Tuesday, February 28, 2017


February 1, 2017
"February Stars" performed by Foo Fighters
June 12, 1949-January 31, 2017
"Only Time Will Tell" performed by Asia
"Red" performed by King Crimson
"In The Dead Of Night" performed by U.K.

"Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)" performed by Erykah Badu
"Fall" performed by Miles Davis
"Reckoner" performed by Robert Glasper
"Sometimes" performed by Bilal

February 2, 2017
"Where's The Revolution?" performed by Depeche Mode-WSPC PREMIERE
"Won't Get Fooled Again" (live acoustic) performed by Pete Townshend
"Diallo" performed by Wyclef Jean
"Take Some...Leave Some" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Rinse The Raindrops" performed by Paul McCartney

February 3, 2017
"Go Your Own Way" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"These Words" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Poetry" performed by Ray Davies-WSPC PREMIERE
"Two Wildly Different Perspectives" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"Salt The Skies" performed by Tortoise

"Dumb All Over" performed by Frank Zappa
"That Day In Bowling Green" performed by Nick and Gabe-WSPC PREMIERE

February 4, 2017
"Black Man" performed by Stevie Wonder-WSPC PREMIERE

"20 Feet Tall" performed by Erykah Badu
"Slow Dance" performed by John Legend
"Faced To Face Me" performed by Skyline Sounds
"On Lankershim" performed by Foxygen-WSPC PREMIERE
"Letter To My (Back Door Friend)" performed by Lightnin' Hopkins

February 5, 2017
"On The Nature Of Daylight" performed by Max Richter
"Daydreaming" performed by Radiohead
"Untitled #5" performed by Sigur Ros
"Mad Rush" performed by Philip Glass

February 6, 2017
"One More Day, One More Night" performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Trouble" performed by Jon Brion
"Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes" performed by Beck with Jon Brion
"Song To The Siren" performed by Tim Buckley
"Je Te Veux" performed by Erik Satie

February 7, 2017
"Tommy Gun" performed by The Clash
"Public Servant" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Education" performed by The Kinks
"You Must Learn" performed by Boogie Down Productions
"Money" performed by Pink Floyd

"Too Daze Gone" (live 1981) performed by Billy Squier
"Roller" performed by April Wine

February 8, 2017
"Black Boys On Mopeds" performed by Sinead O'Connor
"Almost Home" performed by The Flaming Lips-WSPC PREMIERE

"Marquee Moon" performed by Television
"Age Of Consent" performed by New Order
"Television Man" performed by Talking Heads
"Revolverlution" performed by Public Enemy

February 9, 2017
"Stand Or Fall" performed by The Fixx
"It's A Mistake" performed by Men At Work
"Bombs Away' performed by The Police
"Red Lenses" performed by Rush
"Coming For You" performed by Ric Ocasek

February 10, 2017
"Eruption" performed by Van Halen
"Jump" performed by Van Halen

"Three Ring Government" from "Schoolhouse Rock"

February 12, 2017
"We're In This Love Together" performed by Al Jarreau
"Spanish Joint" performed by D'Angelo
"You're Gonna Get Yours" performed by Public Enemy
"Compared To What" performed by Roberta Flack
"Set Us Free" performed by Eddie Harris and Les McCann

February 13, 2017
"Are You Happy With Your Work?" performed by Mary Beth Hughes
"Keep On Working" performed by Pete Townshend
"Bluebird" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Career Opportunities" performed by The Clash
"Draggin' The Line" performed by R.E.M.
"Got A Job" performed by The Miracles

"This Is The Picture (excellent birds)"
"Secret World"
"No Self Control"
"Back In N.Y.C." performed by Genesis
"Birdy's Flight"
"Signal To Noise"

"Award Tour"/"Moving Backwards/We The People" (live Grammy Awards 2-12-17) performed by A Tribe Called Quest with  Busta Rhymes, Consequence and Anderson.Paak

