Screaming dEAD Balloons

Cockroach’s Vanity (2024)

Found this randomly and gave it a (there’s-no-other-way-besides) quick listen.

It’s barely what I (and most people, at least before I got old) call an EP, which was good in two ways:
1) I didn’t have to listen long if it sucked and I wanted to review it anyways, and
2) The ratio of decent noise to sh1t is a lot higher when you only have to fill out 12:41.

It’s not bad. I have no idea WTF they’re talking about, nor do I care, but it sounds somewhat interesting.
Will it hold up to repeated listenings? No idea, cuz I’m gonna leave it at this and move on.

So, you know, if you like hard rock where the vocals are (mixed in and) basically dual/do-all hooks with the music, give it a try maybe?

Nice cover.

Grade: C-

The Human League

Greatest Hits (1988)

You can’t get much more meaningless than this. So “Human” is kinda funny, kinda nostalgic, and stupid.

Mechanical (hooks) World. Almost all aren’t hooky enough to warrant listening to the guy’s voice/meaningless lyrics.

Good for when you want to feel substantial, no matter how insubstantial you are.

For best results, instead of listening to 1-16 once each, listen to 1 sixteen times.

(“Don’t You Want Me”)

Grade: D

Linda Ronstadt

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 (2007)

Buying individual “albums” of hers is a waste of money.

Everything you need is here, not that there aren’t other nice/pleasant songs out there, but the appeal is so similar that it’s just not worth it.

Lots of nice, pleasant melodies sung by a really, really good and impressive voice. And the fact that she was pretty gorgeous doesn’t hurt the enjoyment.

So basically just get it started, and don’t worry about being too distracted. You’ll get a nice, pleasant feeling that won’t interfere with anything important you actually have to do. Because there’s nothing “important” here.

Once in a while a song sticks out and is a bit more enjoyable than usual, and there’s nothing embarassing here, which is nice.

Then again, I’m so hopelessly out of date that this should be taken mainly as nostalgia.

(“Long, Long Time”, “You’re No Good”, “Hurt So Bad”)

Grade: B

Deep Puppy Thoughts (Part 234)

“…these dreamsongs are nightmares of a world in flames, the kind you remember in all their scary inconsistency because you woke up sweating in the middle.” – Robert Christgau

With R.C., sometimes the review is more enjoyable and more fun to OCD to than the actual song/track/record/cassette/cd/mp3/beyond-my-comprehension.

In this case, I think “screaming” would be more appropriate, more image-inducing, more interesting. But he’s the best. Was, at least.

I am more and more uncomfortable with my failing relevance to things after “In my day…”

So out of touch that there’s really no point in trying to get current…impossibility takes a lot of pressure off.

So, next generation, you go out there and kick some a$$, metaphorically speaking.

Daejavu

I like the music I like.
You like the music you like.
Everyone likes the music they like.

The point is, EVERYONE likes music. Of some sort. Even just chiming in while someone else does karaoke.

And, given that, I find it difficult to simply let a (good) song disappear…which this one is (or seems to be) doing.

Heck I tried to buy the d@mn thing, no sh1t.

FAIR USE: CRITICISM – Good song, decent album…tell your friends.

Good Quote, Great Cover

“My daughter’s just discovering Nirvana…and…she…she’s realizing the energy; that energy that she feels when she listens to it…it’s not something that she’s heard from her generation. She hasn’t heard that. She told me; because I said ‘Ok, so nothing you’ve heard reminds you- “Uh, there’s nothing like that. Nothing is exactly like that.”‘ – Tori Amos

The Lost Works Of Anna Dalton – Part Ten

Her eyes would be closed the whole time, and her arm would move as smoothly and gently as the music washes over you.

As to what this song meant to her, the only hint would be the very faint smile in her eyes when she finally opened them; if you were watching very carefully…and even if you had no idea what it meant, you would know that it was completely without guile.

FAIR USE: CRITICISM – A brilliant ending to a very interesting movie.

The Lost Works Of Anna Dalton – Part Eight

Without the beginning and ending, of course.

Though the ending is still one of the most touching and genuine displays of devotion – to one very easily abandoned, and for nothing in return – I’ve ever seen.

That’s true friendship.

FAIR USE: CRITICISM – A short display of the best actor in a fairly cheezy movie.

The Lost Works Of Anna Dalton – Part Three

Without words, of course. If music can’t speak to you without words, you’re either dead or a zombie. But I digress…

Slight variations, adapting the piano into the violin playing, altering it to make it work but keeping the basic melody and structure.

FAIR USE: CRITICISM – A very moving song; a far superior remake of the original, in a good movie.

