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Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 0 comments

Remembering Sir George Martin (1926-2016)

 

martin conducting beatles2

 

I’m fascinated by the creative process.  Watching unfiltered talent in the raw and witnessing art evolve can be far more intriguing than sampling the perfectly-polished end product.  Sometimes, it’s just as interesting to watch the baker at work than to taste the cake.

Sir George Martin baked up and frosted as many rock n’ roll masterpieces as anyone else during the 1960’s, and that’s quite a statement given what a creative period that was in popular music.  As the longtime producer for The Beatles, Martin consistently infused the group with new sounds and unprecedented methods of instrumentation which had never been used before by pop musicians.  Some of the techniques would have been unthinkable were it not for The Beatles’ own curiosities matched with Martin as the perfect tutor of influence.  The lanky and straight-laced Martin looked more like a barrister than the megaphone for the counterculture.  Martin consistently pushed the Fab Four to new creative heights, obliterating old precedent with each new album release, which sometimes mystified the groups fans and risked proven commercial formulas.

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Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 0 comments

2016 Grammy Awards Thoughts and Picks

 

Grammy-58th

 

If you were around last year at this time, you witnessed one of the most impressive instances of special events handicapping in quite some time.

Matt Lessinger, who has appeared here frequently as my guest on this site (usually giving out picks on boxing, Mixed-Martial Arts, Oscars, Grammys), successfully rattled off an astoundingly perfect night at the 2015 Grammy Awards, picking several winners including a 10-1 shot as “Album of the Year.”  That’s as amazing a feat as you will see on a public forum and is far better analysis than anything which appears on the conventional entertainment programs which tout “expert advice.”   This is just one reason Lessinger appeared on National Public Radio (NPR) a few years ago, evaluating all the major categories.

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Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 4 comments

Van Morrison’s Concert was Terrible (and I Loved Every Note of It)

 

Screenshot 2016-01-17 at 2.05.00 PM - Edited

 

“I’m an introvert in a business of extroverts….which is kinda’ a big problem.”

— Van Morrison

 

Van Morrison’s concert on the night of January 15th, 2016 at the famed Shrine Auditorium on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles was terrible.  And, I loved every single note of it.

Here, I’ll explain.

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Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 3 comments

The Death of David Bowie and the Life of a Hero

 

david-bowie

 

The deaths of those we grew up watching and listening to, frequently regarded as obelisks for the people we ultimately become and much of what we believe, are creeping reminders of our own looming mortality.

Musicians and moviestars, poets and politicians, scientists and sports figures, artists and authors — each passing of someone famous who was important in our lives etches yet another inescapable stanza of tablature towards the last note we ultimately play, although it’s unbeknownst to us when or where the final curtain shall fall.  Alas, the tablature of the true greats are signposts and lighthouses left behind to guide and inspire.

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Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews, Politics | 0 comments

A Marxist Interpretation of Christmas Carols

 

Karl Marx is Santa Claus

 

Capitalism has kidnapped Christmas, blindfolded it, and stuck a sock in its mouth.

Indeed, we’ve become hostages to crass materialism, wild shopping and spending sprees, and ultimately end up as slaves to crushing consumer debt.

So, how did we stray so far adrift from the intended spirit of the holiday tradition of earlier and much simpler times?  What happened to sharing and caring?  Whatever became of goodwill towards all?  Those noblest of virtues were trampled weeks ago, the moment all the stores opened up on Black Friday.

The single constant reminder of the true meaning of the holidays remains the enduring spirit of our most beloved Christmas carols.  Music fills our hearts with joy.  Songs bring us good cheer.  But hidden in between the Yule festivities, might there be something far more profound the songwriters and lyricists intended?

Consider some of our favorite holiday songs.  Might these lyrics have have messages that were inspired by none other than Karl Marx?  This isn’t as crazy as it sounds:

 

“Away in a Manger”

Away in a manger,
No crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens
Looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Bethlehem’s lack of affordable housing creates homeless children, including impoverished infants.

 

“All I Want for Christmas is You”

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s just one thing I need.
I don’t care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree.

— What these lyrics really mean:  The proletariat is starting to revolt and is rejecting boorish materialism.

 

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
Do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know
A child, a child shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Capitalism demands that we turn over our wealth to the ruling class.

 

“Frosty the Snowman”

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose,
And two eyes made out of coal.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Frosty desperately needs a single-payer health care system since he can’t afford a normal nose and eyes.  Big tobacco has also turned him into a helpless drug addict (the crack pipe is unspecified).

 

“God Rest ‘Ye Merry Gentlemen”

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our savior,
Was born on Christmas day.

— What these lyrics really mean:  There’s no mention of women “resting.”  Only gentlemen get to loaf around the house.  Women are required to do all the work around the holidays and even work overtime.  Gender discrimination is rampant.

 

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked
Up in my bedroom fast asleep.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Lack of community services and proper government oversight creates a voyeuristic child destined for adulthood perversion.

 

“I’ll be home for Christmas”

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Poor public transportation systems and lack of infrastructure create heartache around the holidays caused by the separation of family members.

 

“Jingle Bells”

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
O what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

— What these lyrics really mean:  The evils of capitalism lead to a terrible situation — an overworked horse pulling a heavy sled in freezing temperatures — in other words, animal abuse.

 

“Little Drummer Boy”

Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Child labor practices are encouraged during the holidays.  Stressed-out child musician receives no compensation, other than a smile.

 

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph,
Play in any reindeer games….

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say.
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

— What these lyrics really mean:  Within free-market economies, minorities face institutionalized mass discrimination and are often exploited for their unique talents and characteristics.

 

“Santa Baby”

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good girl….
Santa baby, an out-of-space convertible too, light blue….
Santa honey, I wanna yacht and really that’s
Not a lot.
I’ve been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Here’s selfish consumerism at its absolute worst.  A young girl is taught to covet a sable coat, a yacht, and blue convertible.  Moreover, she demands he bring all the gifts down the chimney, not tomorrow, but tonight!

 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

— What these lyrics really mean:  Constitutional protections and individual civil liberties have been annihilated under capitalism.

 

“The 12 Days of Christmas”

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French Hens,
Two turtle doves
And a Partridge in a pear tree.

— What these lyrics really mean:   “On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love’s credit cards were all maxed out and she declared bankruptcy.”

 

“White Christmas”

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Racism, plain and simple.

 

__________

 

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