February 14, 2017
"La La Means I Love You" performed by The Delfonics
"I Do Love You" performed by GQ
"I Wanna Get Next To You" performed by Rose Royce
"Have You Seen Her" performed by The Chi-Lites
"Let's Stay Together" performed by Al Green
"Early Morning Love" performed by Lou Rawls

"Love Plus One" performed by Haircut 100
"You're My Favorite Waste Of Time" performed by Marshall Crenshaw
"All I Want" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
"Heart" performed by Rockpile
"When My Baby's Beside Me" performed by Big Star
"Love Comes Tumbling" performed by U2

February 15, 2017
"Another Nail In My Heart" performed by Squeeze
"Meaningless" performed by Jon Brion
"The Ghost At Number One" performed by Jellyfish
"I Wanna Prove To You" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Feel The Benefit" performed by 10cc

February 16, 2017
"Heaven Must Be Like This" performed by Ohio Players
"Show You The Way" performed by Thundercat featuring Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald-WSPC PREMIERE
"Brave And Strong" performed by Sly and the Family Stone
"Sistamamalover" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"The Traitor" performed by Herbie Hancock

"Do Me Baby" (live 1982) performed by Prince

February 17, 2017
"Oh Candy" performed by Cheap Trick
"That's The Way (My Love Is)" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"We Turn Red" performed by Red  Hot Chili Peppers
"Faceplant" performed by Donny McCaslin
"What God Wants Part 1" performed by Roger Waters

February 18, 2017
April 18, 1943-February 18, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield drum solo live at the Boston Garden 
"Funk Thing"
"Cold Sweat" performed by JAMES BROWN featuring Clyde Stubblefield on drums

"If You Were Here" performed by The Thompson Twins
"Woman's Got Soul" performed by The Impressions
"Knock On Wood" performed by Prefab Sprout
"The Season/Carry Me" performed by Anderson.Paak
"Through City Lights" performed by The Amazing
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" performed by Molly Ringwald

"Ali" performed by Miles Davis

February 19, 2017
"Be Nice To Me" performed by Todd Rundgren
"You Do" performed by Aimee Mann
"Goodbye Stranger" performed by Supertramp
"Rubber Ring" performed by The Smiths
"No Way" performed by David Gilmour
"The Sky Is Broken" performed by Moby
"Force Majeure" performed by Tangerine Dream

February 20, 2017
"On A Plain" performed by Nirvana
"Saint Cobain" performed by Vernon Reid
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" performed by Robert Glasper Experiment
"Friend Of A Friend" performed by Foo Fighters
"Let Me In" performed by R.E.M.
"Gone Again" performed by Patti Smith

February 21, 2017
"Thief Rockers" performed by Thievery Corporation-WSPC PREMIERE
"You Can't Unring The Bell" performed by Funkadelic
"Papa Was A Rolling Stone" performed by The Temptations
"I Know I'm Losing You" performed by Rare Earth
"Naked Eye" performed by The Who

February 22, 2017
"And The Cradle Will Rock" performed by Van Halen
"Prisoner" (acoustic live) performed by Ryan Adams-WSPC PREMIERE
"Always See Your Face" performed by Love
"Golden Years" performed by David Bowie
"One Day" performed by Fishbone

February 23, 2017
"Shepherds Of The Nation" performed by The Kinks
"Join The Parade" performed by Planet P. Project
"Imagination" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Game Is Rigged" performed by Vernon Reid & Masque
"We're In This Together" performed by Nine Inch Nails

February 24, 2017

"The Rover"
"Houses Of The Holy"
"The Wanton Song"
"In The Light"

"Mommy, What's A Funkadelic" performed by Funkadelic

February 25, 2017

"Apple Scruffs"
"Stuck Inside A Cloud"
"Loves Comes To Everyone"
"Dear One"
"Tears Of The World"

February 27, 2017

"Abuse" performed by Propoganda
"Turn To The Sky" performed by The March Violets
"Beat's So Lonely" performed by Charlie Sexton
"Brilliant Mind" performed by Furniture
"I Go Crazy" performed by Flesh For Lulu
"Can't Help Falling In Love With You" performed by Lick The Tins