Anna Dalton – She Is Violinist Hear Her Emote (Composition Three, Final Draft)

This is a song Anna played for her husband when she wished to relax him, or as he fell asleep – if he needed to – without her.

pose shifts the violin ever-so-slightly against her left shoulder, cradling it now as a newborn; something treasured, precious, delicate. Her head lowers to the point where it actually is touching the base of the instrument, making them, for the moment, joined. As her eyes begin to close, she exhales once, softly but faintly audible. Eyes closed completely, her right arm lowers the bow to slightly below the bottom string of the violin, hovering just above it for a moment or two.

pose begins to raise the bow…and the sound is very soft, gentle, soothing. She seems to glide along just over the strings, barely touching them, drawing forth muted, gentle responses. Eyes remaining closed, her expression does not change at all as the quiet melody begins to unfold; gradually, in no hurry to present itself.

pose continues to play, and the melody is a very simple, basic one; subtle variations and reprises of a fairly short series of notes. The tone continues to be soft, soothing…suitable for dancing, even, perhaps, if one was inclined to dance to such music. She moves the bow very calmly, as if she has all the time in the world to play, allowing the notes to gently emerge.

pose seems proficient enough, especially given the relative simplicity of the arrangement, as no mistakes are audible…the bow simply slides, slowly, back and forth…matching the notes, the very subtle swaying of her head…eyes still closed, face serene, soft, and gentle. They continue to pour out, similar enough to sustain a consistent melody, but varied enough to keep things from becoming monotonous, beginning to sound very much like the gentle lapping of small waves; over and over, almost hypnotic in their simple, basic beauty.

pose continues this for some time, the sounds washing and echoing faintly, expressing a different place, a different world.

pose seems to reach a point where she pauses the song; she simply plays the same three notes, all as soft as whispers, repeatedly, over and over. Her movements match the notes, and her focus is just as it was at any time before; she seems lost in her music, as if she is playing as much for herself, perhaps, as anyone else that may be present.

pose returns, after a bit, to the gentle, simple melody. The variations are slight…still calm, the lapping of the waves fading barely, giving the impression of time passing; the tide slowly going out, returning to its home. She plays this for quite a while, altering it just enough but maintaining the basic, simple melody.

pose pauses, eyes still closed, bow still on the strings, for a moment…the music virtually fades away before she moves her arm again, drawing out the soft notes out individually now, separately, displaying each as if they are saying their sad goodbyes. Eventually, reaching the end of the melody, she pauses, hesitant to release as the notes were…lifting the bow gently up, she exhales almost inaudibly.

Anna Dalton – She Is Violinist Hear Her Emote (Composition Two, Final Draft)

This is the last song Anna wrote before her husband’s death…he wanted something upbeat after all her sad songs, so she composed this for, and about, him. It is her most special composition.

pose shifts the violin ever-so-slightly against her left shoulder, cradling it now as a newborn; something treasured, precious, delicate. Her head lowers to the point where it actually is touching the base of the instrument, making them, for the moment, joined. As her eyes begin to close, she exhales once, softly but faintly audible. Eyes closed completely, her right arm brings the bow to just above the top string of the violin.

pose draws the bow very slowly down, and a somewhat melancholy sound begins to coalesce; not truly depressing, but definitely on the sad side of the musical spectrum. Judging by the way the music emerges from the violin it seems almost as if she is playing intentionally in slow motion; the sounds and notes seem more suited for a faster pace, but are slowed – and quite probably saddened – intentionally, as if to accentuate their meaning, each one a special entity unto itself.

pose has her eyes closed, and her focus is absolute as the melancholy notes continue to emerge; rather than simply melting into the music she seems to submerge herself in it, to play with a loving, tender reverence. The veil she wears seems to heighten this effect, as if she has almost disappeared into what has been created and is being created. The notes bend, creak at times; but these are minor flaws, and the emotion and power of them are not lessened by the woman’s lack of mastery.

pose continues to play, slowly; her pace seems unshakable, an absolute focus, a certainty. The notes continue to bend and emerge sadly-tinged, bow moving up and down the strings at different varieties of slow, slower, slowest, creating different varieties of twisted, faintly tortured musings. They are seamless in that her hand never stops moving, but the motion is uneven, plying different noises from different places; reluctantly pulled out, perhaps, before the bow moves on to the next.

pose pauses – for the tiniest fraction of a moment – on certain notes; these seem to be fairly regular but not perfectly spaced, and at these points the sadness swells even more, pained notes declaring their esteemed positions at the heights of her bow’s movements and the song’s importance. The cracks seem to emerge the most here, but it seems almost as if that is intentional, as if she is pushing the notes as far as they will go, bending them until they creak in nearly breaking.

pose seems to alter and repeat this process then, the same method but with slightly alternately-tinged notes, slightly altered high points, slight variations…all the while, there are cracks in the smoothness of the playing, but they seem to be completely ignored and, in fact, the bow seems to linger in special attention on some of them. Finally coming to the end of the refrain, she slides the bow, now very gently, down the length of the instrument, pulling a few last sad notes from the strings.

pose slides the bow up instantly upon the last note fading and disappearing; her movements are as exaggeratedly fast as the previous ones were slow, though now it seems right, proper, completely true, as if the song had simply been waiting to come alive. The results are no longer sad: tiny pauses, only, separating proud, confident music; as majestic as the highest mountaintop, the most beautiful rainbow. The peaks of her playing, now, are almost exhilarating in their sweep and power, and she plays with utter and complete confidence, in tune with such music.

pose continues to play, bow moving at a furious pace as it proudly and defiantly elicits gorgeous swaths of occasionally flawed beauty; fairly regularly – but inexactly – placed pinnacles, each as surprising in its emergence as it is majestic. They seem to be never-ending; their energy appears able to last a lifetime. Her appearance doesn’t change except for the speed of her playing; she plays with virtually the same near-stillness of body, and the same expression, as she had previously.

pose seems tireless as the bow moves with remarkable speed, the music seeming alive and vibrant, unquenchable. It seems to slow, then, just slightly, as the volume drops just as slightly; melody not quite as powerful, but seeming satisfied to be that way, as if it has screamed out in defiance and is now content to simply reinforce such defiance and allow it to echo repeatedly. It slows, again; the bow gradually taming the relentless cries of defiant, undeniable life.

pose finally brings the song to a pause, suddenly, bow actually stopping for just a moment, allowing one last content, more subdued note to be drawn out fully and extended before moving down in a final reprise of the power and beauty of the highest notes, rephrasing their scream and focusing it, one last time, to greatest effect and at greatest volume. It seems to dare to be repudiated, declaring its unwillingness to die. She then stops, suddenly, lifting the bow from the violin as the last note fades away as quickly as it came. She is stark silent for a moment, unmoving, and then lowers both the bow and her head slightly.

Anna Dalton – She Is Violinist Hear Her Emote (Composition One, Final Draft)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc6e8NOswOg

This composition is typical of most of Anna’s work: sad, somber, mournful. Most of her pieces are slow, so the fast motions here are somewhat unusual, but they do exist in some other pieces. As with all her compositions, this was not “written” in the actual sense of notes. It was played, by ear, over and over, until she felt it sounded as it should. She took notes (as she always does), but these consisted of general ideas and vague indications of tone shift, “louder”, “softer”, etc…not actual musical notes. And, like all of her compositions, it is always open to changes she feels…it is “alive”, like her husband.

pose shifts the violin ever-so-slightly, cradling it now as a newborn; something treasured, precious, delicate. Her head lowers to just above it as her eyes begin to close. She exhales once, softly but faintly audible, as her eyes shut fully, her right arm bringing the bow to just above the top string of the instrument. She seems to virtually melt into the violin as the string is touched by the bow, eyes clenching slightly just as sound emerges from her delicately-held instrument. It is faint, at first; as something beginning to grow from the smallest of seeds, breaking from nothingness into reality. The sound, quiet as it is, is decidedly mournful: a sad, longing, hopeless cry…destined to suffer for all eternity.

pose holds her wrist steady; it does not move except as it is drawn by her arm, as if the bow and arm were the only things allowed this luxury, two objects coming together to produce a whole. She glides the bow very, very slowly down from the top string, the quiet cry becoming louder; hopeless, despairing, opening up its sorrow to the world. That one note is sustained as the length of the bow moves down, her hand almost touching the mournful string as its call seems to reach its highest point; still not loud, but having risen steadily on the bow’s slow journey downward.

pose moves her head – and the violin – the slightest bit then, pulling the bow back up much more quickly than it had gone down. This slightly faster pace elicits three distinct notes, played so close together that they almost meld into one, their sounds similar to each other but quite different from the mournful downward note; while still sad, the music which emerges is at the same time defiant and strong, attempting to soothe the pain of the original note, to cradle it in empathetic warmth.

pose seems completely a part of the music, now…as if perhaps it is speaking to her, as well as responding to itself. There is a split-second pause as the bow reaches back to the top of the violin before she gently lowers it down again, instrument crying out just a bit louder, sadness not comforted, despair not soothed. The note is exactly the same as the first in tone, except for the faint echo of the first soothing reply, even as the strings begin to cry once more. The answer comes again, as before, without pause; a defiant challenge to continue, to carry on, rising in power to match the louder, more baleful cry, as if trying even harder to soothe, to lift up, to strengthen.

