Re: It's the end of the whirl as we know it.

1

I think the NMM tag doesn't make sense in this context. Certainly it would still be acceptable to masturbate about any of the members of R.E.M. individually, as they're all still alive. And surely if you can ethically masturbate to each of the individually, then there's nothing unethical about masturbating about all of them together.

I mean, you can masturbate about a threesome with a celebrity couple who's broken up, right?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:27 PM
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What? I thought they broke up a decade ago.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:40 PM
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You're not forbidden to masturbate to a collection of individuals. You're forbidden to masturbate to their relationship. Don't you ever masturbate to abstract constructs, like God or the number four?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:40 PM
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I had a great moment in roughly 1986-87 when a friend, wearing a Anthrax T Shirt, threw the REM tape I was playing out of my boom box and said "What the fuck is this shit? Fuck this. Anthrax!!!!". I will always think of that moment when thinking of REM.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:40 PM
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Rance is apo?

And UPetgi(9) is urple?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:41 PM
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I think it means that if you are masturbating, and an REM song comes on the radio, you have to stop.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:42 PM
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5: Stormcrow caught me posting before catching up on the day's comments. The second-worst kind of catching-me-doing-something.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:46 PM
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Between the Thatcherism in comment 1 and the VU skepticism expressed in the OP, I don't know what to make of this thread. I do love, however, that this Co-Op Brewery refuses to accept tips. I'm drinking a 4th beer just to make sure I can account for those 3 dollars I saved.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:48 PM
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Anyway, I don't think there's anything mysterious about why people like R.E.M. Listen to one of the classic R.E.M. early-mid-eighties mid-tempo songs and see if you like it (So. Central Rain, Driver 8, Fall on Me). If you don't, you don't.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:49 PM
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stanley: you don't need to understand why people like REM. it's just a thing, and often a "soundtrack to special moments of my youth thing." however, you do have to understand why people like the velvet underground because, fuck, man, it's the fucking velvet underground?!!1!?/

that they would be in this same poorly defined category with REM is insanity. even if you don't care about it from any other point of view, you have to learn why they were so influential. in addition to which they played some of the greatest rock music ever. even fans will concede they were uneven. but THEY'RE THE VELVET UNDERGROUND DUDE WTF?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:50 PM
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7, 10: The worst is being unhip.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 8:52 PM
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I want only to understand older people. They seem both confused and confusing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 9:06 PM
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Those are two different things.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 9:11 PM
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Wait, we're supposed to no longer be masturbating to the fact that R.E.M. is a band, all together? That's silly.

I saw you all mentioning this, and thought, "Holy crap, did Michael Stipe die? That's horrible! But no, they just broke up? Well, jeez. Okay, they broke up."

To Stanley: yes, people are overreacting. Now, if Michael Stipe died, that would be a different matter. I'd be seriously bummed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 10:06 PM
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Since we're on the topic, though, my favorite REM song is an acoustic version of "Losing my Religion" which I have on a collection called "Best of Mountain Stage". If it's available via YouTube, maybe someone could find and link to it. It's awesome, truly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 10:11 PM
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fuck, man, it's the fucking velvet underground?!!1!?/

This.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 10:36 PM
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Because I did not listen to music back when I was aware that REM had not yet broken up - my reaction to hearing this was basically yoyo's in 2 - I ended up associating them with this tv comedy.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-21-11 10:48 PM
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8: CB, we live right near there; give us a shout next time you're there if you want to meet up. My e-mail is mypseud at gee mail.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 12:20 AM
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What Alameida said. Is this a question of listening to VU and not getting it, or just never having listened to them much in the first place? The latter I can understand. The former, WTF?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 12:51 AM
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I like the Velvet Underground, but I have no idea why they're so influential, or even exactly what their influence is. Maybe you'd have to be alive in the late '60s to get it.

In the Doors movie, the only non-Doors rock song that appears is VU's "Heroin". And you know what? It blends right in. "Heroin" is recognizably the same kind of song as "The End". "Heroin" is a better song, but it's not so different from the Doors that it's like a groundbreaking new style.

