Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vol. 158: Hurricane Sandy and Halloween

     With Halloween barrelling down upon us, it's the time of fear and talking to the dead, but let's not get side-tracked with mundane political ads. The super-storm that is Hurricane Sandy is causing death, destruction, flooding and power loss up and down the east-coast. As of Tuesday evening, 8.2 million people were without power. 50 million people are affected. 48 deaths have been attributed to Sandy's wrath. With it, the President has one more opportunity to act Presidential before the election and the Republican Mitt Romney's campaign team is either pulling their hair out or thanking their lucky stars for their backroom ties to electronic voting machines in Ohio. The scenario is this: in less than a week, a Mormon may be our new President. We've only had one Catholic president and they blew his brains out all over Dallas on a cold Friday afternoon in November. What will happen to a Mormon? The intrigue, the drama; it's like trying to get a non-Mormon snuck inside the tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Or is it? Will it even matter anyway? With only a month and a couple of weeks away from the great Cosmic Change that is December 21st, 2012, does any of this even matter?
And why did Barack Obama vote on October 25th; the earliest any President has ever voted during a Presidential election before? Did he or does he know something that we don't? Maybe Obama has a secret control of the weather? According to his detractors, he probably does, being a Kenyan. You know how that African voodoo works.  Or, maybe that's what he's been doing with all of those Drone attacks? Drone attacks you say? Yep. Drone attacks. From the desk of proud liberal Dennis Kucinich, a recent Washington Post article contains an unsettling confirmation of what many of us have feared for years; the United States is establishing state-sponsored murder as a permanent condition of foreign policy.
“Three hundred fifty drone strikes by the U.S. have killed as many as 3,378 people including as many as 885 civilians, including women and children. Our drone strikes create sympathy for our enemies among the populations we bomb. Numerous academic reports have detailed that our policies are counterproductive and lead to increased radicalization."
 
     On another intriguing note, did you know, that according to the New York Times, the Premier of China,  Wen Jiabao and his family have amassed assets totaling over 3 billion dollars during his reign. Now that's a job with some fringe benefits or should I say, "entitlements?"The Chinese government was so pleased with the story that they immediately closed online access to the New York Times. With the rising fumes of disgust growing ever present in China, the rattling roaring call for reforms is almost deafening. Great Cosmic Change!!! 2012?!

     I've heard the sound of the Apocalypse, and it's name is Phillip Phillips. I heard his song "Home" on the radio while driving with my lovely wife and the feeling of nauseaousness overtook me. How clear a rip-off of the Mumford sound, milking the cash-cow, there couldn't be. Phillip Phillips? Really? I'm Jack Jacks. Or Steve Steve's. Just another sign that maybe the end wouldn't be so bad. Phillip Phillips? Laughable, but then again, he'll make his money and move on. Or should I say, the record company. Remember James Blunt? Yep. And that's not because of short term memory loss.

     Just in time for Halloween, there's a serial killer highway-shooter in Detroit, who's been picking off people on I-96 for the last couple of weeks since October 16th. Maybe he should've aimed at the Detroit Tigers and saved them all a bunch of trouble. The Detroit Tigers just may have bene the Barack Obama of the World Series this year. A good run, but had too much hype to live up to. It was sad to see a professional baseball team get so thoroughly outplayed. It's like they were playing in Denver, during the first debate and they just stood there. Vacant and lifeless. But hell, that could be Congress.

     During the plague in Europe, the plague killed 1 in 3. Now 1 in 3 will get cancer. Coincidence? Or simply different symptoms.

     Ahhhh, Halloween. The history, the tradition, the return to more overt forms of capitalist paganism consuming overabundant amounts of candy and memories from blizzards of yesteryear are ringing the inner sanctum of my nostalgic mind. Which leads me to our current embrace of witches in the present days; it is pleasing and at the same time disturbing. Just ask anyone in Michelle Bachmann's district.

