What a Fool Believes turned 666 today!
Bruce Springsteen: “Dancing in the Dark”
I think this has happened before. Will happen again. Is forever happening. The thing with Courtney Cox. I think this video is the lone recorded visual evidence of a recurring scenario. The Boss goes to a town, rocks it for, like, half a day or whatever, and during that half-day of rock and roll, he pulls someone up on stage during “Dancing in the Dark” and they dance. And then that person becomes someone. It’s like a baptism. And throughout the 80s, The Boss went to various towns and pulled up what would become the cast of Friends. And various others before and after. Not just actors but someones from all walks of life. Like Mark Zuckerberg, maybe. That’s a bad example, ‘cause, like, NO, but let’s roll with it anyway: Zuck gets dumped, sees The Boss, finds out about the Vander Vossen der Faarfrumgrooven twins idea, creates Facebook.
It might just as often be metaphorical, this scenario and its mystical processes. As in sometimes there’s the literal “Dancing in the Dark” dance and other times Bruce is “there” and the two of you are “dancing.” I don’t know all the intricacies. Who can? The Boss works in mysterious ways.
I guess what I’m getting at is if The Boss offers you his hand, fucking take it.
Bradford Cox’s score for the documentary Teenage is heavy on sparkling, looping compositions. ”Dream Logic” and “Doctor October” are what you might expect from him going in: the former a jaunty track indebted to 50s/60s rock and roll, with a dreamy, modern finish that recalls Halcyon Digest's “Memory Boy,” the latter a decayed piece of bebop you could have heard on an Atlas Sound record. While Cox's score shows some 50s/60s influence, when the teenage culture really began to establish itself, the compositions are modern, not soundtracking generations accurately, but representing the concept of the teenager, regardless of era, with a bubbly now-ness.
"Kate," a song on the soundtrack, sticks out for two reasons: its vocals and its post-punk sound—which recalls the Bush Tetras and Siouxsie and the Banshees. For the first few listens of Teenage, I actually thought this was written by Cox and sung by a different vocalist. I was really impressed with him for nailing the early-80s, NYC-post-punk sound. But I was totally wrong. It sounds so authentic because it’s a song from 1980 by a 12-year-old(!!!) named Chandra Oppenheim. Using her first name only for her nom de guerre, Chandra released her sole album, Transportation, in 1980, with “Kate” as its single. While “Kate” sounds of its era—not a bad thing—it provides a striking, welcome dose of teenage attitude (and jealousy) to the soundtrack, thanks to its style and Chandra’s spiky delivery.
Cantor Records reissued Transportation, in 2008, but it appears to have been a limited release and, thus, tricky to track down. However, you can stream it in its entirety on YouTube. If you like the aforementioned Bush Tetras and Siouxsie and the Banshees, or ESG, or the New York Noise compilation from Soul Jazz Records, I recommend checking it out. There’s also a nice little interview from The Fader, published back in 2009, with the now-40-something Chandra.
Catherine Wheel: “Black Metallic”
BIG TIME SENSUALITY
Real Estate: “Crime”
On Atlas, the haze that once blanketed Real Estate has cleared out, the remaining reverb coating their winding guitar lines clean and warm. There’s a definite mid- to late-80s Feelies vibe. Only Real Estate never had the perpetual nervousness—at least sonically. They’ve always seemed resigned. More so on Atlas, where the greater resignation brings a melancholy that provides more depth than their previous releases. Maybe that melancholy is how the country seeps in. Other than the tighter production, the most significant change to the band is the subtle country influence that becomes more pronounced as the album progresses. It’s a nice addition that could lead to further changes in the future. You know, if they’re into it.
"Crime" is the band’s best song yet. It’s the first of theirs to immediately grab me. I’ve always found there to be a sneaky quality to the band. Many of their songs initially come across as merely pleasant. However, they secretly find a place in my head and linger, softly reminding me of themselves until I re-listen. "Crime" demanded my attention from the get-go. The guitar tab video is perfect. It’s those guitars, one strumming along happily, the other bobbing and weaving, that own this song. Although whatever’s happening lyrically is somewhat of an afterthought, Martin Courtney knows where to string his vocals so that it compliments those guitars. They’ve included an instrumental on each album, but, even if the guitars are Real Estate’s strength, Courtney’s reserved tone completes the band’s sound.
Outside the Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle, New York, NY
A college-aged male Children International volunteer solicits passersby.
CIV: (To a passing woman with a large Home Goods shopping bag.) Hey Miss I-Love-Shopping-at-Home-Goods, do you have a moment for the children?
Woman ignores volunteer.
CIV: (To a passing woman typing a text message on her phone.) Hey Miss I-Like-to-Text, do you have a moment for the children?
Woman ignores volunteer.
CIV: (To a passing man with a salad from Whole Foods in hand.) Hey Mr. I-Like-Whole-Foods-Salad, do you have a moment for the children?
Man: (Stops. Angry.) Excuse me?
CIV: Uh, do—
Man: Don’t whimsically solicit me as if my name was whatever superficial aspect of my person you noticed. Show me some respect. And show some respect for these children you’re supposedly trying to help.
Man: Address me straight. Say, “Excuse me, sir?” Then, if I respond, you ask, “Do you have money to donate to Children International?” Ok? Do you understand that?
Man: Then try it.
CIV: Ok… (Sighs.) Excuse me, sir?
CIV: Do you have money to donate to Children International?
CIV: Are you serious?
Man: They can’t all live.
Man continues walking. Volunteer looks around in shock.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
St. Vincent: “Digital Witness”
As much as I’m loving St. Vincent, which is a lot, as it’s an early Album of the Year candidate, I can’t help but wish that Annie Clark (and/or the album producer John Congleton) didn’t go with that thin, digital drum sound. I get that it’s probably part of the point, a nod to the lyrical themes. Still, I’d love it if the kit had the same muscle as her guitar.
The NCAA basketball finals, held last night, were watched by over 18 million people at their peak. That’s 6% of the U.S....