Saturday, July 21, 2018

Poppin' gold!!

by Kay C (writer), Vancouver, June 30, 2007


In an age of outlandish criminal politics (is there really any other kind anymore?), I'd rather talk about art - and popular music specifically. It'll be fun to volley the verbal banter about something immediate, intense, and creative as opposed to cunning, crafty, or destructive.

This article is meant to be a celebration of music, all kinds and every taste. This article is also meant to be fun and interactive. Let's write about music, one of the most inspiring and healing mediums ever! Forgive me if I gush, folks - just pretend we're on the beach, glass of wine in hand, breeze in hair, chatting away at the possibililty of everything and anything.

Pop songs. Rock songs. Any kinda songs.

They can define memories, memorialize generations, re-route neuro-transmitters, and elevate consciousness. They can be idealistic and they can challenge OR they can just offer a couple minutes of a naturally induced altered state.

Okay, here I go...(all opinions are strictly my own).

I think the Bee Gees were genius at creating a completely original sound through vocal harmony; Talking Heads were innovators and brought a heightened sense of IRONY to their lyrics; and Queen had one of the best frontmen ever.

Or how about the Stones - deep country and blues poured, churned, and stirred into an amalgamation that even dopey white kids could be proud of? What about the great heart of Lennon, the poetry of Dylan, the pain of Joplin (did she ever realize her depth of suffering or how easily it translated into vinyl profundity)?

Jim Morrison was one of the sexiest poets, and Bowie was one of the most prolific. Joni Mitchel and Bruce Cockburn created awesome masterpieces with words and their intonations. Or how about Kate Bush - a woman whose high wails of brilliance influenced everyone from The Cure to Tori Amos.

The Smiths were a paradox: lonely outsider lyrics were often married to an up-tempo, airy acoustic guitar - "I want the one I can't have and it's driving me mad"...can anyone relate to that???!!!!

Remember the easy cool of Steely Dan and 10cc and Peter Cetera fronting Chicago, or the awesomeness of Michael McDonald? Or how about the ultra smooth of Christopher Cross and James Taylor?

What about the stunning sexiness of Lena Horne, the soaring genius of Barbra Steisand, the infinite power of Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin and now, Macy Gray and Mary J. Blige? These gals are heavy heavy in the way that Ross and the Supremes were heavy light. Heavy light, in their case, by the way, is just as cool as heavy heavy.

Remember The Who and Tommy? Elton John's Pinball Wizard or how about Honky Cat? Pete Townshend went on to be almost as fascinating as David Byrne. Anyone remember Face the Face?

And how about those voices that could shred steel? Rod Stewart lamenting Maggie, Al Green wondering how to mend a broken heart, or Tina Turner describing the lonely angst of a private dancer? Or what about the "second" guy heading AC/DC - I mean, how does a throat survive it all?

The great Tina - the energy - a human powerhouse moving across the stage in a way that no one else had before (except maybe for a James Brown, who wasn't half as sexy:). Tina took my breath away as a kid (and she still does, even as she nears her seventh decade). Forget the showmanship of Kiss (but don't really) and give me some more hair, heels, and heart. River Deep, Mountain High - who else but Tina could have demolished such a Wall of Sound? I've actually been fortunate enough to see Tina Turner perform live seven times!!!

What about the sheer organic unity of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or The Police??? The magical, electronic Beatle-esque gems of E.L.O? All almost unbearably incredible. And the "group dynamic" intensity of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles or Rush and The Tragically Hip?? - wow, what a combined musical body of sheer bliss!

Don't forget about the White guys that sounded Black? Stevie Winwood and Steve Perry and the red-head from Simply Red...or just the ones that sounded angelic - Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline, and Boy George? (yeah, I know El G, you really want to hurt me).

And country legacies too - Johnny Cash singing HURT or Willie Nelson singing anything? And how on Earth could Dolly pluck that guitar so well with those nails? Jolene, oh Jolene.

Then we have the cool, smart, smug girls like Pink and Gwen making fun of the not so smart ones, and I won't mention names. And let us not forget the compassionate, amazing gals such as Lauper and Raitt, Lauren Hill and Linda Ronstadt.