Terrorists are the only crazy ones?
     Because, historically, witches are the true counter-culture agents. They've been allegedly known to have extraordinary supernatural powers. They've come in the forms of the enchantress, the sorceress, the woman out of control. The bibilical Lillith with long red hair, practicing cannibalism and infanticide.What's not to love?  Minus the eating of children of course. Except for the red hair, "Is that you Michelle?" But seriously, witches strike up the power of suggestion, the power of the imagination. The power of belief. How else did the benign wise women of the pagan past turn into the malevolent figures of the evil Witch? Instead, they've become women with a lustful insatiable appetite for power. The Kardashians? Snooky? Hilary? How else do you explain it? During the "burning times" in Europe when the Inquisition was rounding up heretics, like Sean Hannity rounding up "great Americans," there were towns in Germany where there weren't any women left. Maybe Todd Akin and the rest of his GOP pals would love it? But then again, who would they legitimately rape? Each other? They already have that on their Saturday night agendas. Speaking of Saturdays, during one Saturday in the Middle Age in a town in Germany, 139 people were burned at the stake. Now I know, from where Dick Cheney's hatred hath spawned. So, maybe instead, we should all try to live the witches creed, "Do what thou wilt, but harm no one."

It's easier said than done.




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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vol: 157: Curiosity and Wisdom

We have them over a barrel, don't we?

Another week, another mass shooting. Another disgruntled ex-husband who's only answer to the losing state of his failed life is to end the lives of others with a gun. Welcome to the world we live in. What happened to just committing suicide? Why do all these losers have to take people with them? Sad. Sad. Sad.

Then there was the 4th and Final debate of the Presidential Election. Foreign Policy was the topic and we discovered from Mitt that "we can't kill our way out of this mess." That's wisdom; I think the Buddha said that.
Does anyone know where Mali is?


Obama has begun to sound like a man who's afraid of his opponent, even though he had the zinger, "the 1980's called, and they want their Foreign Policy back."  Maybe with the whole debacle of the Benghazi, Libya "terrorist attack" coming to light, I can't help scratching my head as to why the Obama administration wouldn't have labeled it a "terrorist attack" from the start. It makes absolutely no sense, unless there was somebody inside the embassy that they wanted dead? Then again, since when have politicians made any sense? With both of the candidates having the same tired answers and phrases from the previous debates, the tie goes to Syria. Or maybe Iran? Iran may have a shot. What with those crippling economic sanctions. Those tightening sanctions. Sexy tightening sanctions. That's how you win over friends. Why build a bomb? The crippling sanctions have made us see the light. Then again, nobody with the bomb has been bombed by the U.S. Why not build a bomb? Just saying.


 The 100 year old charter of the Federal Reserve is up in 2013. Not 2012. 2013. Coincidence? It's like they knew something was coming.


You'd trust this guy with your money right?
The European Central Bank will be overlooking all Euro zone banks. Whew. Now that we have that settled, we can rest knowing that nothing will cause further panic to grip the Euro zone. They have the European Central Bank to play watchdog. I have a scratching question and that is, what is the reason for the inevitable push towards a one-world-currency? Less people to bribe? Meanwhile, the Rothschild's grip tightens around the throat of Europe.

"I don't look like a pedophile, do I?"
First the Catholic Church, and now the Boy Scouts? It's sad, sick and twisted to think that we can't trust anyone with our young boys? What's next, the Girl Scouts running a prostitution ring? Now there's word that a long time host of a popular variety show on the BBC, The Jimmy Savile show, it's main star, Jimmy Savile was sexually abusing young boys and girls for years; boys and girls who were guests on the show?!? And for years, the BBC just covered it up. Disgusting. Repulsive. Criminal.
A news story with a coincidental tinge has just been announced a couple of days ago; scientists from Stanford have been running experiments with mice; performing dialysis by switching out the old blood with new younger mice blood into older mice, and surprise!! The mice live longer and their brains function at 20% increased capacity. Now we know why all of those milk-carton kids have vanished. Dick Cheney, were on to you. You and the rest of your buddies, blood sucking vampires. Myths come from somewhere, and there are truths hidden in fairy tales. They just don't appear out of thin-air.

Speaking of thin air, On October 20th, there were mass sightings of UFO's in Dallas, Texas and the U.K. Are we being prepped for December 21st?
Take a look for yourself. Maybe their just the Devil's way of leading us away from God? I don't know. But it is pretty weird.

OVNIS en Dallas Texas UFO Activity Downtown Dallas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrEh6IKs-c


MASS UFO SIGHTING IN MANSFIELD 20/10/2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=60a0YWgDCDM


Finally, when you think of the 1990's, musically, what certain songs come to mind? Does "Champagne Supernova" roam down your hallway? Does Kurt Cobain and his band mates riffs echo through? Is it Pearl Jam's "Black"? These are side bar research questions. Why may ask? Because the United States cinema viewing public is in drastic need of a new American Graffiti or Dazed and Confused. I am also curious to know which songs will most certainly be played at your funeral? If the world is going to be coming to an end shortly, we need to come up with a play list, fast.

