Showing posts with label greg gutfeld. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greg gutfeld. Show all posts

Friday, February 21, 2020

There Are No Good Conservative Songwriters


Some dolt named Jason Isbell, who is apparently the "King of Americana Music" (I honestly have no idea who the idiot is) recently got into a Twitter tussle with someone who tweeted that they didn't like his progressive politics, and responded, “If it ever gets to be too much for you, there are a lot of great songwriters out there who agree with you politically. Oh wait, no there aren’t.”

I abhor making fun of the mentally challenged, but I will make an exception in this case. Let's begin with the absurd moniker of "King of Americana". Who crowned him? In my limited exposure to whatever the hell Americana is, I would exalt Dwight Yoakam (who is apparently no longer considered "country") to that title. And Dwight's politics are, yes, progressive, but he's no imbecile. There is no chance in hell Dwight would make a statement like that, because he knows better. Dwight knows that political bent has no bearing on songwriting prowess. In fact, political leanings have no bearing on creativity, period. I don't know (and don't care to know) what kind of songs this Isbell guy writes, but if you're in the country milieu, aren't you writing about heartbreak and about life's ups and downs? I didn't know that was solely the purview of liberals. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not, based on my reading of online political site comments; unless the songs are all about how much I hate Trump and the world is going to hell...because of Trump.



It's sad that some people's existences are so tiny that all they have to latch onto is hate. No, not sad -- pathetic.

I'm not going to enumerate all the superb conservative country songwriters, because Trigger compiled a comprehensive list here. My point in writing this post is that people need to get over themselves. I sometimes lurk on a (fiction) writer's forum and it's just as hateful as Jason Isbell. The prevailing opinion there (among writers who've had just as much success as me; meaning "none") is that conservatives are hayseeds who can barely read, much less write. The place oozes with condescension.

No wonder I pine for the days when music was just "music". Now we are forced to take sides. That's not what music is about. Music should be joyous. Music should be a respite; a little jewel we tuck inside our pockets. I don't want it to be ruined. I knew that Stephen Stills was a Hollywood Hills lefty, but I didn't care because I liked his music. I know what John Lennon was. Lennon is a god to me. 

Let's all calm down and stop hoisting our battle shields. 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Weird Songs

 There's something to be said for weird songs. First of all, if done right, weird songs are memorable. It's a fine line between done right and done wrong. If an artist tries too hard to be strange, they just come across as lame and obvious. For example, Ray Stevens is primarily known for his novelty songs, which I rarely found humor in. It's a shame, because Ray Stevens is a highly underrated artist (when he does serious songs), but I guess he'd found his niche in kitsch.

The majority of weird songs were recorded by one-hit wonders -- because once you've done crazy, it's hard to recreate. Little kids love weird songs. The weirder the better. One has to have the mindset of a kid to understand that. Kids, once they become cognizant of music, either become ingrained in music by listening to the radio or by someone older's influence. In my case, the "someone older" was my big brother. My brother schooled me in music and essentially led me where he wanted me to go. He had superb taste in music. I discovered the Beatles from their radio hits, but it was my brother who bought "Rubber Soul" and "Help!" and showed me that albums could be magical things. He introduced me to Bob Dylan. I knew of the Beach Boys, but not the entirety of the Beach Boys. The first time I heard, "Oh, Pretty Woman" I was Roy Orbison's forever, but my brother had Roy's greatest hits and damn! The first LP I ever owned was a birthday present from my brother -- "If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears" by the Mamas and the Papas. So by around age nine, I knew what good music should sound like.

Then I heard a strange song on the radio. I thought it was hilarious -- well, I was eleven. The song was supremely weird -- not the way songs should go. This intrigued me. My best friend Cathy also thought it was awesome. That was an extra-added bonus, because we could sing (or talk) along to it when it came on the radio and giggle about it.

Since it was 1966, apparently we have no YouTube live performance videos of the song (and really, could it be performed live?)

The lines that cracked me up (at age eleven) were:

I cooked your food
I cleaned your house
And this is how
You pay me back
For all my kind
Unselfish loving deeds

Napoleon XIV:

At my tender, impressionable age of thirteen, this next song became a hit. This one wasn't humorous. I was deeply ensconced in my Catholic religion at that time -- a reawakening of my faith or a love of ritual -- either way, my religious fervor was short-lasting. Nevertheless, I felt this song was how the devil would sound if he was to talk to me (he never actually did, that I know of).

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown:

By the seventies, I was more cynical -- probably too cynical for my age -- but there it was. I'd heard so much music by then, good and bad; sometimes awful, sometimes awesome; but mostly awful. I'd learned that there was nothing left to learn about music. Bear in mind, I'd probably been exposed to roughly 10,000 songs by that time, which was a pretty good record, since I was only in my twenties. 

