The Clean: Mister Pop

There’s always been a hint of a Pink Floyd fixation in the Clean’s efforts; the title of their 2003 live album, Syd’s Pink Wiring System being but one indication. On their new album, the New Zealand ensemble – which celebrated their 30th anniversary this past year – make further bows to those psychedelic forebears in ways that leave no doubt as to both their references and reverence. Make no mistake, Mister Pop also lives up to its title’s billing, but given the glassy-eyed chants of “Are You Really On Drugs,” the psychedelic stirrings of “Asleep in the Tunnels” and the celestial send-ups of instrumentals like “Loog” and “Simple Fix,” the band’s cosmic inclinations remain all too evident. Happily, the Clean can still rock – or, shall we say, romp – with songs such as “In the Dream Life You Need a Rubber Soul,” “Tensile” and “Back in the Day,” conveying a distinctly appealing and infectious sound that clings just as mightily to those aforementioned pop precepts. When taken in tandem, Mister Pop provides a strangely surreal serenade. (Merge 2009)

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The Life and Times: <i>Tragic Boogie</i>

  

I love you so much, I hate myself: Songs that bare their souls…and freak us out

Songs that bare their souls and freak us out

Most men hate Valentine’s Day, but we at Bullz-Eye actually love it, though for different reasons than you might suspect. The majority of us are either happily married or in long-term relationships (except for our fearless, terminally single leader), so Valentine’s Day is a sweet reminder of how happy we are that we’re no longer playing the dating game. (It’s fun when you’re young, guys, but trust us, you won’t miss it.) But the real reason we love Valentine’s Day is because it gives us an opportunity to make fun of songs that pretend to be heartfelt, but are really just sad. And we don’t mean “Brian’s Song” sad. We mean Milhouse Van Houten sad.

It all started with a Coldplay song. As we’re tapping along with the drums, we put the lyrics under a microscope and thought, “Did he really just say that? That’s pathetic!” From there, we began analyzing other songs that appeared to be sweet, honest confessions of love on the surface, but were just sorry cries for help in disguise or, worse, disturbing preludes to what a defense attorney would call “crimes of passion.”

We have broken our subjects down into three categories: stalker anthems, love songs for the spineless, and murder ballads, the last of which are mostly minus the ballad. Our research uncovered dozens upon dozens of songs that fit one bill or another, but for the sake of time and space, we’re whittling the list down to our favorites (all apologies to Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”). And, as a public service, we have provided musical antidotes for every song we dissect, in case anyone is overwhelmed with a case of the willies. Perhaps the most disturbing thing we uncovered is that one of the more sinister repeat offenders was…Barenaked Ladies? You better believe it.

Now I’m following you: Songs that profess a more “dedicated” kind of love
There are certain songs that love you. Like, really, really love you. Wait for you at the elevator love you. Watch through your window as you sleep love you. Whether you love them back is irrelevant – you were made for them, and it’s only a matter of time before you accept this to be true.

Song/Artist: “It’s No Good,” Depeche Mode
Incriminating Lyric: “The gods decree, you’ll be right here by my side / Right next to me / You can run but you cannot hide.”
Creep Factor: Low. Dave Gahan ranks just behind Jarvis Cocker on the list of least intimidating rock stars.
Musical Antidote: “You’re No Good,” Linda Ronstadt

Song/Artist: “Number One Crush,” Garbage
Incriminating Lyric: “You will believe in me / And I will never be ignored.”
Creep Factor: Admittedly, the lyric sheet reads like a diary entry written by Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” but if you have a thing for sulky redheads in raccoon eye makeup – as many of us clearly did in the ’90s – the song is really sort of adorable.
Musical Antidote: “Puppy Love,” Paul Anka

Song/Artist: “Obsession,” Animotion
Incriminating Lyric: “I will have you, yes I will have you / I will find a way, and I will have you / Like a butterfly, a wild butterfly / I will collect you and capture you.”
Creep Factor: Too turned on to be creeped out. Keep in mind that one of the next lines is “Who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me?” so if we’re just talking about casual sex, wouldn’t you rather it be with someone who’s a little nuts and willing to role play? You bet your ass you would.
Musical Antidote: “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” Jermaine Stewart

Song/Artist: “I Will Possess Your Heart,” Death Cab for Cutie
Incriminating Lyric: “You reject my advances and desperate pleas / I won’t let you let me down so easily.”
Creep Factor: Holy shit. Most of the time, Ben Gibbard sounds like a harmless nerd, but with this song, he let us know that he’s just as capable of making us wonder if we should call the cops.
Musical Antidote: “Let’s Be Friends,” New Edition

To read the rest of Songs That Bare Their Souls and Freak Us Out, click here.

  

Your favorite band sucks: bands and artists the Bullz-Eye music writers just “don’t get”

Every music lover has been there – in front of the television or a set of speakers, listening for the first time to the work of a critically revered artist whose songs are supposed to change the way you look at the world…only to come away wondering what all the hype was about. For the iconoclastic among us, these moments are opportunities to prove what independent thinkers we are; for everyone else – a group that often appears to include virtually every name-brand music critic on the planet – they’re opportunities to turn off your ears, nod your head, and smile. What kind of self-respecting music writer doesn’t love the music of Bruce Springsteen? U2? Elvis Costello? A total hack, right?

Your favorite band sucks Maybe. Or maybe we tend to forget that one of the most wonderful things about art is the utterly objective way we respond to it. One establishment’s treasure can be one lonely listener’s source of constant befuddlement, consternation or outright rage – and with that in mind, your Bullz-Eye Music staff put its heads together and drew up a list of all the bands and artists we’re supposed to love…but don’t. Each of the writers who contributed to this piece is speaking solely for himself, and you’re sure to disagree with some of the names mentioned here – and, of course, that’s sort of the point. But enough of our introductory babble – let’s break down some critical idols!

The Doors
“…don’t even think about describing their sound as “timeless”; you’ll be hard pressed to find music as trapped in time as these peyote-fueled dirges, and no one summed up the life and legacy of Jim Morrison – whose death was as brilliant a career move as you’ll ever see – better than Denis Leary: ‘I’m drunk, I’m nobody. I’m drunk, I’m famous. I’m drunk, I’m fucking dead.'”

Bruce Springsteen
“Perhaps Jello Biafra put it best when he referred to Bruce Springsteen as ‘Bob Dylan for jocks.’ But I can sum up what I dislike about the majority of the Boss in one word: Glockenspiel.”

Pink Floyd
“If you’re 14 and discovering pot, Pink Floyd’s a must. Hell, Dark Side of the Moon is practically a gateway drug in and of itself. If you’re out of high school and still into ’em, you’ve got a problem.”

Conor Oberst
“…his songs are duller than a steak knife in a prison cafeteria. I’ve tried repeatedly to ‘get’ Oberst’s work, but each time, I come away further convinced that his music is an elaborate prank hatched by the editors of Pitchfork.”

To read the rest of the bands Bullz-Eye doesn’t get, click here.

  

Deep Cuts: Pink Floyd (the podcast)

If you’re curious to hear (most) of the songs I picked for the current Pink Floyd Deep Cuts piece, then head on over to Sniff The Tip and listen to your ears’ content. That is all. Happy weekend to you all.

  

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