We are finding ourselves in the Age of Aquarius and entering the 5th dimension of reality. Those who are prepared will find the transition cumbersome, but not too difficult as to be fruitless. Those stuck with the materialism of the 3rd dimension; well, you can already hear their subconscious screams of agony amongst their silent obedience to the herd mentality. Republicans and Democrats, Republicans and Democrats. Baaaahhhhhhh.

It's all going according to plan. Trust me.



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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vol 156: Politics as Usual: Binders full of Women

     Good morning, good afternoon and good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am writing you this under heavy surveillance in deep cover from a hideout along the banks of the Mississippi river. So, I will get right to the issues, they are gaining on me.
     A day before the 2nd Presidential debate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a bullet for the White House for the lack of security detail during the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy where 4 Americans lost their lives, including our Ambassador. The timing of Hillary's willingness to take a bullet is only mere coincidence. Apologies for the bad taste in words. It is tragic and my sympathy to the families. But don't try to read anything into it, there is no coincidence in the timing. It's laughable how obvious politicians can be.
     Now, let me get to the meat and potatoes of this edition. In what seasoned political reporter George Will called "the best debate ever," it's heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time, to see two grown men fighting over a job like schoolboys fighting over who gets to bat first in a game of home run derby on the playground during recess. According to Obama, "it's offensive," to think that his administration is playing politics with the Benghazi attack. But, when hasn't any politician played politics with any issue? That's why they call it politics.


"He's wrong, I'm right, and there's no one left."














     The two grown men, at least they appear to look that way, decided to fight over who can guarantee to grow jobs over the next 4 years. Grow jobs. Like they're an organic material that can be sprinkled with fairy dust in the garden wasteland that is the U.S. economy and shazaaam! Jobs. Romney has a "5 Point Plan," to create 12 million new jobs. Reminded me of "no new taxes," from George H. W. Bush.  I still have no idea what Obama's plan is for the next 4 years either. So, we have that going for us. Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn't look good right now. I know that the Koch brothers of Wisconsin are warning their 45k employees that they better vote Republican, or else. Think of the Koch brothers as toxic pollutants that work on command, killing any consideration for their employees to think for themselves. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Maybe they play by the golden rule? They who have the gold, make the rules.

     Then there was the mention of the fact that there wasn't enough drilling for oil on federal land. Not enough drilling on federal land. What does that mean? Should we open up the Grand Canyon for more drilling? But wait, "You'll get your chance when I finish." Once again, I was left scratching my head as to what exactly are going to be the tax deductions and exemptions that good Ol' Mitt (don't call me Willard) is going to eliminate? That is still to be determined. Maybe we'll get the information when he's finished; reminiscent of the final scene in There Will Be Blood as Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis yells, "I'm Finished."


     The debate got to a point where the tension was so thick, I strangely wondered, what if Romney would've muttered the N-word? Sadly, I felt some would've cheered that remark, which goes to prove if only to myself, that there are demons this country or I am still yet to exorcise. Or maybe it was because I have grown tired of hearing how we've been "crushed and buried" throughout the evening? Maybe I was simply waiting to go through "binders full of women?" Maybe it was because my Dad wasn't "born in Mexico to American parents" that I felt cheapened. Maybe we really need to trust the idea of "self-deportation?" Raise your hand if you're here illegally. Nobody? Alright, we can move on.
Now, which one's Spartacus?



On another note, it's a good thing Obama saved us all from cheap Chinese tires!!
    
     To the heartbreak of millions of Republicans, Romney did let slip through his fingers the opportunity to drag Obama from behind the sad and tragic debacle that became the Benghazi, Libya situation. He should have belted that out of the park, but sadly struck out like A-Rod in the post-season. Too much oil in his hair; slippery fingers. Which lead us to the enemy behind the whole evening, the smoking dragon in the cave, the shadowy lurking figures of darkness who are truly behind the mess we as Americans have been experiencing for the last 10, 15, 20, 25 years......China. We aren't at war anymore with the USSR and the War on Terror hasn't been too exciting without it's leading man Bin-Laden crouching in the desert firing AK-47's as his henchmen run through jungle-gym equipment, and God forbid we should actually take responsibility for our actions. We have Congress to do that for us. They get stuff done.
     The enemy of America is China. Yep, the same country that buys all of our Treasury Bills; them and the Federal Reserve; but, you'll never hear a hand-picked goon like Obama or Romney trash the Fed. They know who writes the checks. It's not that they just print more money out of QE3 thin air or anything of significance like that. Ssshhhhh, be very quiet. The Fed is always listening. The Fed isn't to blame in any of this. Allen Greenspan was always doing what was best for the American people. Ben Bernanke can be trusted. No, no, no, it's China and their currency manipulation that is and has ruined this country. So, look out China. We're going to be scolding you in the final debate, big time. So bend over and take your spanking, but just don't take any of it seriously; trust us, because the check's going to be coming in the mail. You'll get your money back. But according to the USPS, it may be a while. Were fixing a few kinks in there.