February 28, 2017
"I'm Not Real" performed by Disq
"Blow Away" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Illuminate" performed by Imperial Drag
"Big Wheels" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Somewhere That's Green" from "Little Shop Of  Horrors"

Friday, February 24, 2017


1. "Slim's Return" performed by Madlib
2. "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" performed by Public Enemy
3. "When My Train Pulls In" performed by Gary Clark Jr.
4. "Microphone Fiend" performed by Eric B. & Rakim
5. "Sign O' The Times" performed by Prince
6. " Black Rage (sketch)" performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
7. "Ali Vs. Frazier" performed by Jesse Johnson
8. "Simple Advice" performed by Georgia Anne Muldrow
9. "Brother, Brother" performed by The Isley Brothers
10."Life In Marvelous Times" performed by Mos Def

1. "Nuclear" performed by Ryan Adams
2. "Couldn't I Just Tell You?" performed by Todd Rundgren
3. "Love Goes On!" performed by The Go-Betweens
4. "Are You My Baby" performed by Wendy & Lisa
5. "It Must Be Love" performed by Madness
6. "When Love Breaks Down" performed by Prefab Sprout
7. "Hackensack" performed by Fountains Of Wayne
8. "Jealousy" performed by Queen
9. "Love Street" performed by The Doors
10."Pressing Lips" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
11."Doors Of Your Heart" performed by The English Beat
12."Bizarre Love Triangle" performed by Frente!
13."Love Vibration" performed by Josh Rouse

1. "All I Do Is Nothing"
2. "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)"
3. "Nobody Likes You"
4. "I'm Sorry"
1. "Question Of Life" performed by Fishbone
2. "Game Is Rigged" performed by Vernon Reid & Masque
3. "Hit It And Quit It" performed by Funkadelic
4. "Funky Drummer" performed by JAMES BROWN featuring CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD
5. "Fred" performed by Tony Williams
6. "Black Comedy" performed by Miles Davis
7. "Heels" performed by Q-Tip
8. "The Charade" performed by D'Angelo and the Vanguard


Released January 13, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: What a long, strange trip it has been for The Flaming Lips and for all those who have chosen to accompany them upon their fully idiosyncratic musical odyssey of their 34 year history. I joined the parade around the time of "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" (released July 16, 2002) and with that album plus their breakthrough "The Soft Bulletin" (released June 22, 1999) and the subsequent "At War With The Mystics" (released April 4, 2006), I completely fell in love with the band's trilogy of albums that blended the silly and the philosophical, the gravity and the interstellar, the acoustic and electronic with band leader Wayne Coyne's plaintive Neil Young styled lead vocals sitting warmly at the core of the band's highly distinctive musical universe.

Since those three albums in particular, The Flaming Lips have consistently challenged my senses and sensibilities with releases that became defiantly abrasive like the disturbing and very loud "Embryonic" (released October 13, 2009), the dark night of the soul in "The Terror" (released April 1, 2013), the album length EP "Peace Sword" (released October 29, 2013) and even the side project of Electric Wurms. I drew the line with their collaboration with Miley Cyrus as I just could not bring myself to even try and figure out what the purpose of that collaboration was even about,

Now, four years after their last official releases, The Flaming Lips have made their grand return with their 14th album, "Oczy Mlody," a work that supplies us with the band's most melodic work in some time while also being deceptively lighter than air. I do have to say that for what may possibly be the first time, The Flaming Lips have released an album that just hasn't grabbed me in the same ways that albums in the past have accomplished. This is not to say that "Oczy Mlody" is a weak effort. In fact, I am actually wondering just what I might be missing, what I just might not be hearing quite as well this time around--and I think my difficulty with fully latching on might be within the execution rather than the writings.

