22 September 2023

22 September 2023 - Sky Ferreira - I Blame Myself

Free Sky Ferreira.

In 2013, she released her first album, Night Time, My Time, which was excellent.  This was the second single off the album, which is about Sky's public image - and her taking control and ownership of that (even though this wasn't a single chosen by her to follow "You're Not The One").

It's a great pop song.

So she recorded a second album, Masochism, which she finished in 2015.  

Depending on who you talk to, Capitol Records or Sky Ferreira are holding up the release of this album, which was due in 2015, 2018, and then 2022.  

It's been so delayed that, in August, fans bought a billboard in Times Square to ask for her freedom from Capitol Records.

Well, we hope to hear the new album soon, but in the meantime, she's got her first album's music to sustain us.  

No, we're serious.  She hasn't disappeared.  She's performing.  This is from July of this year.  And her voice is still strong.

21 September 2023

21 September 2023 - Kansas - Portrait (He Knew)

This song is prog rock at its finest.

Written by Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh, this song was featured on the band's fifth album, the huge hit Point of Know Return.  It is the single that had the job of following the band's huge hit, "Dust in the Wind".  

What better way to follow that song with Biblical references than with a song about Albert Einstein?

The song is absolutely huge, starting off with a vaguely orchestral opener, with straight-ahead rock and violin in the main part - and a frenzy of hard rock in the third act.  It did end up getting radio airplay, and I just heard it in the grocery store the other day, so you know it had impact.  

This version is from the band's 1978 live double album Two For The Show and is, in my humble opinion, the definitive version. 

Famously, Steve Walsh left Kansas in 1981 due to creative differences, and was replaced by John Elefante - an excellent vocalist in his own right who did Walsh proud with his version of this classic song. 

Walsh returned to the band in 1985, and the band went through various lineup changes.  This was a verison in 1992 that included a lot of the original band, but lacked Livgren - who had been in and out for a while.

Walsh didn't quite have as huge a voice as he once did, but he didn't do badly.

When I saw Kansas in 2012, Steve Walsh had lost his voice completely and could not hit these notes.  So, he adapted.  

He would retire soon after.  

In 2014, Ronnie Platt would take over as Kansas vocalist and remains so to this day - and yes, they are releasing new music, still.

In 2018, the band toured in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Point of Know Return by performing the album in its entirety.  And it was really good.  

20 September 2023

20 September 2023 - King Missile - Detachable Penis

I rarely start by talking about the video, but I'm going to here.

You see, this video is directed by Richard Kern, who is best known for cutting-edge erotic stuff like Submit To Me and Fingered, the latter of which features Lydia Lunch in a portrayal of being sexually assaulted by a revolver.   

He's known to be showy.  

So, this video, which fits right into his style, is a natural choice for him.  

The song, which is a heavy guitar riff and organ over John S. Hall's trademark deadpan delivery, ended up being the band's biggest hit - and a song that was hard for them to follow up.  I mean, it's objectively hilarious.  How do you follow that?

It did make their 1992 album Happy Hour a commercial success.  It, however, did lead to the end of King Missile's second incarnation.

Most people who watched MTV only saw the censored version of the video, which is above.  The uncensored version features a dildo, and not a particularly realistic one.  Still, it beats a black bar.

There have been various incarnations of King Missile over the years, but in 2015, this lineup reunited and performed a show at Shea Stadium.

Yes.  That Shea Staduim.

I mean, not on the field.  Clearly under the bleachers.  But still.

They had not lost a single beat.  

19 September 2023

19 September 2023 - St. Vincent - Masseduction

"Masseduction" was the fourth single off St. Vincent's late 2017 Grammy-nominated album (check notes) Masseduction.   

Co-written by Annie Clark (who, if you've been paying attention, IS St. Vincent) (by the way, Krist Novocelic didn't pay attention) and Jack Antonoff (they also co-wrote another song with someone else), the song is just.... beyond cool and beyond hot.  It was critically acclaimed (more on that in a minute) with the whole album appearing on a lot of year-end lists.

