Kev the Green Wiggle

No Spam Allowed on this Weblog

To all who happen to find themselves looking at this blog, I currently have a strict no-spam policy which I have implemented indefinitely, as in I am not accepting spam at this or any other time, as in do not send your junk e-mails here, or pollute my blog with your crap about horny singles or frustrated and mischievious housewives or generic Viagra or other meds or any other unauthorised or unsolicited advertising material for dubious products or services under spurious IDs. I AM NOT INTERESTED, so keep your spam to yourself.

Thank you and good day.

Kev the Green Wiggle

I'm easy like Sunday morning

or Music Rant Part Thirteen: Another Retro Special

Some might say that an equally appropriate subtitle would be "Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel" or "Kev Is Running Out Of Ideas" but no, it's not the case, I've been meaning to comment on some of these for a while. It's true that I haven't listened to much in the way of Top 40 radio in recent times, or haven't been subjected to it or forced to listen to it, but then again I have been finding cool new music via YouTube and Spotify - the latter finding recommendations based on artists/bands and genres one selects reflecting one's taste in music, and apparently it has decided I like alternative country, based on me picking rockabilly/'50s rock 'n roll, blues and a few classic country singers - and I'm nearly forty so it's not like I'm the target audience anyway for whatever crap they're passing off as music which they're trying to peddle to teenagers nowadays.

I did hear about Fergie singing the U.S. national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game and how bad it was; I checked it out for myself and yes, it really was that bad, it was actually uncomfortable to listen to. I'm not saying she can't sing - I've said in the past she can - but whatever she was trying to do on this occasion failed big time. I think it'll be a while before she lives that one down.

Anyway, without further ado:

- Easy Like Sunday Morning by Faith No More (1993): I don't actually dislike this track, I've always found it pleasant for the most part; the only issue I have with it is that it sounds virtually identical to the 1977 original by The Commodores, the only real difference being that vocalist Mike Patton launches into the bridge with an utterance that sounds like he just dipped his fingers in someone else's snot.

- U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer (1990): I've mentioned this track in the past when I reviewed another song that sampled Superfreak by Rick James, the record from which Hammer got the entire instrumental tracking for this song. (Copyright and other legal issues were laid to rest when Hammer gave Slick Rick credit as co-composer and consequently a share of all future royalties). I comment on it this time because of the schadenfraude stemming from the irony that the only MC Hammer song people remember is the one where he's bragging about how he's such a fantastic musician with multiple hits. If his other songs were so great, why are they forgotten today?

- Mr. Moonlight by The Beatles (1964): People who know me may be surprised that The Beatles have an entry on the list, but rest assured I am Kev and I'm okay. I love The Beatles, they're the greatest band of all time, but we all have our off days and the day John, Paul, George and Ringo recorded this excremental cover of a B-side by Dr. Feelgood and The Interns was theirs. Even as a lifelong smoker John Lennon had excellent vocal range to the end but he sounds a bit off on this track, and it's like the Fab Four went out of their way to make it as cheesy as possible because they only intended it to be a filler anyway, given that they only released singles they composed themselves. (Maybe they were stoned when they recorded it? It was around this time they started smoking reefer, and Paul McCartney only just quit smoking the Mull of Kintyre in 2016). How ironic that it stands out among The Beatles' records because of how bad it is, considering that their body of work was otherwise consistently excellent.

- Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (1975): Ha ha ha just kidding! I don't have any problem whatsoever with this song, it kicks arse. Moving right along...

- Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt (1969): Yes it was a chart-topper at the tail-end of a glorious decade in the history of music, yes it won the 1969 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically and no doubt deservedly so at least on the technical level, but this information makes no difference to the fact that I never want to hear this song again because it is so bloody depressing!

- Well... All Right by Santana (1978): Santana have been a pretty tight group musically even though they appear to have more or less made a career out of covers; Black Magic Woman is arguably their best-known song but it was originally released in 1968 by Fleetwood Mac when they were an all-British blues band, rather than the Anglo-American middle-of-the-road group they've been known as since the '70s (i.e. before Peter Green left and Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined), and their other hits include She's Not There (The Zombies, 1964), Havana Moon (Chuck Berry, 1956) and this one that Buddy Holly released in 1958 as the B-side to Heartbeat. Buddy sung the song the way it was meant to be heard: from the perspective of a young man quietly asserting himself: he's in love, of course he knows it won't always be easy or pleasant, and nonetheless he has faith that he and his girl will get through it, they'll be okay. The Santana version isn't necessarily bad, it's just the lyrics and the musical arrangement seem a little mismatched - the musical arrangement would be perfect if the song went, "Well alright so I love Jesus/Let's all praise His precious Name/Now I've found my Lord and Saviour/My life won't be the same..." - that is to say, it sounds better suited to a religious song than a song about a kid politely saying we're in love, we're going to make a life together so deal with it.

- Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice (1989): I know it's the in thing to hang shit on Vanilla Ice and has been for more than twenty years, and I know he has an unironic cult following who would boo and hiss at me for including this track but sod him, he deserves it. He should've had more sense than to plagiarise either Queen or David Bowie, let alone both acts at the same time. Jordan Runtagh wrote in Rolling Stone that "Though [Vanilla Ice] paid the price, some argue that isn't enough to make up for the potential credibility lost by Queen and David Bowie, who are now linked to him through a collaboration they had no choice in joining" ("Songs on Trial: 10 Landmark Music Copyright Cases" > "Vanilla Ice vs. Queen and David Bowie (1990)", Rolling Stone, June 8, 2016). I think the legacies of David Bowie, Freddy Mercury and the surviving members of Queen are safe, especially because David Bowie and Queen each have a strong body of work and each have songs they're better known for, whereas Vanilla Ice is best known for that one recording which isn't even all his, kind of like MC Hammer. Not to mention that Bowie and Queen did the much better version, so there.

- Why Don't You Get A Job? by The Offspring (1998, released as a single 1999): One of The Offspring's more radio-friendly records - once the words "bitch" and "dick" were blanked out - it still drew controversy on the grounds that the melody was lifted from the song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by The Beatles (a serious charge, considering how tight copyright is especially on songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, though the copyright owner in those days was Michael Jackson, who wasn't exactly known for having no flies on him at that time if he ever was on the ball). It's not a total rip-off of that track from The White Album though - the bridge was pinched from Just One Look by Doris Troy. At least the lyrics are their own. I think...

- Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club (1982): I still can't help but enjoy the irony that Boy George, who with his group had a hit with this whiny, peurile shit which seems to be going out of its way to be unmanly, was doing time about a quarter-century later for assault and false imprisonment, the victim being a male prostitute who didn't like to play that rough. Nowadays Boy George is enjoying some degree of infamy as a bitter has-been whose music career faded before his looks did and now resurfaces long enough to slag off musicians more relevant and currently more popular than he is. I think it was the fact that he was disturbingly good-looking when he was young that was the lynchpin for his fame because he was a talentless douche then too.

Anyway, that's enough from me at this time. *steps off soap box*

  • Current Music
    "Wagon Wheel", Old Crow Medicine Show
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Kev the Green Wiggle

(no subject)

It's been a while since I've done much in the way of writing that isn't work-related or posts and comments on Facebook, and nearly two years since my last entry here. Then again, as recently as ten years ago my LJ blog and friends feed were a veritable hive of activity in terms of traffic, views and comments as well as entries, but as 2009 drew to a close there seemed to be a mass exodus, a lot of my friends stopped posting and even logging on (the friend who invited me to join LiveJournal back in 2005 even deleted her account) and the traffic died right down to virtually nothing (though some people might say I'm in the wrong groups). In the fullness of time my music rants became perhaps my most popular entries, the first six predating the very inception of the YouTube channel A Dose of Buckley, but then even they ran dry not least because neither I or a lot of my friends listen to Top 40 radio, so it's not like I'm forced to listen to crappy recordings I hate or despise. Furthermore, who was I writing this blog for? For others or myself? Like any normal person I did appreciate the compliments, and the discussions it would make for, even if people didn't always agree with me.

Maybe I should keep writing here - I've always wanted to be a writer, and it's been put to me often enough that I should keep on writing, which makes perfect sense given that a writer is, by definition, one who writes (well, duh!). Even if the two or three people who still run an eye over this don't always get around to doing so it'll be a good exercise, creative, cathartic, getting me back into the swing of things.

Kev the Green Wiggle

"Do you remember the way it made you feel?" Yes, and I never want to relive it!

or Music Rant Part Twelve

I realise it's been a while since my last music rant, but I guess because it took all of 2015 to actually give me something to work with, and enough of that something to write a post that's a decent length. I guess I wasn't exposed to enough new pop records that were remarkable either way, and in terms of pop music 2015 was generally pretty insipid.