Entitled from a Polish translation and containing song titles that are named more for their sound than for any actual meaning ("Nidgy Nie," anyone?), the proceedings can often feel to be more than a little twee. And in some ways, and despite some of the music's more symphonic touches, "Oczy Mlody" feels like The Flaming Lips' quietest work, an album's worth of twinkly synthetic lullabies about purple eyed unicorns, castles, wizards, sunrises and galaxies yet filtered through some more darkly sinister themes of day-glo strippers, demon eyes that have seen death in the summertime, and free drugs that cause highs so encompassing that they have the potential to bring on the end of the world and usher in a love revolution from the ashes. Goodness!

It is all a little silly but again, the band's trademark existential melancholia is abound throughout the album, thus giving the music a little gravity that the actual musicianship did not this time around...maybe. At this time, the personnel for The Flaming Lips is seven men strong but the album really sounds as if the only band members present are Coyne and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd on an arsenal of keyboards, synthesizers and primitive drum machines, making for songs that feel like elaborate demos rather than fully fleshed out material.

But maybe, there is a method to this approach and I just need a little more time to find it.
Released February 24, 2014
Released June 10, 2003
Released March 30, 2010
Released January 20, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: I just do not quite get this band...and I mean that in a good way.

Foxygen, the music duo of singers/songwriters, producers and multi-instrumentalists Sam France and Jonathan Rado have intrigued me for quite some time as their sound openly references past musical eras while wildly turning them inside out, even references that already exist upon the outer fringes.

Take their previous effort, the double album "...And Star Power" (released October 14, 2014), clearly and heavily influenced by Todd Rundgren's post-psychedelic head trip, audio kaleidoscope masterpiece "A Wizard, A True Star" (released March 2, 1973).  This was an album that possessed a smattering of stunning, gorgeous pop songs and utopian epics but surrounding them were what felt to be the most outre sonic experiments that existed somewhere between the lowest fidelity lo-fi indie rock and Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" (released July 1975). It was an album that certainly was ore than a bit of a mess and to this day, I am just not sure what to eve make of it. But...they certainly captured my attention.

Three years later, Foxygen has returned with "Hang," another release that references the past while blazing its own path into the future, this time with eight songs, beautifully composed and exquisitely produced and performed, with aid from The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd and The Lemon Twigs as their rhythm section--more on them shortly--and to greater sonic effect, a 40 piece orchestra! This time around, France and Rado have emerged with songs that inexplicably blend Philadelphia soul, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley jazz, Zappa-esque complexities fueled by Gershwin-esque sweep (or vice versa) plus even more--sometimes all in the same song--and fronted by France's often bizarre vocals which somehow recall 1973 era Bryan Ferry on a seriously dangerous bender. In fact, the album kinda sounds like Van Dyke Parks compositions as performed by the original glam rock excess of Roxy Music, a combination that may make you wonder if the w hole enterprise is an elaborate joke of some sort.

But it would be hard for me to think of music this intricately composed and performed being used as nothing ore than as a lark. And even so, France's over emphatic vocal stylings suggest that he just maybe singing in character--perhaps that aforementioned drunk as hell Ferry-esque persona singing in some far away orchestra hall fronting this powerful band. Who knows?

But, I do have to say, that Foxygen's "Hang" definitely has the goods to keep your ears listening and guessing.
Released October 14, 2016
2016 REWIND: WXRT's Lara Mondae led me here and to that, i send her eternal thanks!

Last year, if I had heard "Do Hollywood," the debut album from The Lemon Twigs, the collective of teenaged (!) brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario as singers, songwriters,producers and multi-instrumentalists, it would have sailed easily into being one of my favorite albums of 2016!!

This album is absolutely stunning and it gave my brand of synesthesia a wonderful workout due to the boys' splendid agility with melodies, harmonies and overall songcraft, musicianship and production. While The Beatles and Foxygen (from whom Jonathan Rado serves as the album's producer) are clear influences, my musical ears were often tricked into thinking I was listening to a lost album from 10cc, as The Lemon Twigs' superior melodic gifts found seemingly endless varieties of turning notes and chords upon their respective heads, making me hear pop songcraft in excitingly new ways.

