New releases April 21st; anti-Beatles matter; best gay anthem ever?
Every Tuesday Itune changes my life: I go through the new releases, buy ten to fifteen songs, tuesday evening buy another couple from people’s whose songs I liked and by Saturday decide whether I want to invest in the entire album.
So here’s this weeks round up:
It is more than possible Pet Shop Boys is the best band still around from the ’80s. Every two years or so they bring out a new, ridiculously consistent, synth-pop album; every coupla years I catch em at the Radio City Music Hall. Better then Erasure, nowhere near the revival circuit where ABC, Berlin and Human League live, less ambitous true, yet hitting their mark much more often than U2, you just gotta love these guys. The new album is “Yes,” I bought “Love, Etc,” and “All Over the World” and love em both but “Love, etc.” is better. I’m pretty certain the album will be worth the price of admission.
Latest on a long list of bands I don’t like but probably should is Sonic Youth -the progenitors of indie rock and the immediate forefathers of folks I do like such as Yo La Tengo and Pavement (“Slanted And Enchanted” is very sonicy), yet even their poppier stuff leaves me unmoved. So does the discordant single “Sacred Trickster” off their upcoming album.
Some new stuff from the Breeders: “The last Time” sounds like a proforma version of Lou Reed’s “Perfect day” and “Fate To Fatal” sounds like the Breeders -which is alright by me.
They aint the Ramones but they aint Blink 182 either. I saw Green Day (opening for velvet Revolver for some reason i can’t remember) on the “American Idiot” tour and thought they were very OK but no more than very OK. Liked the album as well. The new single “Know Your Enemy” is awesome, a beautiful little rocker that promises very well for the upcoming album.
I see no reason at all to like Dave Matthews. I can’t get into his voice, don’t enjoy his songs “Funny the Way It is”, single off upcoming album, has a crap lyric and a pleasant instrumental bridge. Like Peter Perret once said: you don’t have to be straight to be narrow.
They’ve been promoting Asher Roth as the great white hip hop hope and “I Love College” was a lotta fun. “Be By Myself” with Cee-lo is infinitely forgettable, “Blunt Cruisin'” is worse and unless there’s another “College,” and despite it being # 1 in the Itunes album charts, “Asleep In the Breadline” is gonna be one great white hip hop hopeless.
How much reassurance do young girls need? Well, here’s a little more off Miley Cyrus’ soundtack to her movie because life IS “The Climb” isn’t it? “Hoedown Throwdown”-a do-si-do- was, i bet, a fun moment in the movie and it is a pleasant enough trifle. “Crazier” by Taylor Swift is not her greatest moment.
The biggest disappoint of the week is Jasper Cocker’s (of the late and very lamented Pulp) worst song ever “Angela”. I saw him last time in town and thought he was fabulous thought the album was nothing much but “Angela” is plain dreadful: nothing that made him such a beloved figure in the 90s is on view here.
What I know about Hanson can be written on a stamp (the letters would be: MMMBOP), but the cute one is lead singer for “Supergroup” Tainted Windows along with the least interesting members of Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains Of Wayne (did anybody else see “Cry Baby” on broadway? Ugh). Well, ive got two songs ,”Cha Cha” and “Kind Of A Girl,” and they are both pleasant enough power-pop but that’ll do nicely, thanks.
Finally, on the new releases front: Scottish band Primal Scream have a clutch of brilliant albums ranging from Stoney-sy “Give Out But Don’t Give In” (try Rod Stewarts knock out cover of “Rocks” sometime) to experimental electronica “Vanishing Point” to a mix of both “XTRMNTR ” and the new one seems back to hard rock… “Can’t Go back” and the title track “Beautiful Future” find Bobby Gilliespie in fine form. Now, I’m gonna invest in a tix to see em at Webster Hall if I’m not too late.
I’ve been thinking about doing a (brief, like everything else) over view of George Harrison’s solo career and till I decide to came up with the anti-Beatles: McCartney’s a smarmy shit; Lennon an arrogant bastard; Harrison a sanctimonious cunt; Starr a talentless bum!
Finally, back to the Pet Shop Boys and a question, is their cover of the Village People’s “Go West” the greatest gay anthem ever? I was listening to the People’s original and while both version are Utopian gay dreams, Tennant’s vocal connects better -his voice is high and twee and for “Go West”‘s call to disassociate from straight America (the subtext of so much VP material: even their uber-male drag is an alternative to the straights) better than the strident soul vocals of the original.
As gay anthems go the problem with “I Will Survive” is it’s not specific enough and the problem with “YMCA” is it’s too camp. “Go West” is very moving when Tennant slows it down and very anthemic till the break (a horn blowing the lovely lick before the drum machine drops back in) ends and takes you to the conclusion. On the album, 1993’s excellent “Very” (when it comes to the Pet Shop Boys “excellent” appears to be a gimme) there is three minutes of silence followed by a lovely minute long instrumental: another boy, another planet.