Sep 242015

A friend of mine recently posted this song in his list of Favorite 100 Songs. As most of you know, I’m a fan girl; it’s one of my favorite songs but I hadn’t watched the video in years.

As true Rock connoisseurs, we have frequently discussed various bands’ visual styles. And while Abba is known for its sartorial excess, I think it’s time to take out those seam rippers and deconstruct their Look in this video.

It’s clear that there is no attempt at really playing music here. I mean, Benny’s boot heels are so high that he abandons the use of the piano pedals within the first few moments of the song. And as for the shoulder chains, if Bjorn’s guitar was really plugged in, wouldn’t they interfere with the amplification?

Additional questions that came to me: What is the meaning of Frida’s prominently-displayed fish pin? (I don’t know about you, but I think it clashes with the Glam Bohemian Cowgirl look she is sporting.) What is the symbolism of the chains? Is it time to bring back satin gaucho pants? As Benny is the only member of the group to wear lace cuffs, is he really the Barefoot Paul in the band? Is there any other Rock video which uses mirrored clothing to a greater degree?

I believe that there is a greater visual message being communicated to us through this video. Or is this look just further evidence that Abba is, as my friend eloquently put it, “Incredibly catchy, Eurovision-winning space aliens”?

Thank you.

Jul 072015

The mullet. The worst haircut of all time. What excuse can be made for sporting this atrocity? And on a Beatle, no less! I ask you: Is this the worst look ever sported by any Beatle, at any point in time? Was this a cool, cutting-edge look on Macca, before it filtered into the general population? Combining the mullet with the sleazy mustache brings the look down even further. I’m thinking, as far as Beatle looks goes, this is the bottom, the worst.

My goal here, however, is to be wrong. Can you find a photo of a Beatle sporting a worse hairdo than this? Can we, once and for all, determine the worst-ever style on John, Paul, George or Ringo?

Oct 192014

So the other day, I was listening to Rattus Norvegicus, which contains one of my favorite tracks, “(Get a ) Grip (on Yourself).” For a long time, I’ve liked this song but didn’t realize until a couple of years ago that it was the Stranglers. (I entered the Stranglers fray with Dreamtime, but worked my way back to La Folie, another of my favorite albums. Anyways, I digress.)

Because I spend too much time commuting, I get ideas about RTH posts in my head while I’m driving, but by the end of a long day with too much screen time, I don’t get around to writing down and researching a lot of my ideas. Here are a few thoughts I had while listening to this song and this album. Please feel free to pick up my slack and help me write this post.

  • Is Rattus Norvegicus one of the best and overlooked punk albums? I mean, it contains quintessential punk lyrics territory: violence (pro), sex (pro), anger (pro), poverty (con), religion (sarcastic con), government (con and more con).
  • Is there a place in a punk band for a keyboardist? (Especially, one duded up like depicted in this video…)
  • Did Mark E. Smith crib Hugh Cornwell’s sneer and style of vocalizing?
  • What kind of a wanker would use Latin for a punk album title?
  • Are there other songs that lose their titular punch by too many parentheses?
  • Isn’t a DIY post really punk?

Help me. Help us.

Jul 032014


I just saw this posted on a fellow musician’s FB page; he had added several NSFW comments.

I’m interested in your thoughts…

Jan 312014

Ok, I am outing myself as the frequent 2-space-after-a-period miscreant. [NOTE: The linked thread was previously private and able to be seen only by the eyes of RTH thread authors. Those who are weak of heart may want to avoid this thread altogether. – Mr Mod.] I am willing to go public about my history and difficulties with following the Mr. Moderator Rules of Spacing After Periods. I am willing to do this to

  1. Be transparent in this day and age of taking ownership for one’s public faux pas
  2. Promote further discussion and/or
  3. Incite a revolution.

For the years I have been writing for this blog, Mod has been bugging me off line about seeing the error of my ways, and calmly correcting my posts. Little did I know that Mr. Royale, in a very well kept to himself breach of marital fidelity, has been siding with Mod all along.

But enough of the Grammar and Punctuation Police.

How would this tight-ass set of rules—I mean common—understanding of spacing and punctuation, relate to the World of Rock?

Are there some Rules of Rock that you learned back in the day and now find out are just so outdated? Is there a (tight-ass) set of Rules of Rock that are just meant to be broken? Is there some band/musician/style of music/song that has helped you see the error of your ways?

I look forward to your responses.

Jan 232014
Hand over the, uh, belt.

Hand over the, uh, belt.

You know the rules for the Battle Royale: this is not a “Last Man Standing” affair, where the goal is to list as many of something as possible; no, in the Battle Royale, your job is to find the indisputable pinnacle — or, in this case, the nadir — of a particular category.

Here, we seek the absolute worst artist or band promo shot — one that is or was an undeniably awful choice for the intended “promotional” purpose. Only major or mid-tier-label recording artists need apply; I don’t want to see links to sites that collect bad promo shots from neighborhood goth or death metal bands, as humorous as those may be. Neither do I want to see album covers (sorry, Orleans!). No silly candids or stage shots. I want promo pictures, or photos clearly posed and taken for media outlets/rock magazines.

I’m starting things off with a tantalizing glimpse of hair metal B-listers Pretty Boy Floyd. Can you beat that?

As we say ’round these parts: hand over the belt!

I look forward to your responses.


Dec 122013
Steve Winwood's surprising late-career muttonchops.

Steve Winwood’s surprising late-career muttonchops.

I believe I noted, a month or two ago, in my thoughts on a PBS documentary on Jimi Hendrix, that I was floored by modern-day Steve Winwood’s muttonchops, which appeared alongside his few seconds of commentary. Of all musicians who prospered during the hippie era, Winwood was probably only second to Joni Mitchell in keeping a clean-shaven face. Although he kept his locks flowing, culturing a forelock in a nearly Veronica Lake fashion, I don’t recall ever seeing Winwood with facial hair in the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, or anytime during his solo career. Are Winwood’s Golden Years Muttonchops, in their natural gray state, the most surprising late-career Look addition in rock?


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