     At the end of it all, wouldn't it have been nice to see either Obama or Romney, or both, strike a Tebow-pose. Until next time, keep on prospering in the new global economy.
 
 
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Vol.155: Politics, Pop Culture and the new Mumford

     Good morning ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am a new writer with the GOEM and I'm writing this in hopes that it entertains and enlightens. It has been another busy week filled with the highs and lows of morality and repugnance. It has been a week filled with Politics. The two seem to go hand in hand don't they, and especially in the stretch run of a Presidential Election the stench can be overpowering; we love to gawk at car crashes.
    
     So, I will begin with last evening, Thursday the 11th of October, 2012. The scene, Centre College in Danville, Kentucky; the stage for the only Vice Presidential debate, between Uncle Joe Biden and Paul "the Raccoon" Ryan. I wish that one of the campaigns would come up with a plan to eliminate aging and illness, as that would be an easier, less complicated, less-mind-numbingly boring fix than the numbers and percentages that were being sprayed about through their venomous spittle last evening when Uncle Joe wasn't interrupting the Raccoon or when the Raccoon wasn't trying to playing Mouse to Biden's ol'Cat.
    
     The first question of the evening lobbed over the fence of debate decorum was on the subject of Libya and the terrorist attack that took place on the 11 year anniversary of 9/11. Uncle Joe said that they will investigate "wherever the facts lead us." It was obvious to the present administration that the reasons behind the terrorist's successful killing of 4 Americans, including a U.S Ambassador was due to a failure in the "intelligence community."  Failure due to lack of awareness in the intelligence community? Or simply a lack of intelligence in the community? News has come to light that the present administration had prior knowledge of a possible attack on the embassy in Benghazi. How could they have let it happen? Failure in intelligence they say.
    
     I however believe, that once again the attacks are being used by the present administration to lead us into another military confrontation in the Middle East. Benghazi for all we know is another False Flag attack, i.e; Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin and most likely, 9/11. It, like the drumbeats for war against Iran, is nothing more than a manufactured False Flag attack, in order to manufacture homeland support for the escalation of military intervention in the Middle East, i.e; Syria, Iran and which would inevitably lead into Jerusalem. I also suspect that the release of the upcoming Ben Affleck directed film ARGO, is nothing more than the subliminal propaganda of the powers that be to get the American people to support a military resolution in opposition to Iran's supposed goal of a nuclear weapon. Movie scripts sit on the shelves for years in Hollywood before they are made into motion pictures, and when they need to roll out support for something, they get a talented stooge to do their bidding unknowingly. They couldn't get Spielberg to do it, because it would've looked too obvious that Israel was behind it; trust me, there is nothing that Bibi Netanyahu would like more, than for the U.S. to continue to support Israel in a military defense of Jerusalem while he expands Israeli settlements.
    
     Earlier in the week, Mitt Romney said that "Obama hasn't done enough to eliminate turmoil in the Middle East." The last time I checked, no one has been able to do that, ever! Somebody should have told that to Jesus and Mohammed. I think that they use to work for Bain Capital, but then had to be let go and find freelance work on their own; times were tough. Then again, I don't think the two of them ever paid taxes, so they must have been part of the 47%. Someone must have forgotten to tell the Romney/Ryan ticket that they weren't included in their "3 bottom lines" that they have in their platform. 3 bottom lines? What does that mean? It's really really really highlighted and important. We underlined it 3 times; I can't make this stuff up.
    
