Friday, September 28, 2007
I stayed home a bit later than usual today to watch Springsteen and the E Street Band on the Today show. I made it through the cringe-worthy interview by Matt Lauer to see Bruce and the band looking pretty well rehearsed. The highlight was easily the double shot of "Last to Die" and "Long Walk Home." This one-two punch will likely become a highlight of the tour and is part of the closing quartet of songs on Magic that grow greater with each listen. "Long Walk Home" seems to be a young cousin to "My Hometown," with its description of a small town with its closed diners and flags flying at half mast over a courthouse. I really underestimated Magic in my first few listens. Now that my head is past the muddled production, the subtle message about the state of our country is revealing itself with each new listen.
BONUS: A longer version (with two extra verses) of "Long Walk Home" was unveiled near the end of the Seeger Sessions Band tour. I think that it's found a much better home as an E Street Band song, but decide for yourself:
Monday, September 24, 2007
I'm not one to often fall for songs featured in climatic scenes in films (the use of Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" in Magnolia notwithstanding) but damn, the placement of "Whole Wide World" in Stranger than Fiction just floored me. I won't spoil it if you haven't seen the film but it proved to me once and for all that Will Ferrell is much, much more than a great comedic actor. Fiction is a great quirky film that I regret waiting to see until it popped up on cable. And how could I not like a film that uses the music of Spoon throughout?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
So I had to fly all the way to Austin to hear this song played live? And to see Jeff Tweedy wear a cowboy hat?
You know, maybe the hat was worth the trip alone.
When Tweedy and company broke out this track from A.M., I was simply stunned. It took until the chorus to register that I was seeing Wilco do a song I had never seen them do live. And this is a band I have seen over 20 times the past 10 years. I looked over at my friend Stacy with my mouth agape, and then found myself singing along.
"Too Far Apart" was part of a tremendous set that was miles away from the last time I saw Wilco in Austin, back on September 22nd, 2001. Flying down to visit Stacy would have been nerve-wracking at any time (my fear of flying was at its peak then), but 1o days after watching the towers fall was almost impossible. (Thanks to my friend, beer, I was able to do so.) Once I got to Austin I was still in a daze from all that had happened the previous week and a half. And when Wilco hit the stage the next night, they seemed like they were in a daze. They were playing only their second ever show as a four piece and the hole left by Jay Bennett's departure seemed too vast for them to overcome. Its still the worst Wilco gig I've ever seen.
This time Wilco in Austin was a joyous experience and easily slides into my Top 5 Wilco shows ever. Ah, what a difference six years makes.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Yeah, I know, its not hip to like Bruce and the E Street Band, but I still do. I first heard "Radio Nowhere" four weeks ago when one of the promo folks at Columbia dropped by to play it for us. I thought it was okay, but certainly not a good as The Rising tracks "Lonesome Day" or "Further on Up the Road." Yet I found myself humming it again and again that afternoon.
When the track leaked a week later I of course downloaded it and listened a few more times. It was then I realized its riff sounded suspiciously like Tommy Tutone's "867-5309 (Jenny)." I love that song, but I certainly don't need to hear Bruce ripping that off.
Then last week iTunes offered up a free download of "Radio Nowhere." Having the track in clear fidelity did something to my brain. I could not stop humming it at home, on the subway or at my office. Its not even that good of a song, yet there was no stopping my subconscious.
Oh well--we've had much worse choices for Song of the Week before, and I'm sure we will again.
As for Springsteen's new album Magic, I'd give it an early grade of C+; its slightly better than Human Touch and Lucky Town, but it sounds like any band could be playing behind him with Brendan O'Brien's muddled production.