimental thoughts, guilty confessions, and the entire economy of my home state must sometimes be put aside. I am, after all, a big-time music critic, so I must dismiss such trifles as the childish things they are in service of the larger task of telling the truth.

So it must be said–the first nominee for the Justin Moore Award for Worst Song of the Year has arrived. That nominee is “Miracles,” by the Insane Clown Posse.

I shall write no more on the topic. Instead, I’ll just quote a few lyrics.

We don’t have to be high to look in the sky,
And know that’s a miracle opened wide,
Look at the mountains, trees, the seven seas,
And everything chilling underwater, please,
Hot lava, snow, rain and fog,
Long neck giraffes, and pet cats and dogs.

Niagara falls and the pyramids,
Everything you believed in as kids,
Fucking rainbows after it rains,
There’s enough miracles here to blow your brains.

I fed a fish to a pelican at Frisco bay,
It tried to eat my cell phone, he ran away.

I see miracles all around me,
Stop and look around, it’s all astounding,
Water, fire, air and dirt,
Fucking magnets, how do they work?

Magic everywhere in this bitch.


Bright Eyes, Neil Young, and Dave Rawlings: Plagiarism or Not?

April 5, 2010

Plagiarism or not?

I think the answer is no, but here’s why I ask.

I finally got around to listening to A Friend of a Friend, the recent album by the Dave Rawlings Machine. Track four is a double cover of Bright Eyes’ “Method Acting” and Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.”

Listening to Rawlings perform “Method Acting,” I was struck by how much it resembled a different, and somewhat obscure, Neil Young song, “Distant Camera.” I’d heard “Method Acting” before, but did not notice the similarity in Bright Eyes’ raucous original version.

So I’m 95% sure that Conor Oberst is innocent, and even if he’s guilty, it’s entirely excusable plagiarism. The arrangement makes “Method Acting” and “Distant Camera” very different songs.

So the next question is, coincidence or not?

No idea on this one. Rawlings is a pretty clever guy. Was Rawlings saying, “You think this is Bright Eyes and Neil Young, but it’s actually Neil Young and Neil Young”?

Am I the first to get the joke?

Listen for yourself.

Bright Eyes – “Method Acting”

Neil Young – “Distant Camera”

Dave Rawlings Machine – “Method Acting/Cortez the Killer”

Bonus Track

Neil Young – “Cortez the Killer”


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