Tag Archives: Dylan

The Score

Okay, so I missed Obama’s speech yesterday, but reading the transcript in my office this morning made me break down and think a little. Eloquent prose aside (after seven years of President Shrub it’s nice to listen to someone speak in sentences), and even though there wasn’t really any one policy action he was outlining as a president-elect, I’m aware and transformed by the exigence of the speech itself. He rallied all the correct arguments, accented all the correct impacts, and projected alternatives (prophesied? okay okay, I’ll lay off) for an emotional architecture of solvency. The synthesis of excellent rhetoric and semiotic inflection made me eat that shit up in ways you can’t imagine.

Since the election campaign started about a year and a half ago, I’ve done nothing but bitch and complain about the appalling process (read: reality show) Americans call ‘Elections.’ I’m committed to third party candidacies, feed off the asinine caricatures politicians make of themselves, loathe the amount of wealth spilled for a few ballots, and generally distrust the issues chosen for campaign platforms. And while I still think my hesitations have their merit, I sometimes forget that radical change can truly come from within institutions–from the bowels of governmentality. As for Hilary, no matter how important the novelty of having a woman president may be, she hasn’t put herself out there. She’s here to service power, and not to have power service us. For those who look to her as a feminist, she still has a lot to learn about Seneca Falls.

I really wanted Kucinich. He’s unabashedly liberal, totally weird, and so full love that people often can’t access his lens of politics. I’m totally proud to call him my Congressperson. Plus, his favorite musicians are Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco and Michael Franti. He’s a kindred stoner. But Joan Baez supports Obama. And Obama is down with Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and the Fugees. Fu-Gee-La baby.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds –- by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

I still have a lot problems with Obama. His website indicates that he supported Israel’s blitzkrieg of Lebanon in 2006. He wants to expand the military by adding nearly a hundred thousand soldiers and Marines. He’s blatantly lacking any dialogue about gender and sexuality issues. His plan for energy consumption pretty much consists of replacing oil with biofuels and ethanol. His ideas on immigration are shockingly uncritical and amounts to ‘border security’ coupled with assimilation through bureaucratic means. He’s not talking about how to legally fix the insane expansion and annexing of executive powers in the past seven years. Obama is way outdated on the economy, and nowhere is he outlining the criminal processes occurring in the name of money, nor the transparency and civil liberties displaced.

In short, he’s not perfect. But a my roommate Sarah has been hounding as she researches imperialism and democracy in Iran, we need to stop abandoning–indeed, attacking–liberals who may not fight for our particular brand of liberty and progressivism, but realize that in the end, we are all struggling for similar humanness.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” ~ Jimmy Hendrix


Inductions into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame are tonight and the ‘Class of 2008‘ include  The Dave Clark Five, The Ventures, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, and, for some reason, Madonna.  Sexed-up celebrity, yes, pop-culture phenomenon, yes, famous rock and roller?  Fuck no…


Aside from the obvious curiosity of the Hall of Fame inducting a singer-only that plays no instrument, I’ll level with you all: Madonna has altered the landscape of popular music, and especially what people come to expect when they consume it.  BUT, without her music videos, without her mixing masters and producers who infuse her voice with music to bring it alive, she would have a hard time bringing subversive change to world music.  Has anyone ever read her lyrics?  There’s not much more emotional charge there beyond what a fifth grade poem might inspire.  That’s not a criticism of her music, however; The Madge has been able to musically braid artists like Bowie, Donna Summer, and little femme Mapplethorpe into an incredible cache of rich sound that energizes the listener repeatedly without fatigue.  Thats sweet, but it ain’t no rock and roll!  MTV made her, and they can continue to award her, but don’t throw her in with Dylan, Joni Mitchell, or Aretha Franklin–they’ll do laps around her for sure.

John Soeder of The Plain Dealer writes up the nomination bill, and poignantly articulates the symbolism of Madonna:

As for Madonna, her greatest creation remains Madonna herself. As she puts it in “The Confessions Tour” DVD: “I am the art.”

Despite the pop bent of her music, Madonna belongs in the Rock Hall, says Stein, president emeritus of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s board of directors.

Madonna has “a true rock ‘n’ roll spirit,” Stein says.

“She takes chances. She doesn’t care about the odds. She cares about whether she believes in something or not.

Whatever.  The fact that the Dealer chose to describe her induction by collaging the evolution of her fashion (as opposed to, say, her album work) probably speaks to my point better.

Part Two

This is certainly the (hilarious) appropriate response to the previous post:

I want some Desolation Roe!

Sex Sells Out

A couple posts ago local Cincy music blogger Each Note Secure directed readers to commercial advertisements featuring music from current lesser-known bands. One of them was an Axe ad featuring a favorite band of mine, Brazilian Girls.

If anyone has some information regarding the ‘uncensored’ tag at the YouTube clip, pass it along; I can’t seem to confirm any information about it being censored in regions of the world (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if networks chose not to pick it up because of its Jesus-hating rompiness).

I know bands need to make money, but I tend to die a little when the music I experience and discover is later used to move a few crates of, say, overpriced soap. The most disheartening, personally, is the double-whammy my lover Bob Dylan did after his famous Victoria’s Secret commercial, selling SUVs and anorexic downloads. (Actually, I find the strangely juxtaposed lingerie incident, set to ‘Love Sick’, pretty hilarious. Why? Aside from the timbre and salty reverb of the actual song, it makes absolutely no sense to hear it in the context of the commercial. What shoppers is Les Wexner eager to attract–aging hipsters expecting a sea of boobs? Dylan did it for the shooting of the commercial, not the money). The Torygraph had a take on it back when.

For the Brazilian Girls, an MTV News (ugh…) article may have some insights into their decision to sell out to Axe (Sabina Sciubba is the band’s frontwoman and singer/songwriter):

“I hope through my words that I am not coming across as vulgar,” said the Italian-born Sciubba, who was raised in Munich, Germany; Nice, France; and Rome. “Sex is being used to sell everything. It’s part of the joke of being called the Brazilian Girls.”

Sciubba says she doesn’t watch television, but she doesn’t seem to mind capitalizing on it. “If I would make lots of money that would be great,” she said, evidently not worried about going mainstream.

Cheeky?  I think I might have bought her words if she were actually involved in the commercial.

I’m going home to listen to Pete Townshend.