Noel Gallagher was right about pop music taking a nosedive into blandness, but then he turned around and said he loved Coldplay, who are about as bland as you can get. Furthermore he cited Adele as an example of this blandness, accusing her of making "music for grannies" and she's one of the few contemporary pop singers worth listening to in the last decade or two and one of a handful since the '60s - okay then, the '70s. To top it off, he and his band Oasis only made one album that could actually be called great and one or two others anyone other than die-hard fans gave a toss about, and that was about twenty years ago. Nowadays he seems to have done a Boy George, resurfacing long enough to slag off other musicians long after his own star has faded. (To his credit Noel Gallagher looks much the same pushing fifty as he did when he was young - sure, he and Liam were both average looking then and now but better that than Boy George, who was disturbingly pretty when he was young and is still an egotistical wanker even though he's now fat, bald, ugly and old).

Nonetheless, as bland and unremarkable as a lot of pop records were in the past year there were exceptions, and notable ones at that (and no, I'm not doing Justin Bieber or One Direction, as others have already slagged them off in spades, I doubt I'd be contributing anything new to any discussion on either Bieber or 1D and I'm not here to flog old jokes to death. Besides, neither act released anything in the last twelve months that moved me in any way, good or bad). So without further ado...

- Do You Remember by Jarryd James: or "that sensitive New Age fascist song" as I've come to know it - I wouldn't insult the LGBT community by calling it "that gay fascist song" and thereby associating it with them. We have poor little Jarrykins pining for a love gone wrong and wanting to talk about feelings and shit while in the background it sounds like one or many arseholes goose-stepping, immediately evoking mental images of Hitler feeling a bit delicate and being all, "Be gentle with me, I'm a sensitive boy deep down. Sure, I'm a fascist dictator hell-bent on world domination and genocide but I have feelings too you know." Furthermore, the autotuning/multi-tracking/whatever studio trick was used does nothing to disguise what a weak and whiny voice this special little snowflake has. Not to mention the lyrical content - for starters, "Call me when you made up your mind/But you won't" is clumsy at best, an insult to grammar at worst, mixing future tense with present, but in any event coming off pissy and whiny, if not passive-aggressive. Then he has the gall to say "Nobody knows what we know about it/No one needs to know". We don't need to know about this situation? Then shut up about it! Why did you write and record a song about it, and release it to the general public? Snivelling dickhead!

- Bills by LunchMoney Lewis: Sure, bills are a thing for grown-ups to deal with (generally speaking) but this monosyllabic, two-chord ditty could've been composed by a child (or at least one that isn't Wolfgang Mozart). However, it might have still been a half-decent r'n'b song but for that bloody annoying siren thing punctuating the non-vocal parts and thereby ruining the record completely. Yeah, I think I'll stick with the likes of Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker when it comes to songs about financial matters.

- Cheerleader by OMI: This song glorifying fidelity in the face of women throwing themselves at our subject is fundamentally just like Johnny Cash's I Walk The Line, only without the decisiveness or conviction (comparing and contrasting "I think I found myself a cheerleader" with "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine...Because you're mine, I walk the line. Mmmmmm..."). Or the talent. This track is riddled with autotuning, which is to music what performance-enhancing drugs are to sport, thus making this record the electronic equivalent of one of those Chinese Olympic female swimmers from the '90s who took so many steroids she ended up looking like a man. It's completely wrong and the powers that be need to put a stop to it.

- Alive by Sia: I think she should've left this song to Adele, who has a vocal range broad enough to carry off such a soulful number, hitting the highest notes and making it sound operatic. Nothing wrong with Sia's voice as such, it's just this song is beyond her range, and descends into howling and screeching which is uncomfortable to listen to. On the other hand, hats off to Sia for succeeding where Yoko Ono has failed: releasing a record where she shreiks and not only does it actually sell, it becomes a hit, having already made it on her own with material more palatable. (Yoko, on the other hand, would've never even seen the inside of a recording studio if she wasn't involved with John Lennon, much less achieved the level of fame that she did. And if John was alive today his back would be shot from carrying her).

- The Weeknd: When I first read the name I thought it looked like it was pronounced "weakened". Appropriate, considering he has several songs in his body of work which glorify drug use, either on himself (Can't Feel My Face, a song about getting rat-arsed on cocaine) or on women in order to then have sex with them (High For This, XO/Host and Initiation). Even if these are true to life in the same way as Johnny Cash shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die (Folsom Prison Blues) or Mick Jagger being Satan (The Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The Devil), The Weeknd has still done a bang-up job of being a creepy bastard by treating such behaviour as something to be proud of. Does he think it's a compliment when someone calls him a "piece of shit"?