I was minimally aware of Glenn Miller's music; as much as I'd caught on some TV variety show or perhaps as background music -- Muzak -- or perhaps on a commercial. I've since learned a lot about Glenn Miller, but at that time of my life, it was just "old people's music", and I was disinterested.

A song began appearing on the radio. The melody was familiar, but this particular rendition was sung by chickens. Naturally, that caught my attention. It was goofy, sort of like "They're Coming To Take Me Away" was goofy and odd and chin-scratching. One had to ask oneself, "Why would chickens be singing this song?"

The Henhouse Five Plus Two (alias Ray Stevens):

If I travel wa-a-a-y back in time, to my barely conscious musical awakening at age five, I would include this next song in the realm of weirdness. Little did I know that it was an iconic Bill Monroe bluegrass song. But this version is much more fun:

The Fendermen:

After the seventies and Ray Stevens, nobody really released weird records anymore. Everything became super-serious and important. The sixties were the nadir of weirdness. Too bad. We could use much more fun and more idiosyncrasy. 

It's almost impossible to find fun anymore. It's like fun is a bad word. "The world is too dangerous to have fun."

No. It's not. 

Perhaps what's wrong with the world today is that nobody has any fun. Maybe that's why everyone is so surly. I don't know about you, but my world is surly. Surly at work -- everybody fighting for supremacy. Surly at home. Somebody didn't do something they were expected to do. We can't breathe. 

"Fun" is frowned upon. Don't be silly! Damn you! What are you, some kind of moron? 

Our muscles are taut. The stress hormones course and skip across our sinews. 

God damn, people! Lighten up! The world is shorter than you think. Human existence won't end because you used a semi-colon instead of a comma in a sentence in an email!

I miss fun. I would have more of it if it was permissible. 

And this is how you pay me back
For all my kind, unselfish loving deeds?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ten Thousand Angels

I believe it was the fall of 1996 when I saw Mindy McCready in concert.  I'd traveled 287 miles with my sister to see George Strait at the Fargodome.  Mindy was George's opening act.  She didn't perform well, but she was new, after all; plus, everybody was dying to see George, so maybe we all were a bit jaded.

She'd had two hits by that time; ultimately, the only two hits she would ever have.

I'd read a book way back when, called "Three Chords and the Truth", and somehow I'd never forgotten the passages about Mindy.  It's not as if 1996 was dominated by Mindy songs.  1996 was mostly Shania Twain and Garth Brooks, and, of course, George Strait. But Mindy had a story.  She'd had a mostly crappy life, with a mother who apparently wanted to experience her missed fame and fortune through her kid; a mom who was unnaturally tough on a little girl; one who, on the one hand, pushed her kid to attain new country music heights; and with the other hand, smacked her down and treated her as little more than a chamber maid.  Mixed signals like that can screw somebody up for life.

I didn't know what happened to Mindy after her two hit singles.  I think I read in People Magazine that she was engaged to Dean Cain, but after that, she fell off my radar.  Then, sometime later, all the sordid stories began, and it was frankly too much drama for me.  I hate drama.  Drama exhausts me.  

Mindy hadn't been relevant in the music world for a decade and a half.  Most people don't remember what happened yesterday, much less 17 years ago.  For Entertainment Weekly, Mindy's death was a huge story on....what was it?  Monday?  Now they are bored with it all.  That's the shelf life of most entertainers.

I watch The Five, or I, rather, listen to it, on weekdays, after I get home from work.  I like having a TV to keep me company while I'm playing around on the computer and de-stressing.  Greg Gutfeld said something, when the topic turned to Mindy McCready, about keeping (I'm paraphrasing, because I don't recall his exact words) damaged people at arm's length.  His reasons were different from mine; but I, too, tend to keep people like that away from me.  Because those people drain you.

It wasn't her fault.  There were a bunch of threads snaking through Mindy's life; bad choices, bad people; bad decisions; mostly, bad parents (sorry, but it's true).

I just hope her kids turn out okay, because life is a tough row to hoe, even when everything falls into place just so; as if anything ever does.

I've felt that kind of despair in my life.  Maybe the difference was, I didn't have ciphers pumping visions of grandeur into my brain; telling me that if I fail, I'll fail BIG.  I was just a "normal" nonentity; and I had to take care of my kids and myself, as best I could.  Maybe being inconsequential saved me.

Every life has its worth.  Even if EW forgets you in a day, not all of us forget.

Here is Mindy: