This past May was a big month for music. Arcade Fire released a new album: We. Some reviewers panned it. Others liked it. I fall somewhere in the middle. One common critique is that the songs sound like repackaged early Bowie. There is an echo of Bowie and, to some extent, Roger Waters. But I like Bowie and Waters. So that’s not necessarily a bad thing to my ears. We may not be completely original or a perfect piece of music but it does have its moments and it certainly is listenable.
There’s also a new album by Wilco – Cruel Country. Twenty one songs. Every single one is a gem. I can’t say enough about how much I’m enjoying this record. I’m still digesting it, but it gets stronger with each listen.
Van Morrison has a new release called What’s it Gonna Take. If there was a way to scramble the lyrics into Gaelic this would be a great album. Good songs, good hooks, good performances. But… Unfortunately, Van has gone off the deep end on the topics of the day. He’s always been a crazy genius. Sadly, as he gets older, the former seems to be crowding out the latter. A musical Ezra Pound for our time.
Steve Earl is back with a tribute to Jerry Jeff Walker titled Jerry Jeff. It’s on rotation. A great performance of timeless songs.
And finally, a couple of other interesting releases; Florence and the Machine’s Dance Fever and Omnium Gatherum from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Both are worth checking out.
I have to admit that I didn’t get the joke when Elon Musk tweeted “Love Me Tender” last week. But reading Matt Levine’s latest on the Musk Twitter takeover, I now get it. There’s so much that I didn’t know about the M&A world. A must read. As Levine points out, there are a lot of obstacles ahead for Musk if he wants to buy Twitter. But John Cassidy wouldn’t bet against him.
Joan Vennochi is scratching her head over Charlie Baker’s tacit endorsement of Tom Hodgson for Sheriff in Bristol County. File under: Politics. Strange bedfellows.
Midnight Train to Georgia is still one of the best songs ever recorded. Danyel Smith, with an homage. Whoo whoo.
And Delta is looking at Starlink for in-flight connectivity. Another Musk company. Every day is 4/20.
No maskson planes? It’s probably time, but I wouldn’t judge anyone who wanted to still wear one.
Commonwealth Magazine did an after-action on it’s story about the Globe and Philip Morris. The original story by Herman Coleman looked at the Globe running sponsored content paid for by Philip Morris and the objections by scientists quoted in those stories that they didn’t know about the tobacco company connection. Initially, the Globe was contacted by Herman but simply refused to comment. Then, after publication of Herman’s story, the paper collected their response to refute the allegations. Imagine if every subject of a Globe story did that? And now, in its wrap up, Commonwealth again contacted the Globe to get their take. Their response? You guessed it. No comment.
81 year-old Ringo Starr is hitting the road again this summer. And it’s not a light tour.
Thomas Friedman finds that the anti-fragile West seems to be doing better in the face of modern challenges than the less resilient, authoritarian societies in Russia and China.
Last night I ran across this excellent studio performance by a band from Moscow doing a cover of Chicago’s ironic protest song Dialogue (Part I & II). In this case the two singers going back and forth are from Russia and Ukraine. The video is from 2019 but resonates strongly today, especially since one of the two singers, Serge Tiagnyriadno, is now on the ground defending Kyiv.
Russian aggression isn’t just an abstract notion in Estonia. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has some strategic—and tactical—advice for the West.
When US companies failed to detect and remove Russian malware from their networks, the government got a warrant and did it themselves. This is modern preemptive cyberwar.
George Grella reviewsPhilip Glass‘s 13th Symphony, performed this week in a world premier by the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. It’s great to have another Glass symphony and nice to see him take the stage after the performance.
Richard Davey is being introduced to New Yorkers at a time when subway crime is a big concern. It doesn’t sound like he’ll get much of a honeymoon period. The Post has already nicknamed him the new ‘Train Daddy.’ (His predecessor, the old ‘Train Daddy’, lasted only 25 months in the job.)
And a $20 dollar bill with a banana sticker on it? How did that happen?
This is worth reading. It’s depressing… but it’s worth reading.
First the Globe refused to comment on allegations of misleading scientists quoted in a story sponsored by Phillip Morris. But then, after having time to get their defenses together, the paper retorted and now the scientists at the center of the story are unavailable for comment. Welcome to the era of sponsored content and post-journalistic journalism.
Francisco González, founding member of Los Lobos, has died.
If you thought the Oscars were fun, just wait for the Grammys.
Pakistan is in crisis. The Prime Minister has dissolved Parliament and the Supreme Court may be next. Oh, and then there’s this. Just what we need.
Nabil Ayers singles out a few guitar solos for consideration. It’s not even close to a definitive list. But no matter. The guitar solo is over. These days I’d rather listen to Cory Wong play funk rhythm.
No more knocking on doors. Kyle Chayka writes about how to sell a vacuum cleaneron social media. Design is key. Marketing needs to be next level: “It’s not a vacuum, it’s a meditation on dust.” Aspirational. Whether it picks up dirt is besides the point.
And the Cybertruck is dead. It never seemed real to begin with.
In today’s Boston ‘Metro’ news, a musician from Los Angles died— in South America. I don’t know why the Globe even bothers to organize their news by sections.
The Washington Post covers the de-globalization of Russia as Western brands flee the country. There’s a new codicil to the Thomas Friedman rule that countries with McDonalds don’t attack each other: When they do, the McDonalds’ have to close. As far as coffee goes, Starbucks has suspended all operations in Russia. But as of today, Dunkin’s is still serving up Moscow mocha-chinos.
Robot umpires are coming to Major League Baseball. What could possibly go wrong.
With Omicron in retreat, David Leonhardt thinks it’s time to ask the questions: “When should schools resume all activities? When should offices reopen? When should masks come off? When should asymptomatic people stop interrupting their lives because of a Covid exposure? Above all, when does Covid prevention do more harm — to physical and mental health — than good?” We’re almost there. But not quite.
Joan Vennochi calls out selective outrage bias when it comes to disruptive protests.
The state of popular music in 2021 is not great. Each Friday I scan iTunes new releases and listen to random albums from artists I never heard of. Every so often I find a gem. But not very often. Ted Gioia goes a little deeper than me. He listens to several hours of new music every day. There are plenty of great young musicians releasing music, he says, but “the music industry has lost its ability to discover and nurture their talents.” As a result,most industry growth is in old music and old musicians. That”s not a healthy thing.
And it looks like Barney Fife’s evil brother has taken over a small town police department in Alabama. Maybe Goober could take that SWAT truck apart and reassemble it inside the courthouse.