Such a shame that popular music tended to be so mediocre if not horrible during the centennial year since the births of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Mae Boren Axton (one of the authors of the Elvis Presley breakthrough hit Heartbreak Hotel), Les Paul (guitarist and inventor of the electric guitar) and David "Honeyboy" Edwards (bluesman whose career in music was longer than most people have been alive, plus he was a friend and colleague of Robert Johnson). (Muddy Waters gave his birthdate as April 4, 1915 but I didn't include him because he was actually born in 1913).

And that's all from me, at least for now. *steps off soap box*

  • Current Music
    "Summertime", Billie Holiday
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Kev the Green Wiggle

Answer for question 4574.

As most are already aware, Star Wars: The Force Awakens just opened. If you've seen it, what were your thoughts on it? What were your favorite moments, and what could have been done better? If you have no interest in this Star Wars movie, what current movie(s) would you recommend instead?
I love that bit in the new Star Wars movie where Han and Chewie construct a spaceship made out of cannabis, only to have to bail when it catches fire on the exhaust. The Stormtroopers then capture it and take it back to HQ, where they all end up stoned out of their heads. Kylo Ren can't hide his disgust as he approaches them through the clouds of intoxicating smoke. "You're all stoned!" he says. "You're a disgrace to the Sith and everything they stand for, and you are not fit to wear those uniforms!" right before snatching up a great big slice of pizza.
Kev the Green Wiggle

Answer for question 4530.

Benjamin Franklin said "Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five." Do you think this sentiment is true -- that a lot of people are just existing in their life rather than really living it? Has this ever been true for you? What things do you do to try to bring new things, people, and experiences into your life?
There have been many times in my life where I've felt like I'm existing rather than living, especially what with being on the wrong side of thirty, career aspirations I had in my twenties came to nothing. I've been led to believe that a lot of doors close after thirty, the implication being it's too late for me to start at something else, therefore I should be content to work at some dead-end job beneath me for peanuts until I'm seventy. Logically I know it's not necessarily so, but having job applications rejected is a lot more disheartening as a result. And not losing heart is easier said than done. When I am applying for a job I think I could plausibly get I feel more motivated, hopeful, alive.

I also felt alive and invigorated and inspired when doing my Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, though it definitely wasn't the most lucrative decision. I did make new friends and valuable contacts, however, and finished a novel which is currently in the edit/rewrite stage. I really need to make time to write more, work on this novel of mine, come back here a bit more and generally keep on writing. And in general I welcome opportunities to bring new experiences and things into my life, better myself and live.

There have been times where I have felt depressed, unmotivated, apathetic - actual depression, or existential angst?
Kev the Green Wiggle

Answer for question 4491.

Do you have any books that you have been meaning to read, but just haven't gotten around to? What are they? How did you hear about them, and why do they interest you?
I have way too many books on the "to read" list - some have been there for a couple of years or more - and if I have a reason to live to 100 it's all of these books I've got to read.
Kev the Green Wiggle

Answer for question 4476.

Name your top three musical artists of all time (individuals or bands). Why do you love them so much? What song would you pick from each of them that you feel is their best work?
These aren't so much my top three (that would be too hard to choose) as three of my all-time favourites. That preamble made, here they are:

- The Beatles Their music had that certain something. Their later work is their most interesting but their early stuff was good too, catchy, peppy (even if I Want To Hold Your Hand was aimed squarely at the teeny-bopper set), their '50s rock 'n' roll covers were kick-arse and they sure were handy with their ballads. They also embodied the love and optimism everyone likes to associate with the '60s, and they were clever, funny and all-round likeable men too. It's a tough pick as they did so many wonderful songs, but I'm going to go with In My Life.

- Duke Ellington A great composer, musician and band leader, though to be fair he knew how to surround himself with other talented musicians. He also added a touch of class to jazz, gave it an Apollonian side to balance out the bawdy, Dionysian hedonism people had come to associate with this genre. I choose the track Misty Mornin' as his best because it's so beautiful, mellow, classy, tight, and Lonnie Johnson's gentle, delicate, dexterous guitar solo touches it off perfectly.

- Hank Williams There's so much more to the skinny bloke in the cowboy hat than meets the eye or ear. In addition to writing songs that went on to become country music standards, his work was covered by artists from various other genres and he was an influence on rock pioneers such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. His music ran the gamut of the human condition, and particularly in his "Luke the Drifter" guise he was also something of a social commentator. My favourite song of his is Beyond the Sunset; Hank didn't write this song, Virgil P. and Blanche Kerr Brock did, but he did it beautifully and with conviction and made it his own. I have always wanted this recording played at my funeral.