Which versions of the following songs are superior?
“What Do You Want The Girl To Do”
“Lovers In A Dangerous Time”
“Gonna Get Close To You”
Last night’s performance by Lana Del Rey on Saturday Night Live got a lot of attention, but it wasn’t exactly what the singer or her label wanted: within minutes of Del Rey’s American television debut, Twitter exploded with biting comments. One likened her performance to a real-life example of what they were making fun of minutes earlier in a sketch called “You Can Do Anything”, where people who have never been given honest reactions to their lack of talent perform. But even more tellingly, the likes of Juliette Lewis, Eliza Dushku and Rachel Dratch had pithy zingers of their own directed at Del Rey’s wobbly singing. One article even surmised this might be a career-killer. Her second performance in particular reminded me of an obscure Victoria Jackson character from the late 80′s: Nancy Maloney, a lounge singer who goes from high-pitched screeching to a forced deep, husky voice all in the space of a single song.
The last time a musical guest bombed this bad on the ‘SNL’ stage was in April 2010. Ke$ha performed “Tik Tok” with an American flag cape a bizarre laser show and astronaut-suited backing band, with a pause to ask “Did anyone ever stop to think we were the aliens?”, which seemed an attempt at invoking Robert Plant’s “Does anybody remember laughter?” while just looking even sillier. Her second number, “Your Love Is My Drug” was even more bizarre, with her and her band covered in day-glo body paint. I wrote at the time that Ke$ha came off as a half-assed Lady Gaga impersonator: I stand by that assessment.
Some other SNL musical moments of note, for all the wrong reasons:
Much has already been written about Sinead O’Connor’s well-intentioned but overly-strident protest of Catholic sex abuse at the end of her performance of “War”, and Rage Against The Machine being tossed out of the studio for hanging down an upside-down flag on their amps (which was torn down before showtime) but I didn’t really find too much fault with those performances.
Anyone who has their own nominees for infamously bad SNL performances, please leave a detailed comment.
Thoughts about the music I listen to on a given day.
The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, disc 3 – The Fall
This disc collects the band’s assorted BBC Radio sessions done to promote the album when it was originally released in 1984. Since the LP was one of their more “produced” efforts, it’s interesting to hear the songs in a more straightforward presentation, without a whole lot of echo, effects or Gavin Friday’s guest vocals. ”Copped It” has its early punkish Fall sound more apparent in this setting.
This Nation’s Saving Grace, disc 2 – The Fall
Like with the BBC sessions disc for the previous Fall album, this lets you hear less polished versions of tracks that would show up on the album, as well as a few that didn’t make it including “Ma Riley” and Brix Smith’s guitar instrumental “Edie”. I particularly liked hearing the rough “Paintwork”, which on the album is a sonic collage.
Bernstein Conducts Bernstein and Gershwin: The Royal Edition (14/100) – Leonard Bernstein
I’m trying to get into more instrumental music these days, and I got this as a Christmas present. This has a little more flourish and presence to the music, either because of the 20th-century origins of the compositions or just the conducting and recording. I haven’t really developed my ear as well as I want to. Hopefully this will help.
Jazz From Hell – Frank Zappa
I’ve been on a Zappa kick lately. Interesting album: it’s all performed on the Synclavier except for the guitar solo “St. Etienne”. It did free him up to do more challenging compositions that the technically-accomplished musicians in his band would still have difficulty with, but the technology does sound a little dated.
I’m looking for more recommendations for music as well, especially classical music.
Breaking Bad – And The Bag’s In The River
The Kids In The Hall – Episode 516
Scrubs – My Screw Up, My Tormented Mentor
Roseanne – We’re In The Money, Slice of Life, Workin’ Overtime, Toto We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, Death and Stuff, Dear Mom and Dad, Let’s Call It Quits
3rd Rock From The Sun – Proud Dick, Romeo and Juliet and Dick, Guilty as Dick, A Dick On One Knee
SCTV- Southside Fracas, Compilation, Lunchtime Street Beef, Moral Majority, Pledge Week, Bouncing Back To You, Great White North, CCCP1
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
Frank Zappa – Freak Out!, We’re Only In It For The Money, Hot Rats
The Roots - Do You Want More?!!!??!
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – self-titled
Will and Grace: Pilot
3rd Rock From The Sun: Much Ado About Dick, Dick The Vote, Fourth And Dick, World’s Greatest Dick, My Mother the Alien, Gobble Gobble Dick Dick, Dick Jokes, Jolly Old St. Dick
Roseanne: The Monday Thru Friday Show, Bridge Over Troubled Sonny, Father’s Day, Nightmare on Oak Street, Mall Story, Becky’s Choice
The Simpsons: The Otto Show, Bart’s Friend Falls In Love
The Office: China, Classy Christmas, Ultimatum, The Seminar
Night Court: Walk Away Renee
30 Rock: Jack-Tor, Jack Meets Dennis, Tracy Does Conan, The Break-Up
The Golden Girls: Dorothy’s Prized Pupil, Diamond In The Rough, Son-In-Law Dearest, Blanche’s Little Girl
Breaking Bad: Breaking Bad, The Cat’s In The Bag
I Love Lucy: Be A Pal, The Diet
House: Words and Deeds
SCTV: Episode 79, 80.
Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – self-titled
The Roots - Phrenology
Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra – La Boheme: Highlights
I just wanted to remind readers that I’m still going to be doing my SNL reviews for 1980-81, with the Jamie Lee Curtis show next, but I’m also working on a few other projects. I also want to get into more regular posting on this site, which I admit is taking a back seat to my main personal blog these days. My goal is to set a regular schedule with posting. I find the SNL reviews are a little more labour-intensive than I expected. My methodology is to watch an episode while taking notes, take a break of a day or so at least and then rewatch the show as I do screen captures on my computer, then write my review as soon as possible afterward. I want to thank everyone that’s come to my site for these reviews so far, and I hope to be able to get back on track with these soon.
In the meantime, I am also going to be doing some other reviews. I started doing a DVD rewatch review last March when I reviewed The Simpsons: The Complete First Season. I have been watching DVDs in the meantime but not really doing too many reviews, so I want to start making my DVD watching a little more productive and get into a regular review posting schedule. I also want to get into doing book and music reviews on this page, and post more in-depth discussions of other issues related to the arts, media, and popular culture. I had a suggestion for a topic to discuss and I want to get to that. Sometimes I feel like my scope of this blog has been reduced to SNL and I want to make it clear that I enjoy other things as well.
What should I review on this site? Are there any other topics you want me to write about here?
I’ve decided to start a monthly feature on Existentialist Weightlifting in which I post a list of fifteen songs for you to check out. If you have any thoughts on any of these songs, please feel free to leave a comment.
Prince – Erotic City – probably my favorite Prince song; worth all 7 and a half minutes. Even better is the rehearsal video floating on Youtube.
Carly Simon – Why – Just found out about this song a few months ago. Carly Simon is one of the last people who you would expect to have a 12″ dance remix.
The Kinks – Sweet Lady Genevieve – A gem from their spotty early-70s concept albums.
Stereolab – Metronomic Underground - reminds me of the time my friend was visiting, and we drove around the city listening to this over and over again.
Dr. John – I Walk On Guilded Splinters - Dr. John at his eerie voodoo best.
Earth, Wind & Fire – Evil - Early latin-tinged track by the group. With lots of kalimba.
St. Vincent – Apocalypse Song - The song that stood out for me the most on Marry Me. Seems like the kind of thing that would play during an extended slow-motion sequence.
Robert Fripp – Exposure - Terre Roche’s wails over Frippertronics sound ahead of their time.
Pat Metheny – Finding and Believing – Widescreen epic worldly orchestral jazz. I think my favorite part is right when it goes into the third section. I always see this accompanying cross-country travelers at sunset.
John Martyn – Solid Air - Dedicated to Martyn’s friend Nick Drake.
XTC – This Is Pop? - This is the rerecorded single version produced by Mutt Lange, with a little bit more muscle in the sound. Love the sound of the intro.
Mary Margaret O’Hara – When You Know Why Your Happy - One of those voices that seems just so otherworldly and Catherine O’Hara’s sister just happens to be the vessel in which it travels.
Ted Leo – Old Souls Know - This just ROCKS.
Chicago – Song Of The Evergreens - Early Chicago wasn’t bad. A Terry Kath-penned ode to winter that has this certain melodic quality to it that I like.
Neil Young – Sample and Hold – Neil Young’s synthesizer and vocoder album Trans actually is pretty damn good.
Since today, November 7, is Joni Mitchell’s 68th birthday, here are a few of my favorite Joni tracks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about finding more music to listen to. Music is actually one of the major drives in my life; I’ve spend countless hours and dollars searching for the right sound to match whatever emotional state I’m in or fill some auditory craving. Sometimes I look to the critics for good launch points into different artists’ catalogs and go from there…
There’s that well known reference series about the 1001 things you must whatever before you die, and of course they have “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”. I thought, just for kicks, I would post which albums on that list I have actually heard in full. I also have a challenge to you if you’re reading this post. Using the same list (the 2008 edition), recommend 10 albums that are not on my own list. My list is beyond the link…
I can’t tell which is sadder…that I took the time to compile this list or that I spent so much money over the last 14 years. For the purposes of this list I did not include any of my classical CDs (except those filed under specific performers) or anything I received a CD-R copy of (most of my Fall CDs would fall into this category).