I am certain for some of you, the rapidly abrupt musical, tempo, time signature and stylistic changes that occur throughout the album may make you wonder if "Do Hollywood" suffers from a certain schizophrenia. While the album does not suffer from any lack of musical ideas in the least, I have to admit that there were points where I was curious if the band could ever sustain an idea. By the time the album reached selections like "Baby, Baby" and the glorious, glistening ballad "How Lucky Am I?" The Lemon Twigs succeeded with tremendous aplomb. And for that matter, during my frequent subsequent listenings, the songs have continued to reveal themselves, demonstrating how richly all of the seemingly disparate elements merge together.

There is something to be said with this particular "everything but the kitchen sink" songwriting and performance as it completely suggests the youthful exuberance of the band plus a certain heartfelt urgency, as if this might be the only album they ever make so they'd better get EVERYTHING on it.
But, based upon "Do Hollywood," I have a strong feeling that The Lemon Twigs have set themselves up for a most lengthy career.

Released November 11, 2016
Released 1982
Released January 15, 2016



RYAN ADAMS: Vocals, All Guitars, Bass Guitar and Other Instruments
JOHNNY T. YERINGTON: Drums and Percussion
JASON BOESEL: Drums on "Do You Still Love Me?"
DANIEL CLARKE: Organ on "Do You Still Love Me?"
CHARLIE STAVISH: Bass Guitar on "Do You Still Love Me?" "Tightrope" and "We Disappear"
JOE SUBLETT: Saxophone on "Tightrope"
MIKE VIOLA: Guitar on "Do You Still Love Me?"

All music and lyrics by Ryan Adams except
"Do You Still Love Me?" music and lyrics by Ryan Adams and Daniel Clarke
"Prisoner" music and lyrics by Ryan Adams and Mike Viola

Produced by Ryan Adams
Released  February 17, 2017

"Without U there is no me..."
-Prince ("Adore")

Who are we when we fall in love? Who were we before and even after? How do we change and alter ourselves and sometimes, even lose ourselves as we attempt to merge our being with that of another individual?

Compromise and communication are indeed touchstones for potentially successful relationships but when we do compromise and how we communicate do indeed go straight to the core of our individualized beings and how we again alter ourselves just to remain romantically attached. And say, one is part of a relationship where love is strong but somehow not enough, one where the ebbs and flows are dynamic, threatening to untie the bonds? Or what if indeed the relationship concludes and each partner now finds themselves living within an aftermath. Who are we even then? Do we remain the same or are we figuring out just precisely what we may have become? And what if we have lost ourselves in another and lost? How do we even begin to find our way back to ourselves?

I bring those questions and concepts to the table as I find myself listening to Ryan Adams' latest opus, his 16th album entitled "Prisoner." While Adams clearly wears his heart upon his denim encased sleeves and is certainly not new to the arena of musically chronicling tales of love and loss--especially as his passionately beloved debut solo album is entitled "Heartbreaker" (released September 5, 2000) and one (or two) of his very best releases, the startling two-part EP set "Love Is Hell" (released November 4, 2003/December 9, 2003)--it feels more than fitting that his most recent material may be strongly perceived as being achingly personal to the point of being strikingly confessional.

I feel compelled to give the proper credit where it is due regarding the following. Shortly before the release of the album, the advance reviews were being released and I happened upon one written by Ryan Leas of Stereogum. In  his article, Leas suggested that maybe what Adams has given us this time is the third installment of a trilogy of sorts as the self titled album "Ryan Adams" (released September 8, 2014) preceded the announcement of his divorce from actress/singer Mandy Moore by several months represented the first installment and "1989" (released September 21, 2015), Adams' gorgeous top to bottom cover version of the Taylor Swift album he adored while caught in throes of emotional loss represented the difficult middle section.