     What are the specifics on the elimination of tax deductions in order to close the deficit Mr. Raccoon? We the American people, still don't know what those plan to be. Sometime during the debate, I found myself wishing a crowd member would have thrown an American flag onto the stage to see which candidate would be able to wrap both arms and legs around it and writhe on the ground like a dog in heat. All the while "the unraveling of America" is occurring right before our very eyes. But sadly, it's not just America. It's Americans as well in the shape of one time heroes. For example, Lance Armstrong may just be another in the long line, of win at any costs hypocrites, whom allegedly had cheated to win the Tours De France 7 times. 7 times! It's just another example of our culture of systemic cheating at any cost. Our short term memories are disgusted and then move on. What else is on the television? It was the lead story on the BBC America news on Tuesday evening. Not a word about the Libor Rate scandal. Libor. Look it up when you have the time. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-27/libor-s-trillion-dollar-question.html It's no big deal, just trillions of dollars that were manipulated by the Banksters in England. Let's focus on Lance Armstrong instead; but has our American mainstream free press mentioned much about it? Nope. The math is too complicated. Ohhhhh, shiny new I-Phones!!
    
     Then, there's the thugs, the idiots, the murderers that call themselves the Taliban in Pakistan, who feel threatened by women with an education. So, they decided to shoot a 14 year old girl named Malala in the head, because she was an outspoken supporter of education for girls. Despicable. Cowardly and insane are these Islamic Fundamentalists, or Fundamentalists of any sort who feel threatened by progress and education. It's sad. Really, really sad.
    
     In China, you can go to a new fancy restaurant, and eat while sitting on a toilet, while eating out of a miniature sink or bath tub; which leads to me think, I don't want to know what they're eating. Ahhhhh. It reminds me of Kramer in Seinfeld installing a garbage disposal in his shower. "Come on Clarkmen!?" Some progress and some regress. To each their own, just don't kill anybody over it. Please.
    
     Then there is a CEO in Florida who is threatening to close down his business if Obama gets re-elected and is therefore urging his employees to vote for Romney. There has to be a law against this sort of behavior, but then again, it's one man's freedom of speech and we all know how the Supreme Court feels about Corporations; i.e; Citizens United ruling: Corporations are People. That's where we are as a country and a world in a nutshell.
    
     Which finally leads me to ask, where has all of the quicksand gone? It used to be all over in the television shows in the 70's and 80's, and now, it's nowhere to be found. Maybe it's because most of the middle class is stuck in it, and the need to put it on television would be like trying to get a politician to be honest; pointless. Maybe it's been replaced instead with our love affair with zombies. What does that say about our culture? Do we see ourselves as brain-dead, greedy, hungry and dead-inside just stumbling through our lives from one chaotic scene to the next? I hope not. There is the 8th Annual Zombie Pub Crawl this weekend; and remember, we are in 2012. The cycle of upheaval and massive cosmic change is shifting under our feet as I speak. There are tornado storms on the surface of our Sun the size of the state of Texas!!! All of that energy has to go somewhere, and believe me, it's coming.  


Sincerely,

Thelonius Ronscpiacy
    
......................................................................................................................................................................
    

Mumford and Sons: Babel

Three Chords and (an Inconvenient) Truth

Chris Hammes                             


 
           
  “I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear?”  That line is of course from, “Little Lion Man”, the single that made Mumford and Sons a mainstay on college and alternative stations since Sigh No More debuted in 2009.  It would also be fitting criticism for the bands’ sophomore attempt, Babel, which is also the name of the title track.  Everything that sounded unique and fresh about “Little Lion Man” sounds repetitive on this go-around.  Almost without exception the songs follow the rock formula that Nirvana made famous two decades ago, Quiet/Loud/Quiet.  Scream-folk if you will. Unlike the Mighty K.C. however, Marcus Mumford is unwilling or unable to use his voice as the instrument lacking in the bands lackluster arrangements.  Perhaps it’s my untrained American ear, but Mumford has the musical range that William Shatner brings to acting roles.  The depressing nature of his lyrics, combined with his monotonous delivery, made for the musical equivalent of sitting next to a freshly divorced drunk guy at the bar.  You want to hear him out, you know he’s hurting, but you want to yell at him “Get over it, buddy.”

