NEWSLETTER '07 #21!
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND UPON US; NEW RELEASES ARE NOT
ENTERTAINING LISTS TO KEEP YOU ENTERTAINED!
COOL JERKS PLAY GIG, WILL USE MONEY TO RENT CABANA ON FIRE ISLAND FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2008
Let's get right to it, shall we? Because as you can see, the headlines are lame.
NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES! (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE ALPHABETICAL BY ACCIDENT)
HERB ALPERT - RISE. Herb's 1979 comeback features the still-brilliant title track, with some other not-so-brilliant tracks that sound like anything from the chase scene from a Robert Urich TV special to background music for a David Copperfield plate-spinning extravaganza. If that's your sort of thing, then enjoy.
PERRY FARRELL'S SATELLITE PARTY - ULTRA PAYLOAD. There are few we find as annoying and repulsive as Perry Farrell. This could be his "Rhapsody In Blue" for all we know, but we'd still hate it, because Perry's an annoying Jewish rocker (we can get away with saying that because Sal is Jewish). Features some more annoying people, including Fergie, Flea, and the very dead but still annoying Jim Morrison.
R. KELLY - DOUBLE UP. We'll give this to him -- the man is popular. So who are we to judge such masterpieces as "Freaky In The Club" and "Pull Ya Hair"? For all we know, such great composers as Shostakovich and Carole Bayer-Sager also had bizarre liaisons with underage strumpets.
JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO - SCARRED. The legendary (yes, legendary) vocalist from the legendary (you heard us right, legendary) Concrete Blonde releases her long-awaited solo debut, and Sal is loving it. She's abandoned the Dracula-meets-Emiliano Zapata sounds that seemed to dominate the last two Concrete Blonde records for good ol' fashioned goodness in the guise of ballsy singer-songwriter fare. Also includes covers of Coldplay's "The Scientist" and a killer "All Tomorrow's Parties."
ROBERT POLLARD - CRICKETS. It's been at least two weeks since Robert Pollard put out a new record, so the fans are getting antsy. Features the usual drums made out of aluminum foil, amps running on C batteries, and vocals sung through a bullhorn. Low-fi and lovin' it!
SAL'S PICK OF THE WEEK! (WHICH TONY HASN'T HEARD YET)
RICHARD THOMPSON - SWEET WARRIOR. Truth be told, Richard Thompson releases records almost as quickly as Robert Pollard. The difference is that Sal loves Richard Thompson and hates Robert Pollard. Nonetheless, this new full-on electric record doesn't stray far from anything Richard's done before -- and that's a good thing. Smart lyrics, great hooks, and some of the greatest guitar playing you'll hear this side of Ace Frehley (you know that's a joke, right?).
NOT THAT WE'RE FORCING YOU, BUT WE'D LOVE IT IF YOU ORDERED SEVERAL OF THESE FINE, NAY ESSENTIAL, COMPACT DISC RELEASES. YOU MAY DO SO BY CALLING (212) 244-3460 OR, IF YOU HAVE A COMPUTER, EMAILING US.
and now, for your reading pleasure...
TEN SONGS THAT PISS US OFF!
Before we get to the list, we should mention that these are by no means our ten least favorite songs, or what we think are the ten worst songs ever recorded. No, these are songs that, when we hear them, stick in our craws like a sesame seed gets stuck in a dental bridge. The songs that, half an hour after we hear them, still leave us muttering to themselves "How could somebody have not pointed out how annoying this song/line/word/verse/chorus is? Why must we be tormented like this?!" The fact that just about all these songs were big hits, and thus inescapable on the radio and/or MTV, also adds to the pissing-us-off factor.
10. MY LOVE - Paul McCartney & Wings. It's hard to believe that a mere four years before this was recorded, Paul was working on Abbey Road. But it's the lyrics -- the chorus, specifically -- that really puts it over the top for us. "Whoa whoa whoa whoa," Paul meaningfully intones, "whoa whoa whoa whoa. My love does it good." We don't think he ever would have had the guts to play it for Lennon had the Beatles still been a going concern in '73. The guitar solo isn't bad. We still hate the song. (Actually, "we" means Tony. Sal thinks it's very good, especially the guitar solo, which he thinks not only isn't "isn't bad," but is excellent.)
9. THE BEST- Tina Turner. Tina Turner had a much-deserved comeback in the 80's. We all read about her terrible life with Ike, and we embraced her every move after her not-bad remake of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" topped the charts. Unfortunately, the downhill slide began with the atrocious "We Don't Need Another Hero," from a Mad Max movie. (Why was that a hit?) But, the nadir of Miss Turner's existence is "The Best." (Actually, the nadir of her existence was probably getting beaten by Ike. But you know what we mean.) "You're simply the best/better than all the rest/better than anyone...." Uh..."better than you two over there/ and uh....better than that woman with with the baby stroller....and uh....better than all the rest...oh, said that already." We get it. It IS called "The Best," for Pete's sake. Oh, the irony.
