Nov 042012

I hate the “molasses cover.” HATE IT!

I’m not sure when this convention began, but that molasses-slow version of “Sweet Jane” from the 1980s by that Canadian band that recorded in a church is the first example of the phenomenon that made such a bad impression on me.

Why is it considered a good idea to cover a galloping or charging rock ‘n roll song at a third of the original’s speed? Was I previously not capable of getting the drama of the lyrics at the song’s original pace? Do artists think we’re, you know, “slow?”

I know some of you like Cowboy Junkies‘—that’s the band whose name I couldn’t remember—take on “Sweet Jane.” I can’t count that. Does the molasses cover EVER improve on the original?

I, most likely, dread your responses.

Oct 162012

Cheap Trick‘s “Surrender” is the greatest late-’70s pure power pop/new wave song ever. This from someone who also believes it’s possibly the “Secretariat’s 30-length Belmont Stakes victory” relative to any other song in any band’s career. This is a testament to the song’s strength as much as it is my lukewarm appreciation for anything else Cheap Trick has released.

Mr. Mod said this in the recent power pop song argument, which was funny to me, because I’d been thinking about examples of this in my own music appreciation and thought there might be a post in it. Consider this a new RTH Glossary term, which we’ll call One Song Awesome or the Cheap Trick Effect.

Examples, that is, of that one exception to the rule of personal taste. To be clear, I’m not talking about one-hit wonders: artists that really did only have one good or one successful song. I’m talking about substantial groups with a dedicated following who I really don’t like at all – except for one totally awesome track that kills. Everyone’s list would be different, of course. People might even have the same group on their lists, but not the same song (see Cheap Trick, “Surrender” vs. “I Want You to Want Me”).

Here are some of mine:

T. Rex: “20th Century Boy”

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Sep 172012

John, how many songs should George get?

I’m a 2per. So is George Harrison, and so is John Entwistle, and so is Dave Davies. That’s the term I’m slapping on a person in a band with a dominant songwriter who typically gets two of his songs included on each album among the principal songwriter’s songs. When I brought up the concept to E. Pluribus Gergley of RTH discussing who the best 2per is, he responded in his typically open-minded way that there’s nothing to discuss. It’s George Harrison. So I sat on the topic until I thought of a different angle on it.

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Sep 172012

In a recent If You Can’t Say Anything Nice post Mr. Moderator submitted a video that featured aging pop fluffer Robin McNamara accompanied by two very fine back-up dancers on either side. What immediately came to mind is, this guy is literally “Hot-Dogging.” Yes, I know the term is rather sophomoric but I think it aptly describes a man inserting himself between two backup singers. This is very useful ploy to prop up a singer lacking in talent, such as Mr. McNamara; however, some of our heroes have used it to class things up a bit. Case in point is David Bowie in the following clip from Live Aid. Not only is the front line all female (singers and saxophonist), he goes for full hot-dogging at the 1:50 mark.

In my last band we had a song called “All Girl Band,” which told the story of a guy forming an all-female backup band, presumably to make him look like a ladies man. While this may seem a little sexist it has brought success to The Cramps and, errr, Tony Orlando.


Are there any other examples of hot-dogging you would like to submit? Or is their perhaps a less graphic term you would like to suggest?

Sep 092012

Elephants Memory n. A record that fails to live up to it’s packaging. See here for background.

Ever come across an album that looked so cool in its packaging that you had to buy it—possibly without the slightest idea what the record would sound like? Maybe it was the album sleeve artwork. Maybe it was the title. Maybe it was the die-cut sleeve. Maybe the album sleeve’s font caught you eye. Most likely it was some combination of factors that landed this slab of vinyl a loving home.

Sometimes there is truth in packaging that delivers. Other times, you’ve bought yourself an Elephants Memory.

Apr 032012

Sandwich Effect

Listening to The Jam‘s great Setting Sons, which may be my fave by them. But it never really got the spotlight it deserved, did it — due to being sandwiched between their two legendary LPs, Sound Affects and All Mod Cons.

Sure, there were some hits on this, like “Eton Rifles,” and I could do without their version of “Heat Wave,” but whenever The Jam comes up no one ever seems to talk about this album. Why oh why?

Are there any other bands who have a “lost” album — one that seems softer and more vanilla in between the crunchier bookends? Maybe I should listen to Give ’em Enough Rope again???


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