            “I Will Wait,” the first single from the album, is (big surprise) one of the albums stronger songs.  Obvious reasons abound for releasing your best song as a single first, but the advent of musical piracy was fueled undoubtedly by one-hit wonder containing albums.  What bothers me about “I Will Wait,” however, is that it’s not indicative of the other songs on the album.  “I Will Wait” has an upbeat, jangly, banjo-driven beat that will get the feet moving, and the harmonic singing of the verses is a perfect counterpoint to the gospel like way Mumford sings the chorus of “I Will Wait.”  It will be a big hit with the festival crowds that Mumford and Sons will be touring in front of because it’s dance-friendly, and the songs’ simple chorus is drug-friendly.  Hippie chicks and Flic-your-Bic men rejoice!  When Marcus Mumford is singing at his best, he has a style that is reminiscent of Dave Matthews, and the band clearly doesn’t fit the simple label of Folk Rock.  This song, more so than the others anyway, feels upbeat.  Babel might be great background music for killing a bottle of whiskey, but most of its songs would be better background music for killing a party. 

            “Babel” sounds a lot like “Little Lion Man” to be sure, but it’s missing the uniqueness that song had.  “Little Lion Man” had a cool bass line, and the sparseness of the arrangement made its’ words stand out clearly, and the surprise profanity made it memorable.  “Babel” has the same fast strumming, the same intensity “Little Lion Man” did, but if they were making a musical reference to Bob Dylan with lines about the “watchman’s son” or the “wind that will howl” it was lost on me.  It sounded bland, and by third song of the album, pretty damn familiar. Someone should introduce Marcus Mumford to Taylor Swift, so the two of them can compare notes on getting dumped. The other band members play an assortment of drums, keyboards, and more exotic stringed instruments such as the dobro, mandolin, and banjo throughout the album. Those instruments get lost though, behind the relentless acoustic guitar strumming, and Mumford’s grumbling lyrics.  Even the other singers, who sound so well singing in harmony throughout “I Will Wait,” just sound like an echo of Mumford’s monotonous delivery. Two exceptions were “Hopeless Wanderer,” and “Lover of The Light.”  “Hopeless Wanderer,” at over 5 minutes in length, could be considered a “jam” song, and its lyrics and feel are reminiscent of The Grateful Dead. “Lover of The Light” captures Mumford in “Dave Matthews” mode, especially through the chorus, and the rest of the band give a passable DMB impression as well. Banjo, mandolin, and keyboards all stand out clearly in the song, not drowned out by heavy acoustic strumming like so many of the other tracks.  Those are the exceptions, however, and you’ll notice I didn’t say either was particularly good.

            Feel good music, Babel, certainly is not, but the dark themes aren’t the albums downfall, it’s the boring music that accompanies the message.  The band took the blueprint of “Little Lion Man” and tried for 12 more songs that would capture the spirit, and unfortunately the whole dozen came up woefully short.  Nice try, I guess.  My recommendation is save your $15.  If you want a similar type experience for the price of a cup of coffee, try this instead:

1)    Go to your local coffee shop on “folk night”

2)    Ask the barista if you can read his journal

3)    Take the seat directly next to the guitarist  

5 Corgans=Buy It

4 Corgans=Burn It

3 Corgans=Stream It

2 Corgans=Mock It

1 Corgan=Punch a band member in the face.





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Friday, October 5, 2012

Vol.154: The Fall; Give yourself some Time to Figure it Out

     The coolest 71 year old man in the universe, the bard from Hibbing sang in his eerily prescient "Ballad of a Thin-Man," "That there's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones." I think we all feel that way now, or at least I know that I do. Indulge me.

      I am still rubbing my eyes in disbelief and making sure there wasn't any fatal buildup of wax in my ears, because I'm still questioning Wednesday night's debate between the man in the blue tie versus the man in the red tie. I can hardly believe that the man in the blue tie did as miserably as he appeared to have done. I found myself the next morning, with a slight headache and a bad taste in my mouth; as if I had waken to the realisation of a poorly made decision resulting in an unappealing one-night stand. I needed to make a run for it. There are a certain number of my friends who can attest to knowing that feeling; some more than others, and you know who you are.

      Does the man who was wearing the blue tie, really want to be President anymore? Or did the man in the red tie do that well? Was the man in the blue tie tired, sick, or was his mind preoccupied with thoughts of his wedding anniversary? Or maybe the man with the blue tie knows that he has an October surprise up his sleeve in the form of an Israeli strike against Iran, or the trouble bubbling over in Syria into Turkey which could then bring the United States military into the mix? Does the man in the red tie or any man or woman in any pant-suit or colored tie for that matter, really want to inherit the mess the United States is in? Were headed for Armageddon, would you want your hands on the wheel of the ship as we head towards the Iceberg? Why else did the film Titanic do so well in the theaters; we all knew the ending, but because it struck at a subconscious nerve in the fact that we know were headed for something truly painful and have to face the music sooner or later? Maybe the man in the blue tie was saying to himself on Wednesday night, "Go ahead Mitt, you can take it from here. I'm gonna go grab the wife and kids and get the hell out of town."