This song might just be the best thing from that great album.  

I have to be honest.

I was going to post St. Vincent today.  I wasn't going to post this song. Then I found this performance, which was St. Vincent performing this song at the 2019 Grammys leading right into being joined by Dua Lipa for her song "One Kiss" and weaving the two songs together.  Annie's very simple performance of the song is, in my opinion, better than the original - and yes, Dua Lipa's backing vocals help.

I mentioned Masseduction was nominated for a Grammy.  So was "Masseduction" - Best Rock Song - and it won that Grammy.  

Dua Lipa also won - for Best New Artist - that same night.  That's not a coincidence.  

Annie Clark does not, however, need Dua Lipa to be a rock goddess.  We offer this performance from the 2018 Austin City Limits Festival as evidence to that fact.

18 September 2023

18 September 2023 - Elton John - I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

A lot of you were expecting an Elton John song last week.

Not this one, of course.  

With lyrics by Bernie Taupin, and music by John and Davey Johnson, the song has a 50s feel, but the lyrics.... wow.  They are emotional and evocative.  The video tells a story of a couple separated and then reunited.   

It's a beautiful song, and it went to #4 on the US charts in 1983, with similar performance elsewhere in the world.  

There really isn't a lot to say about this song.  It's just a good song.

Except there's a lot more to say.  Mary J. Blige re-recorded the song with Elton John, and versions done by both of them have appeared on BOTH of their albums - this one from a 2000 live album by Elton John (it also appeared on a 2006 album by Blige).  

Mary J. isn't the only partner John has sung this song with.

Elton John has famously toured with Billy Joel a couple of times, and in 1998, this song was done by them, together, on TWO pianos.

In 1983, I was 11.  

I didn't appreciate a slow-paced emotional love song in 1983.

In 2023, I appreciate that Elton John has stuck with music long enough for me to appreciate and even like the song.  He's on what seems like his 94th farewell tour now, and this is him performing the song in 2022.  Yes, his voice has lost a little.  Yes, the song still hits.  

15 September 2023

15 September 2023 - Doja Cat - Boss Bitch

This song was the third single from the soundtrack album for the movie, and brace yourself for this title, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

I cannot endorse the movie, but this song, which is clearly tied to the titular Harley Quinn, is incredible.  It's an anti-hero anthem, it uses COWBELL, and you will be singing the chorus to yourself all day long.  

Also, "boss bitch" is a term of endearment.  Isn't language fun?

It's like racquetball for your mouth!

The song was a Billboard Hot 100 hit, peaking at number 100.  So, barely.  But it's still a banger, so here it is.  

Doja Cat rarely performs this song live, but when she does, it's spectacular.  

14 September 2023

14 September 2023 - Meredith Brooks - Bitch

Did you expect us to end this clearly themed week on this song?

We do not roll like that.

This song was Meredith Brooks's debut SOLO single (she previously had a hit with the band The Graces) and her biggest hit by far, becoming a worldwide sensation and a #2 song on the US pop charts.   She was 38 when the song was released - which, in a youth-centered industry like the music industry, is incredible.  

The song's single word title is frequently used as an insult, but Brooks, who co-wrote the song, was looking to reclaim the word as a term of endearment.  She certainly did not feel ashamed to release this as her debut single, although Capitol Records was hesitant, as, well, "bitch" is a naughty word.  She was right and they were wrong - and they did eventually relent.   

The video, by the way, is super-flowery.

"Bitch" was released in a time when Lilith Fair was a thing.  That probably helped the song's popularity, and definitely gave her a place to be to promote the song on tour.

The 1997 crowd loved it, by the way.

I appreciate an artist that doesn't make a crowd wait.  In this 2022 performance - when she's 64 and still freaking rocks - she performed the hell out of this song as the OPENING of her set.  By the way, stick around and watch the whole video - because she's got more than one song.