Nov 102010

I’d never heard of Style Council‘s short film Jerusalem until the other day, when Townsman misterioso suggested that we see if we can’t say anything nice  about it. Because this is likely to be one of the most difficult assignments that I have ever faced, I won’t even begin to watch this 4-part series of YouTube clips until after I’ve launched the post. As some of you may recall, I have already found Style Council (and Paul Weller, in particular) guilty of Rock Crimes. This film can’t be good news for his parole officer, but I’ll be…nice

Here’s what had to say about this film:

The one that’ll leave you wondering the most, though, is ‘JerUSAlem’. Those who have seen it already will probably recall the slightly bewildering feeling one experiences when it’s viewed for the first time. Whilst I won’t admit to understanding it fully, visually it’s aged very well. The clips of the band roaring into the village square on their scooters still pleases, as do the performances of ‘It Didn’t Matter’ and ‘Heavens Above’ in particular. Whether you get it or not, it’s nice to own it and finally be able to pass judgement on it. It’s not brilliant, but it’s not entirely bad either.

Note how they manage to find something nice to say. Let’s see if we can’t follow their lead. Parts 2 through 4 follow…after the jump!

Continue reading »

Nov 072010

I just finished reading Lavinia Greenlaw‘s The Importance of Music to Girls, a memoir of her years between the early ’60s to the early ’80s. She does a very nice job of describing the development of her musical and style interests, and the parallel understanding of her self. In a chapter entitled, “Separation and Contrast,” which starts with a quote by Goethe from A Theory of Colors, she describes this sea change of a clip by The Jam from 1977’s Marc show:

While Bolan lounged on a fluffy pink throne, the Jam posed rigidly – black suits, white shirts, black ties, black-and-white shoes – in front of a plain black background. Clean-shaven, short-haired, and with emphatic estuary accents, the Jam played “All Around the World,” and here was a speeded-up, pared-down sound that I knew could take me farther and faster than any boy in his car. Bolan cooed and drawled but the Jam shouted: “All around the world I’ve been looking for new…” I was looking for new and it lay in such collisions and detonations and two-minute songs, and in a new kind of color.

I was shocked when I watched this clip. What a perfect embodiment of a shift in English music! And one that clearly influenced Ms. Greenlaw’s sense of the world and herself. She describes shifting from an early adolescent world of discos and bright colors to a greater understanding of some of the contrasts in England at that time.

Did you have an experience or experiences like this? Were there music, films, or videos that made you realize that the world was fundamentally different than you thought and therefore your sense of self was as well?

I look forward to learning more about you.

Nov 072010

I’ve never been a fan of The Jam‘s “Eton Rifles” (or any of Paul Weller’s soccer-chant songs, for that matter), but its middle eighth, which first appears at about the 1:24 mark of this clip, is—for me—the song’s saving grace. This song would be a constant needle-lifter on my favorite Jam album, Setting Sons, if not for that part. I like it that much.

Is there a song you would never listen to again if not for one worthwhile moment?

Jan 232009


Long before Paul McCartney and Wings put out an album of the same name, the idea of a band on the run ties into rock’s rebel spirit as well as the earlier tradition of the bluesman with hellhounds on his trail. Although rock artists often sing of being on the run – from The Man, hellhounds, adoring fans, what have you – they rarely agree to be filmed running. Lately I’ve been scouring YouTube to find videos showing actual rock musicians in the act of running. It’s been tough finding all but a handful of clips that my fading memory could remember from the days when MTV and VH1 actually played music videos. Even that wildly popular OK Go video, although choreographed for treadmill, includes no running. The results are mixed, but I think the results of my survey will satisfy any lingering questions you might have over the marriage of rock music and running. Take your time with this one; we may need all weekend.

Let’s start this examination of bands on the run with arguably the greatest of rock running videos.

NEXT: Arguably the greatest of rock running videos!


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