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”


“Goodnight, Bad Intentions” by squint

March 28, 2010

I’ve got a personal connection with this one. The lead singer is my brother, and one of the guitarists is On Deaf Ears co-blogger Normalnorman.

You might think that makes me biased, but it really doesn’t. I’m a critic even when it comes to my own brother, and I tell him honestly what I think of his band’s music, performances, lyrics, whatever.

So you can trust me when I tell you that this song rocks.

Album to follow in July!

squint – “Goodnight, Bad Intentions”


Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

March 23, 2010

Coming soon to a theater near you. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. I know the Oscars just wrapped up but I think this should be a strong contender for next year. It’s time the world new the story behind one of music’s greatest geniuses. Here’s the trailer.


A Celebration of Alex Chilton

March 22, 2010

If you’re reading this, it’s likely I don’t have to tell you who Alex Chilton was and why his death on March 17, 2010 is being mourned by lovers of music everywhere. So I’ll just jot down a few thoughts.

I have no idea how I first heard of Big Star. I think I just sort of absorbed the knowledge that there was this hugely influential band in the 1970s that didn’t sell all that many records. This was just the sort of thing that music lovers, particularly fans of what used to be called college rock, knew, like they knew about the Velvet Underground.

I picked up Big Star’s three albums when they were reissued on CD in 1992. I remember the awe they put me in, particularly their astonishing third album, alternately known as Third and Sister Lovers.

Sister Lovers is a stunning musical achievement. I don’t think another album exists that is so majestic and yet so heartbreakingly human. From the rousing opening, “Kizza Me,” to the depths of despair of “Holocaust,” to the joy of “O, Dana” and “Stroke it, Noel,” to the delicate closing admonition to “Take Care,” Sister Lovers takes its listeners through the panoply of human emotion. It is an exhausting but hugely rewarding experience. It is also at the absolute pinnacle of rock and roll music, standing right up there next to works as towering as Exile on Main St. and London Calling.

My singling out of Sister Lovers should not be read in any way as denigrating Big Star’s first two albums, #1 Record and Radio City, which are classics as well (how did “September Gurls” not set the world on fire?). Big Star put out an amazing body of work, and it’s Hall of Fame worthy.

I made a decision not to seek out Chilton’s subsequent solo work. The reviews were, at best, mixed and I didn’t want to tarnish Chilton’s legacy in my mind. It must be said that seeing Chilton live sometime in the 1993-1994 area did not increase my desire to explore further. Now that he’s gone, I think I’ll dig around a bit in his solo stuff and the Big Star revival partially staffed by members of Big Star disciples the Posies. I’m sure there are some gems buried in there, and now I want to find them.

God bless you, Alex. Your music means the world to me and will so long as I live.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) eulogizes Alex Chilton on the floor of the House of Representatives

Big Star – “Nightime”

Big Star – “My Life is Right”

The Box Tops – “The Letter”


RIP, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse

March 7, 2010

Mark Linkous, prolific recording artist and main force behind the band Sparklehorse, has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 47.  Details can be found here.

Here’s “Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” from Sparklehorse’s great 2006 album Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain.

Sparklehorse – “Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away”


The American Idol-Stryper connection

March 6, 2010

(Cross-posted at Idolpundit.)

In news that almost made me regret slamming her performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” earlier this week, I have learned that American Idol season 9 contestant Siobhan Magnus’ uncle used to be in Stryper! This makes me so happy, it’s unbelievable. No, I’m not joking. To Hell With the Devil was one of my first three or four rock cassettes. (Sing “Calling on You,” Siobhan!)

My investigative journalism on this subject turned up another factoid or two. Did you know that…

…everybody’s favorite Season 4 contestant, Constantine Maroulis, once sang with Twisted Sister at the NYSE’s Christmas tree lighting celebration?

Also on the bill for what must have been an awesome Christmas concert…Stryper!

Do the connections end there? They do not.

Did you know that…

Randy Jackson once played bass on a cover of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s classic, “Shining Star?”

It was on a 1990 metal album called Against the Law.

An album by…Stryper!

I do not yet know what all of this means. In an effort to figure it out, I assembled this handy diagram to show the connections between Idol and Stryper. Whatever it is that’s going on here, I think it’s reasonably safe to conclude that Randy “The Emperor” Jackson is the epicenter–the Stryper Svengali. For good or for ill, I know not.

I shall investigate further.

Figure 1: The Idol-Stryper connection


And, yes. This is the sort of hard-hitting investigative journalism you’ve come to expect from Idolpundit On Deaf Ears.

–30–

Stryper – “Shining Star” (featuring an invisible Randy Jackson)

Twisted Sister with Constantine “Constantine” Maroulis – “I Wanna Rock”

[Note that Constantine, ever the class act, takes a cheap shot at Stryper at about 3:45.

Dear Constantine: You’re not fit to polish Stryper’s boots.

♥,

Gordon Winslow]

[Update: I have been assured by commenters that my interpretation of Constantine’s remarks was incorrect, and that no swipe at Stryper was intended. I regret the error.]

Stryper – “Calling on You”

Stryper – “To Hell With the Devil”


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