pose repeats this motion, this action, over and over – allowing the violin to echo its call and response, each one more distinct, more powerful in its tone than the last; wailing louder and louder, responding comfort rising in challenge. After the tenth such reprise, the baleful, echoing cry seems as if cannot be more sad; dying, perhaps even dead…

pose continues, and the response is shockingly different, coming after so many repetitions of the call-and-response: the bow moves quickly, seven times, virtually flashing up and down the strings, producing a sound that seems to be a combination of the mood of the two cries, yet different from each and each other in slight, subtly altering ways; more elegant, more refined. It cracks in places, her lack of complete mastery evident…but she seems completely unfazed by any mistake, moving on, and indeed the cracks make the song itself perhaps even sadder, more real.

pose repeats this new series after a tiny pause; allowing the joined voice to speak again, dominant and powerful, loud and sweeping, ignoring or crashing over any faults with its undeniable strength. This time the series uses eight strokes, bow moving with quick, easy motions as she extends the last passage; a bit slower, flashing only slightly less. There is a feeling of faint transition, as about half of the notes alter just slightly from before as her fingers move rapidly and instinctually on the edge of the instrument, seeming part of the cohesive whole that flows elegantly now, bow tilting faintly to call forth every possible nuance.

pose continues to play, quickly and freely, arm flowing as seamlessly as if she was waving it through air, bow flashing up and down as the sound only continues to grow. The music evoked is a declarative statement spoken in elegant, seamless, slightly twisted notes; there is a raw, imperfect beauty to it, and with fifteen strokes of her arm, it seems to complete its message, as there is the tiniest of pauses…

pose then seems to re-start the new response from the beginning; after a quick burst reminiscent of the whole, she starts actually echoing it with faintly altered, smoothed, elegant notes as the bow flashes up and down repeatedly, restating the combination of sad and defiant, mournful and urging. Seven elegant strokes, then eight, then fifteen…if anything, even more refined than the first time, yet also more varied, as if the notes are emphasizing their elegance. The raw, somewhat unpolished nature is there, but her playing drowns it out in comparison. She finally reaches the last note, and seems to pause, again…

pose finishes this last message at nearly the exact point the song began…and then, very quietly, the violin begins to mourn again, the sound of the first note, slowed so that her arm seems to barely be moving, drawing all the sadness out of the strings, mixing with the echo of the much louder previous passage; its sadness seeming eternal. Eventually, as the bow reaches the bottom, the sound slows…echoes…and fades. At almost the same moment, she exhales again, faintly, and her eyes remain closed as she is as still as a statue, apparently in the thrall of what she has just played.

Heavy-Rotation Selections

With my radio station vamos’ing on the fifth, I thought I’d make a list of Heavy-Rotation (Band I play the most) Albums worth owning.  In alphabetical order.

Alice In Chains – Dirt
Alice In Chains – Jar Of Flies
Nirvana – In Utero
Nirvana – MTV Unplugged In New York
Nirvana – Nevermind
Pearl Jam – Ten
Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
Pearl Jam – Vs.
The Pixies – Bossanova
The Pixies – Surfer Rosa
The Pixies – Trompe Le Monde
The Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
Soundgarden – Superunknown
Stone Temple Pilots – Core
Stone Temple Pilots – Purple
Temple Of The Dog – Temple Of The Dog

Sedibluebird – Braveheart, Main Theme & Making Plans/Gathering The Clans (Youtube, 2011)

Short but brilliant rendition on violin.

Two things:
1) My love for the subject matter is probably greater than yours, and
2) She does make one obvious mistake near the beginning

But she tackles a very difficult piece head-on, and as R. Christgau once said, “(s)he did it in one take.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWV6dcv21c8

Grade: A-

Bob Seger

Greatest Hits (1994)

Seger gives generic a bad name, even when he’s on and (relatively) good.

How this clumsy oaf ever managed to write “Shame On The Moon” is beyond me.

Oh wait…he didn’t.

Grade: C+

Greatest Hits 2 (2003)

Ahhh…here it is.  Along with the two other best songs he’s ever done.  And a lot of sh1t, including “Katmandu”, quite possibly the most annoying song EVER WRITTEN.
(“Shame On The Moon”, “Fire Lake”)

Grade: C+

Scandal

Scandal (1982)

One decent Smith song, no decent Smyth songs.  But it’s short.

Grade: D

The Warrior (1984)

A poor man’s sellout Heart.  Although they did write the best one themselves. 