Or is it just specifically White Light/White Heat that's influential?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:16 AM
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I mean, I recognize the fact that lots of people say they were an influence, but I could imagine an alternate universe where the exact same people were influenced by the early Kinks and "The End" but everything else unfolded the same way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:19 AM
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Have you heard Chronic Town? What about VU/Nico? If no, these may answer your questions. If yes, then I can't help you.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:25 AM
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The Doors were bombastic, and VU never was. About influence I have hardly any opinions.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:33 AM
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The VU are indeed pretty great, undimmed despite Reed being a colossal penis.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:39 AM
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I have no idea why they're so influential

No VU, no punk rock. (Short answers to simple questions.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 1:45 AM
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re: 25

Loads of the UK freakbeat and US garage bands sound pretty damn punk, even in the mid-60s, and a lot of the early US 'punk' bands seem more influenced by pop and garage. Not that I'm questioning how influential the VU are/were but not sure how much any claim about their specific role in the genesis of punk holds strictly true.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 2:03 AM
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Might be wrong, though. I don't know enough about the early US 'punk' groups, I expect.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 2:12 AM
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As someone who doesn't even like music generally, I still love VU -- those were some of the very few albums I rebought after the tropical climate destroyed the box of cassettes I brought to Samoa. I don't know if my liking them says something good about them or the reverse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 4:15 AM
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The claim that VU is influential can't rest on the fact that they influenced REM. I heard that quote about how everyone who heard VU started their own band long before I heard of REM.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 4:46 AM
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Also: it can't rest on the fact that they influenced Weird Al Yankovic.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 4:53 AM
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Yes it can. Weird Al is the seminal artist of our era.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 5:48 AM
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I was listening almost exclusively to the Dead in the 80s. But, as others have said, R.E.M. was a frequent backdrop to my high school/colleg days.

I do love Nightswimming.

What's the Frequency, Kenneth is one of my daughter's favorite songs. She does a little march. Then she stops, steps one foot back, and bounces while shaking her right hand in a tomahawk motion.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 5:59 AM
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Also, speaking about favorite songs, Murder in the City by the Avett Brothers makes my daughter cry every single time. She loves it and makes me hit replay. But, she cries.

Wait a minute....since she loves black, does that mean she is emo? Is that still a thing? Do I need to get her some piercings?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:01 AM
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I do love Nightswimming.

I was about to say the same thing.

I think of REM, particularly in their 80s phase, as the the ideal example of a type.

But when I try think of what type that is, what I seem to come up with is "the type of band that sounds sort of like REM".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:04 AM
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I also love Stange Currencies and The Sidewinder Sleeps tonight.

I didnt listen to them too much bc I was too busy listening to the latest tape from the latest Dead show. Perhaps because of that, I still very much enjoy R.E.M.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:09 AM
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Is this a question of listening to VU and not getting it, or just never having listened to them much in the first place?

The latter. Though nothing I've heard has piqued my interest all that much.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:09 AM
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Defend your semi-indifference to VU, Stanley! I've got your back!

People rocking out to context and influence are by definition pretentious to the point of something bad but not explicitly insulting to any of the wonderful people upthread.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:13 AM
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REM are one of those bands I don't actively dislike, and who have a few songs I sort of like [Nightswimming, for example], but who I can't really muster much enthusiasm about. Mind you, although I do like the VU, I can't say I find myself listening to them much for pleasure, either.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:15 AM
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Regarding Weird Al, there's this annual Halloween cover-band show here in town. Selected local bands do a half-hour set dressed as a famous band, and playing that famous band's songs. (Last year, I was in the Strokes band. This year, I'm playing with two groups: the Clash and the Killers.)