Was anyone as sexy as Olivia Newton John or Annie Lennox or Prince or Anthony "sexycoolhot" Keidis??? And didn't you kind of love Duran Duran - shake up that lizard thing, indeed!! Was anyone ever more cool than Debbie "hottie" Harry?

Does anyone want to take on the cultural significance of Madonna or R.E.M or Bob Marley???? Or the controversy of metal in its more extreme forms? Or how about gangsta rap? Punk? And what do we think about the massive decline of record industry profits?

Yes, I admit it - I'm a music fan (hey - I even got into a mosh pit at a Fishbone concert) and was transported to another dimension at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion listening to the opera of Hei-Kyung Hong. I could go on for days but I'd rather hear from you. Talk to me about what tunes changed your life, made the hairs stand on end, inspired you to your own magic? This is an area where opinions can co-exist quite peacefully, no matter how different.

Talk to me about your favorite "unknowns" - the master creators who get no recognition from our corporatized existence (like a Jane Siberry, a Strange Advance, or a Mary Margaret O'hara) - the poets and the alchemists.

PS --- Am I crazy to think When Doves Cry is the greatest, most complete pop song ever created?????

Let me know, and I'm sure you will:) Peace.

About the Writer

Kay C is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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8 comments on Poppin' gold!!

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By Jen on June 30, 2007 at 02:28 pm
Really GREAT article Kay C! Very enjoyable read… You have amazing taste in music. You mention many of my favorite artists. Especially Tina Turner! She is still an amazing artist. However, you forgot to mention one of my personal favorites…Pat Benatar. The Beastie Boys being another favorite of mine that I don’t remember seeing. Anyway, one group that I don’t think many people know about is Manu Chao. They blend Mexican, Cuban and Latin sounds with an undertone of reggae. The albums are in Spanish, but even if you don’t speak the language, the sound is great!
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By Charles Harmison on June 30, 2007 at 05:17 pm
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By Kay C on June 30, 2007 at 06:38 pm
Thank you all. Yes, you are quite right, El G, about Brian - I did say "second" in quotations because that is how most think of him - not as good as the first guy. I happen to disagree - BJ is quite simply one of the best vocalists I've ever heard! Yes, Joseph, I love Jane - who is now known as ISSA - she actually has an option on her music page to SHARE her music. Yes, Jen, I love Pat as well. There were quite a few "treasures" not included in the article. She also does an amazing cover of "Wuthering Heights" - something I'm not sure I would have believed could ever be done!
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By Kay C on June 30, 2007 at 07:31 pm
Joseph, go to: I would recommend The Walking, Sail Across the Water, Love is Everything, An Angel Stepped Down..., Bound by the Beauty, Temple... ;)
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By Kay C on July 01, 2007 at 02:24 am
Hi all - just returned from the True Colors Tour - way cool! Judas Priest, Loverboy, April WIne!!! I'm impressed El G!
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By Charles Harmison on July 01, 2007 at 03:31 am
One band that i didn't see that needs to be mentioned has to be the Velvet Underground. I have never wanted to be a heroine addict more than when listening to Lou Reed singing "Sweet Jane", "Waiting for the Man", or best of all the most beautiful destruction ever created "Heroine" I have to say that Rancid has also got to be mentioned among the greats. From the days of Op Ivy through now they have never failed the true punk rocker. (tim has a new solo reggae/dub album available for free at the rancid myspace page complete with videos to each song and it is most excellent). Finally no appreciation of the great bands in history can be complete without including the Dead Kennedys. The only band to be banned from touring in the US because of the riots that they started at their shows. Now that's ROCK STAR.
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By Kay C on July 01, 2007 at 04:21 am
Yeah, Charles - the opening of Sweet Jane is one of the best ever. Ever hear the Cowboy Junkies version? --SEXY! ...and while I'm here - I'd like to give a shout out to Joan Armatrading, Van Morrison, and Sheila E... and oh my gosh, ABBA and the great Sarah M. And p.s. - June Pointer, I miss you!
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By Charles Harmison on July 02, 2007 at 03:51 am
lol if that wasn't a Freudian slip i don't know what is, Heroin is not the same as a Heroine. . . or is it? . . . oops
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