Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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A Sampling of Articles, Reviews, and Essays:

Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Sunday, February 13, 2005
 

Love Or Confusion

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991)

I was gonna skip this holiday. As a date to observe, can there possibly be more of a whiplash ride down memory lane? One that draws more mixed feelings? A day that juggles pleasure, pain, and indifference with such careless disregard?

A special Valentine's Day edition playlist: tonight's songs are drawn from my library with the following keywords in the title: love, lover, lovin', loving. No other filters, all genres included.

That means: no filter for 'happy' love songs, or sad. Perhaps there are millions, perhaps billions loveless on this day? So a salute to all who have love in their hearts or lives, and those without. Plenty of songs for both to share.

First ten songs randomly selected by the auto-playlist (from a pool of 1771 titles; a full one out of ten in my library have those keywords in the title) are profiled; Jam Tags, (1-5 stars) follow:

1. En Vogue: My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) *****
En Vogue: Funky Divas (1992)
Sexy, sultry, seductive, and sensual dance pop. I've not listened to a lot of dance pop, more by circumstance than by choice, but a hit is a hit. En Vogue possessed a very seductive intelligence to their sexxy female quartet sound. Well, who can resist? Not me. This sounds best after midnight. I do note that the randomplay made an unfortunate first choice for Valentine's Day. Ain't never gonna get it.

2. Barbara George: I Know (You Don't Love Me Anymore) ***
Barbara George: I Know (You Don't Love Me Anymore) (1962)
Third tier Barbara George was a soul/pop songstress in the early-60's in a similar vein to Mary Wells, but without the Motown label and backing. Here, she reveals a good, but unspectacular form that fails to grab you like the title promises. This was her only hit; she never placed another record on the charts. Another not-so-romantic tune for the day, I fear.

3. Wet Wet Wet: Love Is All Around *
Wet Wet Wet: Part One (1994)
There's absolutely no doubt that this is meant as romantic statement, this cover of the Troggs' 1968 classic. From a leading British boyband of the mid 90's. A fruity, over emotive vocal workout with gigantic air-pumped guitars building to a castle of whipped cream, noxious with propellent.

4. 10,000 Maniacs: To Sir With Love (live) ****
10,000 Maniacs: Few & Far Between [CD-SINGLE] (1993)
Okay, now I'll get silly. The original has always been an exalted guilty pleasure of mine, I'm almost embarassed to admit, but it's true. Natalie Merchant is also an exalted favorite of mine. And a visit from Michael Stipe from R.E.M. How could it miss? Lots of ways, but believe it or not this pays its respects, drips of romance, and avoids schmaltzing it up. Semi-rare.

5. Lou Reed: I Love You ****
Lou Reed: Lou Reed (1972)
Lou Reed always was a maddening guy to figure out. Sometimes decadent and duggy, other times literary and witty, sometimes a tough art-poet, sometimes an out-of-it-weirdo, sometimes a visionary, sometimes a huckster. So here is an uncertain attempt from his first solo album, with a million dollar melody, gritty guitar, 50 cent production, unknown except to fans to this day. It's sweet.

6. Crosby, Stills, & Nash: Turn Your Back On Love ***
Crosby, Stills, & Nash: Daylight Again (1982)
Crosby was barely there; most of the album has Art Garfunkel filling in. CSN hadn't had a hit in 5 years, collectively and apart, and the bills were getting due. Stills and Nash got started on an album without the troubled Crosby, who was at the height of his bizarre drug wigout. Miraculously, 2 top-40 singles came from this album, and this song, the album opener, has convincing bite to it. It ain't Deja Vu by a million miles, though.

7. Spiritualized: I Think I'm In Love ****
Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)
More great space-rock from our friends, Spiritualized. This opens like a Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd tune, and meanders. Then a pause, and we get the same general riffs in 3-D, with some tuneful organ backing and space slide-guitar and another groudbreaking riff to planetary stations elsewhere. This is the stuff to trance to, seekers of enlightenment. Love? Depends on you and your lovers' mindset, if you get my drift.

8. Lester Bangs & Birdland: I'm In Love With My Walls ***
Lester Bangs: Birdland With Lester Bangs (1998)
The late Lester Bangs was a great rock critic, one of the very first 'serious' ones. His stuff is good reading; I learned more about about music, and life as a fringe dweller on New York's lower East Side from him than I realize. Robert Christgau is a better critic, but Lester Bangs could write an entertaining yarn. His work appeared most frequently in the 70's rock mag Creem. How does his music sound? A lot like Pere Ubu, with whom he bummed around. He can't hold a candle to them, but the spirit is willing, and the execution convincing. For fans, only.

9. The dB's: A Spy In The House Of Love ****
The dB's: Like This (1984)
Jaunty synth-pop making use of the stolen Anais Nin title. A watered down ska with a Jagger-esque vocal and harsh 80's production keeping an irresistable synth interplay from getting as hooky as it wants to. Sweet little tune; but as bent as all the others.

10. Killdozer: Free Love In Amsterdam ****
Killdozer: 12 Point Buck (1987)
Postpunk-pregrunge stomper. The pre-grunge hard rock world of the late 80's is nearly forgotten, in light of what followed. A metallic dirge with the irresistable melody of a tragic sea chantey morphs into a busy mid-tempo instrumental stomp and back again. Stuff about 'Swingers' Clubs' and 'hash' and the like. Only for those of you whose Valentines Day encompasses everything, or fans of super doomy indie postpunk/metal of the 80's, like myself.

Ladies beware; I wouldn't trust a single one of those sentiments. It was all the random play; I swear it. "I Love How You Love Me" was number 11!

I didn't pick 'em. That's rock 'n' roll itself; a bag of ambivalence.

But the most romantic song ever has to be: In The Still Of The Night, by the Five Satins.
The Five Satins: In The Still Of The Night [reissue 45] (orig:1956)
 
Comments:
I really enjoy reading your blog! Hope you have a great Valentine's Day!
 
happy valentine's day! You picked some great ones today!
 
Thank you both kindly. Happy Valentines day to you too!
 
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