     Despite all of the questions floating through my transom, I did hear some deafening sounds emanating from Wisconsin over the pronounced funeral pyre of Big Bird, and that was the sound of hands clapping, high-fives, hoots and hollering coming from somewhere inside Wisconsin; it was the sound of the Koch brothers congratulating themselves on a job well done; their hand-picked boy Ryan was coming up next and the man in the red tie had the country talking comeback. America loves an underdog, until the next fifteen minutes comes around.

     On a different note, the fall is a season of change. The season that turns the death of summer into a slow release. It is the season of falling leaves, changing colors and bottles of wine littered amongst the char-coaled remains of quietly burning fires. The smell of clove cigarettes and sandalwood incense sticks. The season of the first and last embrace of a loved one, remembered through streams of consciousness found amidst old spiral notebooks in childlike handwriting.

     Fall is the season of the music of Van Morrison. It is listening to "Astral Weeks", "The Philosopher's Stone," "Into the Mystic," and feeling the sensation that you are on spiritual path. Realizing that you are only a spiritual being having a temporary human experience and simply building up knowledge until you have the next awakening. It's the lyrics of Van Morrison trailing off into Coleridge, Wordsworth, Blake and T.S. Eliot in ancient fingers of smoke. It is the shouts of saxophones echoed with the accompanied sounds of the piano organs tiptoed touch, the belted refrains over long distant valleys into the soul of descending sunshine. It is magic.

 

     With this new edition of the Global Outrage of an Educated Man, I am also pleased to announce that we have an added contributor with his own personal touch on all things popular culture. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Hambone.


Half Killer/Half Filler
3.5 Corgans
Chris Hammes:

            The Killer’s Fourth album, “Battle Born”, follows the band’s usual journey through the decade of Reagan with mixed results this time around.  Since the band’s first release “Hot Fuss”, The Killers have celebrated the ‘80’s synthesized sound with unabashed enthusiasm and mostly positive results.  At its best “Battle Born” sounds like the best of ‘80s era Springsteen, Mellencamp, Petty, and U2 backed by the best of ‘80s synthesized music-Duran Duran, Devo, Depeche Mode and The Cure.  The worst the album has to offer sounds like a collection of one-hit wonders from the ‘80s, or gasp, something you might hear on American Idol. The Killers haven’t rocked out since “Hot Fuss”, but the type of ballads contained on “Battle Born” sound like they could have been written by any adult contemporary group.  I don’t think Brandon Flowers would appreciate a comparison to “Candle In The Wind” Elton John, Richard Marx, or Matchbox 20, but he certainly falls short of the men he clearly aspires to be.
            The album begins with a simple synthesized beat, the heartbeat of The Killers pulsing like a mix between “The Safety Dance” and Pac-Man asking you for another quarter. “Flesh and Bone” quickly builds to a lusher Killer’s style song filled with the kind of larger than life themes the band has come to be known for. “Dark Horses,” “force-fields,” “finish lines” and “raging bulls” stand in the bands way. Brandon Flowers sounds as good as ever, he truly has one of the best and most distinctive voices on the radio dial, and when he sings “don’t call me the contender” he lays down the gauntlet for all other current musical acts.  The band aims to make songs that will stand the test of time, and they have an impressive back catalog of songs that do just that. “Flesh and Bone” builds to a crescendo that makes you think that The Killers have done it again, but then fails to cross the finish line.  It’s the opening track, and a perfect summary of the album.
            “Runaways”, the first single of the album, is probably the standout track on the album. One can imagine they will be doing encores of the song for years to come, as it’s sure to become a fan favorite.  It has all the elements that the best Killer’s songs have had; great lyrics, a huge sound meant for arenas, and a finish that will have everyone on their feet pumping their fists.   If you close your eyes, you could imagine it’s Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora leaning into the microphone, or Bruce Springsteen strutting across the stage.  It truly is a celebration of the best the ‘80s had to offer. An 80’s anthem that sounds like it could have come from any of the biggest bands the time period had to offer.  “Miss Atomic Bomb” is another standout on the album.  Not as musically dynamic as some of the other songs on the album, it has lyrics that one expects from Flowers and company.  A first love story, “Miss Atomic Bomb” could easily fall into the fondue, but the words and sentiment somehow stay cheese-free.   A less accomplished singer might not pull it off, but the destructive ending to a relationship is captured perfectly through Flowers “atomic” symbolism.  “Making out with the radio on” (a Bon Jovi sentiment if there ever were one) becomes Springsteen singing about his “need for a little touch, a little tenderness” before the real battle begins complete with “dust-clouds”, “impact” and “shockwave whispers”.  A surprise standout on the album is “From Here On Out.”  It’s closer to a country song than it is to a “normal” Killers song, but it’s a fun song.  The beat is pure ‘80s country, Juice Newton on steroids, complete with a steel guitar that sounds like it’s recorded backwards. It’s interesting, fresh, and you want to sing along with the backup singers as they croon “from here on out.”  It’s also near the end of the album, which means the strongest songs are few and far between.
            “Flesh and Bone”, the opener, and ‘Battle-Born” the closing track, are both strong songs.  It’s hard to criticize a band for having merely good songs, but The Killers have raised the bar for themselves with each subsequent album.  “The Way it Was” is another song that’s good but not great.  Lyrics about “Elvis singing don’t be cruel”, “outside the lonely Esmerelda county line” and “maybe a thief stole your heart” will bring to mind Lyle Lovett or even Roy Orbison, but the chorus imploring that things be “the way it was” just fall flat.  The entire band is musically talented, and Flower’s has a vocal range any professional singer would envy.  Five different producers worked on the album for The Killers, which means that the material may have not been great to begin with.  The playing is impeccable, the songs have definite musical movements to them, but in the end they just aren’t strong enough to be considered the bands best. 
            The low points on the album include several songs best described as ballads.  “Here With Me”, “Matter of Time”, and “Deadlines and Commitments” sound like they could be performed by anybody on American Idol. Adult contemporary music certainly has its fans, but Killers fans are sure to be disappointed by these offerings.  The lyrics sound like they are some of the most personal Flowers has ever penned, and they are also sung with real sincerity.  The problem, in a nutshell, is that they are clich├ęd and the music backing them is largely flavorless. “Here With Me” is a perfect example of that type of song.  “Don’t want your picture on my cell phone/I want you here with me” could be anyone from Taylor Swift to Taylor Hicks. The song is ok, you might whistle along in the elevator, but it’s not likely to make you a bigger fan of the band.  “Matter of Time” has an ‘oh-oh-ohhh-ohhh” background vocal that damn nears saves the song before Flowers has to ruin it by singing “Isn’t that what’s it all about/make a promise/you keep it/you figure it out?”.  Heartfelt, probably, and maybe based on real life experiences.  The problem is, I don’t know if it’s a song or if the band just put some music behind advice from Dr. Phil.  “Deadlines and Commitments” sounds like Culture Club with lyrics by Sade or Sting, and it isn’t pretty. The conga drumming is the songs saving grace.  The Killers better hope Gloria Estefan doesn’t sue them, the drum loop sounds like they came directly from Miami Sound Machine.  “Rising Tide” has Brandon flowers channeling his inner Bill Idol snarling about “pitchfork tongues” and “crucifixions”, and a blistering guitar solo, but only after wading through a boring first minute.  “Be Still” and “Heart of a Girl” are also listenable tracks, but not Killer quality.
            With “Battle Born”, the Killers attempt to stay at the top of their musical game, but this fourth try feels a little battle-weary.   The chops that got them to the top are on full display, but the band seemed unable to continue the fight throughout the album.  The band had taken an 18 month break before recording, and perhaps they needed an even longer hiatus.  Certainly the bones of the album have been developed.  They go for a big sound and big themes again, but have wound up with an album that doesn’t quite get there.  The best three songs on the album sound better than anything their contemporaries usually put out, but the rest of the album is merely just good.  Most bands would be satisfied with that, but I have a feeling “the contender” would like another shot at the title.
5 Corgans=Buy it
4 Corgans=Burn it
3 Corgans=Stream it
2 Corgans=Mock it
1 Corgan=Punch a band member in the face

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vol. 153: Sign of the Apocalypse



You can now follow me on twitter.

@globaloutrage

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Just another sign that it's all happening.
Enjoy. There's always more to come.