8. I DON'T WANT TO WAIT - Paula Cole. This one pisses us off for one line, pretty much: "Say a little prayer for I." What the hell is that? Since Paula Cole's not a Rasta, we can only conclude that she was too lazy to come up with a line that rhymed with "Say a little prayer for ME." "Damn, what the hell rhymes with 'me'? Ahhh, screw it -- 'Say a little prayer for I.' " The fact that this song was not only a monster hit, staying on the charts for a full year, but also became the opening theme for Dawson's Creek, means that we still hear it every now and then ten years after the fact, which leads us to conclude that the gods hate us. N.B. Tony once saw Paula eating lunch in the West Village, and seriously contemplated dumping his chicken salad on her head.
7. ALMOST BLUE- Elvis Costello. A great song from a great songwriter and one of our all time faves. Period. So, why does it piss us off? One word: "this." Where is it? In the line, "Flirting with THIS disaster became me." The phrase is "flirting with disaster," not "this disaster." It is a speed bump in an otherwise beautiful attempt at a modern day standard. Costello is clever. "Do I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches," from "New Amsterdam. BRILLIANT! But it is not necessary to be cute everytime. We all know that Elvis Costello is no flash in "this" pan, so, maybe we'll let him slide. Still, very cringe-making.
6. WHO WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL - Jewel. Back in the mid '90s, it seemed like Jewel could do no right, cranking out one horrific, annoying single after another -- all of which stormed the VH-1 playlists and the Hot 100. But her first was the worst. "Who Will Save Your Soul" features Jewel folkily crooning, growling like a blueswoman (albeit a white blueswoman from Alaska), and cooing like a six-year-old, all within the twelve seconds or so of the insufferable chorus. Preachy lyric plus annoying singing plus dull melody equals pissed off Tony & Sal.
5. CROCODILE ROCK - Elton John. Elton's vast output has its merits, of course But damn, this song pisses us off. We assume it was intended as a '50s rock and roll pastiche, but it removes all the passion and excitement that characterized the music and leaves in all the lame crap, like the sub-Frankie Valli chorus. It's like an episode of Happy Days set to music, but not the good early episodes. This is like one of those later episodes from 1980, where everyone has the blow-dried disco haircuts even though it's supposed to be 1962, and whenever Chachi walks on the set all the girls scream and applaud for about four minutes. That's what this song is like.
4. EVERYBODY HURTS - R.E.M. R.E.M. is one of our very favorite bands. Tony is even a member of the fan club. But oh lordy, does this song piss us off. On what's otherwise one of the best albums of the '90s (Automatic For The People), Michael Stipe whines and screeches his way through a trite self-help lyric and a shopworn melody. Stipe is an excellent frontman, but he should never, never try to make like a soul singer. Would you want to hear Solomon Burke singing about legumes or Cyrus Vance? Didn't think so.
3. UNDER THE BRIDGE- Red Hot Chili Peppers. For four albums, the Chili Peppers rocked and funked and kicked our butts with their unique brand of James Brown-meets-Funkadelic-at-a
2. DIRTY LAUNDRY--Don Henley. How do we hate this song? Let us count the ways. "KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE UP! KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE DOWN! KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE UP! KICK'EM ALL AROUND!" Let's start with that. Then throw in the super-cheesy 80's production that's so dated it makes a Rudy Vallee 78 sound more current, and of course, Henley's delivery of the line, "Bubble-headed bleach-blonde," and what you have is a musical ipecac.
and the #1 song that pisses us off...
1. ZOMBIE - The Cranberries. Sinead O'Connor's first two records weren't so amazing that we needed a replacement when she decided to give up music and become a lesbian Rasta nun. But Dolores O'Riordan felt different, and her irritating brogue was heard on the radio and in department stores throughout the mid '90s. We still can't decide what's more annoying, the chorus ("In yer heee-eead! In yer heee-eee-eee-eead! Zah-ham-beh! Zah-ham-beh! Zah-ham-beh!") or the fact that it appealed to everyone from age 6 to 65. What's wrong with you people?!
HONORABLE MENTION FOR SONG WE LIKE THAT STILL PISSES US OFF FOR REASONS WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SONG ITSELF:
I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) - James Brown. This one is obviously a great song, but it pisses us off because for a while in the '80s, it was used in the trailer for every lame comedy film that Hollywood spewed out. So, almost 20 years later, we can't hear it without also hearing a voiceover in our heads saying "He's a rich stockbroker with a thing for race cars. She's a sexy mechanic with a filthy mouth. Judge Reinhold and Shelley Long star in..."
New releases from BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, CHRIS CORNELL, BIG $ RICH, and that stinker from PAUL McCARTNEY!
And mark your calendars -- our next holiday list, which will come out the week of Flag Day, will be our ten favorite songs with the word "spatula" in the lyrics. Future holiday lists will include Tony's ten favorite songs to listen to while eating dumplings, our ten favorite records by major league umpires, and 25 reasons why we need another nail salon on the Upper West Side.
If you're staying in the city this weekend, cherishing all that parking space and getting a seat at Isabella's, start the night right by catching Sal's fantastic new band, THE COOL JERKS, featuring Sal doing what he does best! And what's that, you may ask? You gotta show up to find out! But it definitely involves bacon. (Hey, when the rest of the Cool Jerks write a newsletter, they can call it their band.) TONIGHT AT AN BEAL BOCHT!
UNTIL NEXT WEEK, WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS:
All you Met fans, don't get cocky. It's early.
Art Shamsky & Ed Charles