[ Friday, November 11, 2005 ]
Good'uns and business cards
So, today we revisit two continuing threads from entries past, both the ever-popular grad school good'uns and (less common but just as beloved) potential business-card lines for yours truly. Nothing too significant, but good for a few larfs on a Friday. (Which may just be the meaning of life...)
-"Alright, enough of this academic mumbo jumbo." (Amen, brother...
-"Um...okay, that's what I was originally asking, but then I started talking and everything went wrong."
-"You know, for a smart guy, you're a total fucking dumbass."
-"He thinks he's a gangster, but he's really just a total cheeseball."
On the box right now: Kanye West, LATE REGISTRATION. Gotta write a blurb on this for a year-end issue of HARP, and I'm realizing once again just how much I enjoy it.
Dove With Claws [9:29 AM]
[ Thursday, November 10, 2005 ]
You're listening to what? Seriously?
Strange happenings in Hughes' music universe the past couple weeks. A couple really smart friends are trying a Neil Diamond reclamation project on me. Now, I've always liked some of his work, and his mid-1960s songwriting work is unassailable (after all, the motherfucker wrote "Solitary Man," for God's sake), but - like many of my contemporaries, I feel - I've been so inundated for so long with open-shirt, big-hair, sappy-and-stupid, grunt-and-groan Neil that it's difficult for any other picture to replace the image of that fuckin' "America" song from THE JAZZ SINGER.
Anyway, two albums are definitely changing my opinion. One is his new album, 12 SONGS, produced by Rick Rubin. Now, Rubin's production is notoriously humorless, and this is no exception, but the songs are really good, the performances are nicely understated, and it's nice that Diamond is finally given the sonic environment to sound like the serious singer/songwriter he is. (Rubin's production actually helps this significantly.) It's a very good record, with a couple really stand-out cuts.
The other album is AND THE GRASS WON'T PAY NO MIND, the album he made in 1967 at Memphis' American Studios. American, for those who don't know, was one of the most impressive hit-factory studios of all time, with success ranging from country to soul. Great house band, great producers, et cetera. Anyway, Diamond went there and cut an album that features some of his best-known songs ("Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," "Sweet Caroline") and some nice album tracks that find him traversing American's well-worn path between country, gospel, soul, folk and rock and roll. Even though "Sweet Caroline" is perhaps beyond my reasonable attempts to reclaim it from the image (except, of course, when Kenneth Burns sings it), any fan of good mid-60s stuff should check out this record. And I ain't kiddin'.
So, anyway, long story short: after years of paying absolutely no attention to Neil Diamond (except, literally, for "Solitary Man," "I'm A Believer" and "Come Dry Your Eyes"), I now have two
Neil Diamond albums in my current rotation. The world is crazy, eh? Good times never felt so good.
On the box right now: Neil Diamond, AND THE GRASS WON'T PAY NO MIND.
Dove With Claws [8:47 AM]
[ Tuesday, November 08, 2005 ]
-Sen. Barack Obama was fantastic on THE DAILY SHOW last night. Sincere, funny, politically savvy, and very cool. This guy's a comer, I tell ya, this guy's a comer.
-Looks like Democrats won both governorships they were vying for tonight (New Jersey and Virginia). Yet another (very welcome) setback for the Bush administration, who put particular stock in winning the closely-fought Virginia race. Congrats, Govs. Corzine (NJ) and Kaine (VA).
-Yesterday, in the office, my office-mate used the word "dingleberry," and I - separate from this - made a small-penis joke at his expense. Yes, my friends, professionalism at its very apex.
-Really like Bun B's new single "Pushin," Beyonce's new single "Check On It" (feat. Slim Thug), and Marcos Hernandez' new single "If You Were Mine."
-Sunday's season finale of EXTRAS, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant of THE OFFICE, was easily the best episode of that very good show. Like THE OFFICE's best moments, this episode combined gut-shakingly funny shit with surprisingly emotional content. Gervais/Merchant are really, really good at that juxtaposition, and I hope that there'll be more of EXTRAS (or something else) to further prove this.
-Words that, for some reason, I can't stop saying in recent weeks: "savvy" and "perfect storm"
On the box right now:Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, MOMENTS FROM THIS THEATRE. Majestic, magisterial, magic...
Dove With Claws [9:06 PM]
[ Sunday, November 06, 2005 ]
Y'all make sure to watch the premiere of BOONDOCKS tonight on Cartoon Network (10 PM Central time). I can't say that I guarantee
it'll be funny, but I do know that I trust creator Aaron Magruder to do something exemplary about as much as I trust anybody.
If y'all haven't been reading the BOONDOCKS comic strip, you're really missing out. Some of the best, strongest statements on race, politics and America are made every week in those panels, and - unlike some righteously-motivated satire - BOONDOCKS is also really fuckin' funny. I hope the TV show follows suit, and I have no reason to doubt it will.
On the box right now: A mish-mash of the best tracks from three albums: Faith Evans, THE FIRST LADY; Don Rich, BAYOU SOUL; and North Mississippi All-Stars, ELECTRIC BLUE WATERMELON.
Dove With Claws [8:52 AM]