Dolly Parton does it all in only two hundred and two words. Eighty-four fewer than the Gettysburg Address; one hundred and thirty-six more than the Lord’s Prayer. Two hundred and two words, one of which is repeated thirty-one times: Jolene. Parton wails her name like a banshee. Five times Jolene; once Jolene, Jolene; six times Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene. Parton says the name Jolene thirty-one times in less than three minutes. It’s a story song, and the story is as familiar as they come. Where there was happiness, now there is heartache. A woman loves a man, but that man loves Jolene; the woman confronts Jolene and pleads with [...]
“I like people, I just don’t have to see them all the time." —Neil Young seems like a particularly difficult person to interview. But I was very happy to read that Bukowskian quote in the profile David Carr wrote for Sunday's Times Magazine. Because it reminded me of the lyrics of my favorite Neil Young song, "On the Beach." "I need a crowd of people/But I can't face them every day…" Neil sings, sounding miserable—torn between the insecurity, the hunger for approval that fuels so many performing artists, and misanthropy. ("Though my problems are meaningless/That don't make them go away.") Man, and the stuff about how the [...]
"Just his voice and his drumming were so incredibly personal… It comes out of a certain place in the past, and you can't replicate it." —Nevertheless, Bruce Springsteen sang The Band's "The Weight" last night in honor of Levon Helm at the Prudential Center in Newark. [Via]
Animator Ned Wenlock directed this excellent video for Wesleyan synth rockers MGMT, to go with the song they recorded for the installment of the Late Night Tales compilation series they recently curated. It's a cover of a song from Bauhaus's 1982 album, The Sky's Gone Out.
So the new Peter Gabriel album, Scratch My Back, is sounding more and more intriguing. It's all cover songs, all orchestral arrangements, and two leaks, versions of Arcade Fire's "My Body is a Cage" and Bon Iver's "Flume," are both excellent.
In news that will surely anger some people, Lana Del Rey has recorded a cover version of Leonard Cohen's classic song about Janis Joplin, "Chelsea Hotel #2." She made a video to accompany it, too, all dark and moody and full of close-ups of matchbooks and cigarettes and her plump, sculpted lips. Hahaha. You really do get the sense that she's taunting us, don't you? Well, despite myself, I really like it! (*ducks*) Here's to the quiver in that deep husky voice, here's to make-believe!
Of course, Lana Del Rey is far from the first artist to cover this song. So let's try to figure out: Where [...]
Here is the new video for "Cherokee," the first song from Cat Power's new album, Sun. Below, you will find the new video for "Pyramids," the tenth song from Frank Ocean's new album, Channel Orange. Both of these songs are great. Frank Ocean's album is, I think, the best album to be released so far this year. Cat Power's album is, I think, also one of the best, and—at least based on a first week's listening—her best work since Moon Pix and The Covers Album marked her artistic peak at the turn of the century. (Well, her first artistic peak, hopefully.) Both these videos feature violence and a mysterious [...]
Whoa! It's supposed to be 85 degrees in New York on Sunday, which will be October 9th. Lots of people will be all, "This is the result of global warming!" But it's not. And not just because global warming is a fiction being espoused by just about every scientist in the world for their own personal profit. The blast of heat we'll be getting this weekend is regularly occurring autumnal phenomenon. It's called Indian Summer and you probably already know all this. There have been many songs written about it.
As much as I love LCD Soundsystem, as sure I am that their final live performance, just announced to take place on April 2nd, will be totally awesome, I'm not sure I can get myself to attend a concert with a dress code. (I know I'm being curmudgeonly here—and a Madison Garden full of everyone wearing only black and white will make for great video and photographs. But still. I'm old!) Nevertheless, the event is even more exciting in that the recently reformed art-disco-rock band Liquid Liquid will be opening the show. It's perfect.
Wow wow wow! The title track to Gil Scott-Heron's latest album, I'm New Here, is incredible! The album came out a few months ago to rave reviews, and I'd heard some stuff that proved the once-great groove poet was back in strong form after years of horrible addiction and jail. (This was warm relief. I saw him in the mid-'90s, and he looked like a person who might not be living very much longer.) But I hadn't heard this one til the video came out yesterday. It's a cover of a Bill Callahan song. And while Callahan (a.k.a. Smog) is an old favorite of [...]
Would you like to watch Courtney Love playing an acoustic-guitar cover of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this past weekend? She doesn't do my favorite part, the third verse, when Jay-Z outsmarts the cop who pulls him over. But this is better than you might have imagined it would be.
Here is a nice black-and-white video for the song "Wichita" by the young rapper XV, who is from Wichita, Kansas. The song is good, though I wish XV had done a little more with the chorus. The star producer Just Blaze, who is most famous for his work with Jay-Z, constructed the beat for XV's song using samples of the classic pop standard "Wichita Lineman" as recorded by Johnny Harris and the Dells.
Huh. A month ago, we offered a list of suggestions as to which Peter Gabriel song each artist he covered on his song-swap project Scratch My Back should cover in return. Today we learn that the dutiful Canadians in Arcade Fire have indeed gone with our pick, and are currently working on a version of Gabriel's 1980 hit "Games Without Frontiers." The Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt had apparently already recorded "Not One of Us" before hearing he was assigned "Don't Give Up." And it seems Paul Simon simply DISOBEYED US (?!) choosing to try his hand at "Biko" instead of "Solsbury Hill" as we'd recommended. (Jeez, "Biko." [...]