As I listened to "Prisoner" for the first time, I felt myself returning to those words in the Stereogum article because they felt so very right to me, regardless of whether Ryan Adams himself ever fully addresses, confirms or denies the full emotional and artistic intent of the work(s). Even so, there was a certain emotional weight to the music that felt somewhat...different than on albums past. A considerably deeper and more painful emotional pull towards looking inwards at my own life and entanglements as well as those of the more universal romantic variety plus Adams' personal situation within the dissolution of his marriage. By album's end, and with that inexplicable feeling of having traveled down some especially mournful roads, I was unquestionably moved by the experience, therefore making Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" a work of uncompromising and acutely powerful, open-hearted fragility as well as existing as the first great work that I have heard in this beginning of the 2017 year in music.

I do have to mention at this time, that as "Prisoner" began, I was whisked to a motion picture that made a serious impression upon me many years ago. The film is Alan Parker's "Shoot The Moon" (1982), an emotionally brutal film which delves into the infidelity and marital dissolution of characters portrayed by Albert Finney and Diane Keaton and the aftershocks that occur upon them and their four children, one of whom a volatile teenager played by the late Dana Hill. As the film opens, we are privy to an interior moment, the likes of which we typically never see in the movies, the husband, in private, lost in tears and becoming unglued with the knowledge that his life is about to be irrevocably changed.

I brought up this memory of this particular film because to my ears, Ryan Adams' "prisoner" opens within the same fashion with a song of stunning vulnerability, "Do You Still Love Me?," a track that feels like a purposeful yet more despairing echo of the "Ryan Adams" opening track, "Gimmie Something Good." Much has already been written about the pseudo/retro1980's AOR power ballad framework, a la Foreigner, for instance. Backed by terrific swirling cathedral organ, heroic power chords and a flat-out killer chorus, Adams playfully and expertly creates an album overture that functions equally as air guitar fuel and aching lament for a romantic reciprocation that once existed but just might not anymore.

My own response to the song has changed quite considerably since the song was first released as a single. I was immediately captivated by the song's instantly attention grabbing charm, swagger and the soaring quality of Adams' increasingly remarkable vocals (and of course, that organ!) but with each listen, "Do You Still Love Me?" grows sadder and sadder, painfully unveiling the confusion and that lost-in-the-universe feeling that occurs when your soulmate departs, leaving you all alone to try and make sense of a forever changed world all over again. By the album's second song, the title track, the heaviness apparent within "Do You Still Love Me?" begins to carry a woeful, melancholic gravity.

As Ryan Adams sings of a heart still caught in the throes of a love now ended, I found myself locking tightly onto the song's themes of emotional emancipation deferred as the past continues to hold its grasp. "Clock don't know what your memories do," he sings. "They're stacking up beside the bed/I count 'em every night inside my head/If loving you is wrong. I am a criminal/Mmmm...I am a prisoner." As the bed of acoustic guitars find the strength to continue laying the musical ground work, the lonely harmonica wails on...

The album next brings us to "Doomsday," a song of romantic promises made and romantic promises broken ("My love, you said you'd love me now 'til doomsday comes") leaving our narrator disillusioned and dilapidated. "Haunted House" details the emotions of now living alone within a home, mind and heart filled with ghosts of the past, unable to escape from. And the stark, exposed nerve endings of "Shiver And Shake" gives the album one of its many high points. Ryan Adams simply nails the interior turmoil while creating a musical backdrop that is subtle and even disturbingly quiet, the sparse instrumentation refusing to find itself getting in the way of the actual message that Adams is trying to convey: a message of wounded emotional paralysis due to the loss of a love. From here, the first half of "Prisoner" culminates with the meditative, forlorn "To Be Without You."

"It's so hard to be without you
Used to feel so angry, and now I only feel humble
Stinging from the storm inside my ribs where it thunders
Nothing left to say or really even wonder
We are like a book and every page is so torn
Nothing really matters anymore"

Beyond the continuous and varying themes of loneliness and newfound aloneness, Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" extends to the excellent "Anything I Say To You Now," a song of how the communication and even the very language that once flowed so effortlessly entirely fails after a breakup.

