Jun 112011

Following up on the recent Phil Spector thread… I will posit this:

Instant Karma” is TOTALLY overrated.

The reasons: the drum sound is horrible and sloppy, like they couldn’t get drums but decided to bang on big cardboard boxes. Lennon’s Elvis-like singing, which is a big smirk. The lame piano playing, as if Billy Preston forgot the soul that made him Billy Preston. Harrison on guitar? Is the guitar plugged in? And the overall production and playing is sloppy — it sounds like a demo, and not a demo tinged with wonder (The Modern Lovers come to mind) but a demo they were obviously too high to do another take on. You can actually hear them lagging behind and trying to catch up. And did I mention the drumming, which has some of the worst — THE WORST — fills in the known musical world.

I know the whole “written for breakfast, put out for dinner” mystique — but it’s bad. And don’t get me started on the song itself: bumper sticker lyrics with no melody. The song goes nowhere except to get to the big chorus — oh wow, the manager is singing along too. And the hand claps — the lame hand claps.

If anyone but Lennon had put this out, it would never have seen the light of day. It’s trite ’70s coked-up crap.

Thank you and goodnight.

Jun 102011

Because of the series in which this post is being framed I run the risk of being perceived as inflammatory for no good reason—or naive or even outright idiotc. I like my share of Phil Spector‘s works; own his box set, Back to Mono; and know more than enough about his influence on The Beach Boys and beyond, including the reach of his studio cats, The Wrecking Crew.  That said, I am tempted to call bullshit on Spector and his Wall of Sound, or maybe more accurately the degree to which it’s praised.

I unabashedly like probably a baker’s dozen Phil Spector productions. The Ronettes were the best of the bunch who worked under him. Ronnie Spector has personality out the whazoo. The Crystals had some winners. He cowrote “Spanish Harlem,” which is, as Lenny Bruce put it, “so pretty, man!” His Christmas album is charming, although a couple of years ago I had my fill of it and have done my best to leave the house whenever my wife wants to play it by the yuletide. Like a lot of Spector’s work, it grows cloying over repeated listens.

Continue reading »

Jun 082011

Rolling Stone magazine, after giving Lady Gaga crap for selling 440,000 of her 1.1million CDs last week through Amazon.com at a slashed price of $0.99 (for the whole record, not a single), are now giving her crap for only selling 74,000 this week (all at $10–$18 per disc, I assume). And it’s STILL #1.

I also think it’s cheating. So is a “free download” with your concert ticket (a-hem..Bon Jovi, Prince) or a CD included in the local newspaper (guilty again, Prince), although the claim on all three is that they charged the full rate on their end and there is no law against a loss-leader at the retail level.

So Gaga sells Born This Way to Amazon for $9.00 and Amazon instead of selling it for $11.99 sells it for $0.99. $8.01 loss per downloaded record x 440,000 = $3.5 million dollars. That’s a big single-day loss!

OK, Maybe they got the “Gaga Special” and paid only $6 per download – $0.99 = $5.01 x 440,000 = $2.2 million dollars. Still a big loss. Can’t see that being the whole story.

I smell a rat. Continue reading »

May 042011

Man, this was tough for me to sit through, simply because it was so boring. I confess: at the 1:18 mark I had to skip forward a bit. How long can you last? 

Roky Erickson couldn’t seem less committed to his own bullshit. Around the 2:20 mark he’s asked if he’s ever met Bob Dylan. You don’t need to be a poker player to get a read on the veracity of his answer, do you?

Apr 222011

Draw the line.

In a recent Dugout Chatter question regarding The Rolling Stones‘ “Emotional Rescue” and “Start Me Up,” Townsman bostonhistorian countered a cop-out charge by quickly cementing his place as Mr. Moderator’s Newest Hero. Although Mr. Mod is well aware that this is may not be a title to which many Townspeople aspire, he felt the rock ‘n roll record needed to acknowledge bostonhistorian’s complete dismissal of the Stones’ post 1970 career with a posting of his full opinion on The Main Stage. This dramatic turn of events can be  traced beginning here. The astounding final blow of bostonhistorian’s defense follows:

For real. They should have packed it up after Altamont and the release of Let It Bleed, which both happened in December of 1969. Think about this: what if the last thing anyone ever heard out of the Rolling Stones was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and then think about the self-parody which follows. Does anything after Let It Bleed add to their reputation, or diminish it? There’s nothing on Exile as good as the best songs off Let It Bleed, and Let It Bleed also had a tiny bit of cultural relevance. After that, it’s a haze of drugs and navel gazing. I’ve gone on the record as characterizing Mick’s vocals on Exile as Amos and Andy-like, and I find the whole album turgid. Of course Mick and Keith could still write songs, but to what end?

“I admire not only the panache of bostonhistorian’s definitive stance on the subject,” said Mr. Moderator, while departing his colonial home for a drive into the office this morning, “but its moral underpinnings.”

Mr. Moderator went on to add that although he feels the Stones produced another half dozen highly worthy songs following Altamont, including a few from the band’s years matched up against prime Rod Stewart and perhaps his second-favorite Rolling Stones song, “Beast of Burden,” he fully backs the spirit of bostonhistorian’s opinion and is “admittedly deeply envious” of his staking out this position first.


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