Re: the cover – Better than Herman Menderchuk.
(“Beat Of A Heart”)

Grade: C

Robert Plant

Pictures At Eleven (1982)

After listening to this several times, I could finally remember the songs that had the best hooky riffs: “Burning Down One Side” and “Fat Lip”.  But I still had no idea what they were about, nor did I care.

Grade: C-

The Principle Of Moments (1983)

It’s pretty pop atmosphere in contrast to his previous album’s hardish rock hooks.  But Plant isn’t the same without Page, and exactly one song on this album has more than atmospheric charm.
(“In The Mood”)

Grade: C

Shaken ‘N’ Stirred (1985)

The meaningless little ditty is “Little By Little”.  That’s the “good” song.

Grade: D-

Now And Zen (1988)

Nothing worthwhile except the single, which is hooky and hilarious.
(“Tall Cool One”)

Grade: D

Hall & Oates

The Very Best Of Daryl Hall & John Oates (2001)

What exactly were they exceptional at, in any way?

I heard most of these hits when they were fresh, and even then they seemed like second-class pop-by-numbers.  And I was a CHILD.

The fact that I can’t deny the hooks doesn’t mean they add up to much of anything.

Grade: D

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)

The original version of this (released in 1980) is superior to the 1994 re-release because it ends sooner.

ELP was intricate, eclectic, and popular…like Yes.  But they always struck me as excrutiatingly pretentious when they weren’t being very basically melodic.  And unlike Yes, I never escaped the feeling that they were just bullsh1tting all along.

And, aside from a few basic melodic tunes, they weren’t very interesting.  They should have just given “Still… You Turn Me On” to a band with a real singer and “Lucky Man” to one WITHOUT a synthesizer that threatened to make your eardrums bleed and/or explode when it REALLY kicked in.

Also, they didn’t have Steve Howe.

Grade: D+

Deep Purple

Machine Head (1972)

Forget everything else, including anything calling itself “Greatest” or “Best”.  This is their best, and it contains their only sizeable hit worth owning (“Hush” is a novelty).  It also contains a few other good songs.  “A few” being enough, given that there are only seven songs on the album.
(“Maybe I’m A Leo”, “Space Truckin'”)

Grade: B+

The Cult

Electric (1987)

It’s got some riffs.  It’s also INDESCRIBABLY stupid, making Led Zep I and II look like statements by major philosophers.  And Ian Astbury can’t sing as good as Robert Plant.  Or Robert Palmer.  Or Robert DeNiro.

Grade: D

Sonic Temple (1989)

They put all the good sh1t on the first “side” (see vinyl/cassette) and it’s pretty good in a Metallica-goes-Bob-Rock-Pop-Metal sort of way.  The rest is just dull.  And Ian Astbury has redefined stupid as a lead vocalist/lyricist.  At least David St. Hubbins was funny.  Come to think of it, Astbury’s funny too.  But not in QUITE the same way that we would want.  You don’t laugh at the joke he represents, you laugh at the joke he IS.

Grade: C

Puppy Presents – Good Songs By Otherwise Useless Artists(As They Come To Me)

Bananarama – “Cruel Summer”
Misery Signals – “Worlds & Dreams” (NOT unlistenable horsesh1t, for once)
Michael Penn – “No Myth”
The Breeders – “Cannonball” (Festering in Black Francis’ memory)
The Primitives – “Crash”
Bob Welch – “Ebony Eyes”
The Charlatans – “The Only One I Know” (The hit “Hush” never should have been)
Cracker – “Low”
ABBA – “Dancing Queen” (I CAN’T HELP IT!!!)
Angie Aparo – “Spaceship”
Ben Folds Five – “Brick”
Berlin – “The Metro”
Big Country – “In A Big Country” (A Flock Of Royal Canadian Mounted Geese)
T. Rex – “Jeepster” (“Get It On (Bang A Gong)” sucks)

Last Updated: 12/22/13

Chris Cornell

Euphoria Morning (1999)

This is a radical departure from Soundgarden.  It’s melodic, pretty, mostly soft…recalling, if anything, the slower songs from Cornell’s Andrew Wood tribute, Temple of the Dog.  The lyrics are interesting and the entire thing can be listened to without wincing.

But only occasionally does it rise above pleasant.  The only song that seems to be even intended for airplay is “Can’t Change Me”.  Mostly, it seems like an album full of private ruminations set to mostly spare musical accompaniment.  Artistically not without merit, but I have the feeling that Chris enjoys listening to most of these songs more than pretty much anyone else.
(“Can’t Change Me”, “Mission”)

Grade: C+