Emotional and psychological stability come into question on the self-explanatory "Breakdown," on which Adams sings, "Was I dreaming did I lose something in the night? Did I lose you? Did I lose you? Maybe I'm sleeping and in the morning I will only see the sunshine. Did I lose you? Did I lose my mind?"

"I got this aching in my chest/Rollin' around like a pile of bones/In a broken little box/It sounds a lot like you/Laughing to yourself/In a quiet room/Our eyes knowing more than they probably ought to," Adams confesses in "Outbound Train," a song of departure, abandonment and painful hindsight realizations, themes that continue within the regretful "Broken Anyway."

The sparse, despondent penultimate track upon "Prisoner" is the Springsteen-esque sorrow of "Tightrope," on which our narrator wishes solely for his former lover to make him smile once again but as he explains to us, "Flip on the tube, we watch it 'til we sleep/Ain't nothing but static and the panic and and the feeling manic."

"We Disappear" is the album's shimmering, shattering conclusion, a song that echoes and reverberates through vocals and guitars that phase into ghostly ether, just like the love once shared with turbulent feelings of resentment, resignation, recrimination and again, haunting regret
remain.  To my ears, the song feels like the most overtly confessional as Adams unearths one wounded, hurtful realization after another.

At the song's opening, Adams proclaims, "If I was born to be the loner, okay/But I'm not made of stone/And I'm so blown away/Don't know what's the rubble/And the parts I want to save." Soon thereafter, he expresses, "Was I alone? Am I still?/Nobody gets in, nobody ever will/You deserve a future and you know I'll never change." And even further still, he reveals, "Wish I could explain but it hurts to breathe/Didn't fit in my chest so I wore it on my sleeve." All the while, the song repeats the refrain "We disappear, we fade away," a statement that makes me return all the way to the very beginning on this posting because once the concept of "we" ceases to be, then what happens to "me"?

Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" is a beautifully sad collection of rock and roll torch songs that serves as a complete song cycle of heartache and woe, much like Beck's "Sea Change" (released September 24, 2002), for instance. Yet, and in keeping with the idea of a musical trilogy as set forth by Stereogum, "Prisoner" is also an album that truly does inform both "Ryan Adams" and "1989," making those releases works to revisit with new ears.

In some ways, and even while we will never truly know for certain, I am now wondering if this approach may have been Adams' intent and his additional releases of his punk rock tribute "1984" (released August 28, 2014) as well as the subsequent glut of 7"/digital singles were somewhat designed to throw us off of the scent so to speak, as the sheer amount of material might have kept us occupied enough to not look too closely. For, If "Ryan Adams" was kind of designed to function as a bit of a re-introduction and re-commitment to recording after his self-imposed sabbatical after the breakup of his band the Cardinals, we may not have even considered that he was possibly addressing or dealing with the issues of his then marriage, his refusal to speak publicly about it notwithstanding.

Furthermore, with "1989," we did know that Taylor Swift's original album was one of solace for Adams after his divorce. Yet to record a full end-to-end cover version of the album and then release it to the world as well, may have been another way for him to covertly communicate with his audience, even though he was using the means of another figure's work.

While he may have done some amount of concealing himself with aspects of his recent musical output, with "Prisoner," Ryan Adams sounds unusually exposed and in doing so, he has grown even taller artistically. His musical and lyrical language throughout the album is deceptively simple, and also clean, clear, poignantly direct. He showcases an economy of music and words that ultimately reveal a world of emotion, a tactic which, to me, signifies Adams' continued growth as a songwriter, singer, musician and producer, areas in which he has long excelled but this time around, he has clearly performed some serious self-examination regarding his own musical education and how he wishes to present his music.

 Again, he has amazed me. To think, Ryan Adams, even with some of his genre shape shifting, has really remained grounded within the traditional rock and roll musical set-up of guitar-bass-drums with some additional element here and there and he has never really functioned as a studio wizard, so to speak, turning the music inside out to create different sonic universes. That has never been his style. What he does accomplish, and what is exhibited upon "Prisoner" so beautifully is knowing that the song itself is the star, and with that in mind, Adams precisely and exactly recorded only what each song needed to be represented at its finest. No more, no less. And everything is indeed in its right place.

In keeping with the possibility of this album being ore revealing than the previous two albums may lie in the overall instrumentation. On both "Ryan Adams" and "1989," he has collaborated with a full band. Yet on "Prisoner," and aside from "Do You Still Love Me?," the album is essentially the work of Adams alone in studio with only drummer Johnny T. Yerington as a collaborator, making the work feel more unfiltered.

The emotions of Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" resonate greater with each listen, its core of romantic ache and loss becoming more deeply felt. Yet, this is not a depressing album by any means. In many ways, these are sad songs meant for communication and connection, taking the personal and making the intimate completely universal in its commonality of our experiences with the peaks and valleys of love with another, and our individualized transformations throughout.

Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" is an urgent work of sustained passions and moods that has already earned a spot as one of my favorite albums of 2017.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017



With all of the rapidly encroaching darkness in the world today, I just wanted to take a moment to write to you about the things I love, for without love, what would life be worth at all?

I love my family. That is number one above all else. My wife, my cats, my parents, especially my Father who, despite some long running health problems, has continued pushing forwards and remains as strong sounding as he was throughout most of my life. In all cases, none of the relationships are easy ones as they contain a myriad and mixture of emotions that can carry me to my highest heights and deepest valleys but in the end, the vibrant thumps and the poignant aches are the most powerful for all of them and my entire universe would fall apart for each member is essential to my being. My life would be meaningless without them.

I love my career in the real world as a preschool teacher. In some respects, that statement could be extended to the fact that I love being employed...but that being said, I am thankful that I do have a career that has also provided purpose and meaning to my life for these last 20 years, even though I still wonder if this is what I wish to be doing when I "grow up." The politics of the field frustrate me to no end. The disrespect and lack of acknowledgment of the importance of early childhood education frustrates me even moreso. But, when the relation ships between myself and the children click, it is a feeling like no other. And on the rare occasions that I see a former student many, many years later--and for whatever reason , they even remember me, I am beyond humbled, and beyond speechless, for it becomes a moment when I am ab le to reflect and tin that perhaps I did something right this time.

I love radio. What else is this site but an ongoing ode to my lifelong love of the radio that shaped me--from being a listener to being one that has been blessed to have become a participant. My gratitude for everyone who ever gave me a chance at WLHA, WSUM and WVMO is eternal. The dream continues!!!!

I love writing. I have never made any strains to try and present myself as being a "great" writer. It is just something that has always felt comfortable for me, a comfort that so many people I have known truly struggle with. I like the act of having a puzzle of words swirling around my  brain and somehow figuring out the best way for those words to fit together in the act of expressing myself as well as discovering myself in the process. It is never an easy thing. Creative writing is truly exhausting. Yet, oh the rewards!!! When I can look at the words on a screen or a piece of paper that was once blank, it feels like magic truly exists in the world.

I love the arts. Again, so obvious if you have ever followed me upon this site or my other blogsite Savage Cinema...I know that at many times throughout my life, I have felt (or have even been told) that the arts and my love of films, literature, music and so much more is just a frivolous thing compared to the more serious and "important" areas of life and existence. But really...what could be more serious and important than inspiration, creativity and the sheer force of drive and will to envision and then create something from absolutely nothing? It is a pure representation of the artist's view of life and existence and through the medium of art, where we can also discover like minded individuals or else be further inspired to create even more. The spark of an idea!  Sometimes, I think there is no more powerful thing than an idea. If not, why would there be, and have been, so many to want for nothing more than to stifle if not snuff it out entirely?

Anything at all that you or I love are all things worth fighting for, especially now in this world of encroaching darkness. With that, I send my love to each and all of you for I do love each and all of you. Let's continue to find the love in this world and use that love to protect that love as purely and as valiantly as possible.

And of course, if you have that battle music at the ready, always remember to...PLAY LOUD!!!!!