One of the bands I play with seriously considered trying to do Weird Al but decided against it, because (a) too complicated to pull off and (b) the one accordion player we thought we could rope in is kind of unreliable.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:15 AM
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Somebody out there should really just fucking hate the Velvet Underground. I hate the idea that there's some piece of art so objectively awesome that literally everyone has to like it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:17 AM
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re: 40

I did mention that Reed is a suppurating cock of a man, above. If that helps? Hard to think of many musicians whose arseholedom is so palpable in interviews.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:18 AM
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I stopped paying attention to R.E.M. about 15 years ago, and probably can't name a single song released after New Adventures in HiFi, but through high school and college, they were a huge part of the soundtrack to my life. Those early albums (I have a special fondness for Reckoning) sounded so unlike everything that was dominating the music scene at the time, especially to be coming out of the south. That they had been a band for 30+ years just makes me feel oooold.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:20 AM
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41:

He may be a total ass, but I loved New York. I havent listened to it in a long time, but I really enjoyed it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:20 AM
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That they had been a band for 30+ years

The long time span surprised me. As with a <banned analogy>marriage that ends after 30 years</banned analogy>, I immediately thought: why now, after all this time?

(Not to mention that being a touring member of REM is probably a pretty cush gig at this point.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:26 AM
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I'm frankly disappointed in us that everyone is naming their favorite REM songs and they're all from Automatic For The People or later. C'mon! Someone tell us that "Oddfellows Local 151" changed their life!


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:27 AM
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40: That does help. The only interview I've ever read with Reed was by Lester Bangs, so the main thing that comes across is that Bangs is a big weirdo.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:28 AM
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Actually, I'll just co-sign apo's 42.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:28 AM
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If you want relatively quick introduction that covers the first VU album with Nico, I can recommend the 33 1/3 series book by Joe Harvard. Probably not much new for anyone who is a fan, but worth a read if you are not. And then a re-listen; and then you will probably still not give a shit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:32 AM
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As Apo said, when REM first came out, they were very different from the other things on the radio. They were also incomprehensible. That was part of their niche.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:35 AM
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I don't think there's any danger of everybody loving the Velvet Underground. They weren't popular then, and they aren't popular now.

In the Doors movie, the only non-Doors rock song that appears is VU's "Heroin". And you know what? It blends right in. "Heroin" is recognizably the same kind of song as "The End".

I see your point, but I would say that VU has an industrial/noise aspect that is different from the Doors, and probably influenced a lot of punk (I know that this wasn't something that VU invented)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:38 AM
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I thought REM went steeply downhill after Green.

I had a VU cassette that I listened to a lot when I was fourteen or fifteen, but when I've heard them recently I've been like "damn, this kind of sucks".

Metal Machine Music is rad, though.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:41 AM
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Always been partial to SF sound myself. Can't think of a VU song I'd rather hear than Killing Time in the Crystal City pretty much any day of the week.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:42 AM
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Someone tell us that "Oddfellows Local 151" changed their life!

"Harborcoat", actually. Though if I was pressed to name a favorite song, "Little America", "So. Central Rain", and "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" would be in the running. Back in the day, it was as regular a part of fall as falling leaves that the new R.E.M. album would be released and my buddy Dave and I would sit in our apartment, picking the needle up on the turntable over and over again, trying to transcribe all the mumbled lyrics and comparing notes. I saw them play live maybe a dozen or more times back then, when Michael Stipe was all pretty and long-haired and the shows were just amazing.

Sigh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:43 AM
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Metal Machine Music was well-named when it featured as 2nd worst in that book of the 50 worst albums of all time.



Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:49 AM
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I'm willing to believe it's a horrible Lou Reed album. It's a pretty intense avant-garde noise album, though.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:54 AM
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That's the kind of moral relativism that will doom our society.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:56 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzFCNWE9E-A


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:56 AM
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Carp is a hippie.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:58 AM
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55: Lou Reed's money quote on Metal Machine Music: "Well, anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 6:58 AM
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Reed is a suppurating cock of a man

And Maureen Tucker is a Tea Partier who believes America is collapsing into socialism. Weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:00 AM
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Yes to 53, but "Sitting Still". Document was actually the last R.E.M. album I bought. They didn't get to Mpls as often as that, but I did see them on the Reckoning (encore: "Color Me Impressed" with Paul Westerberg) and Fables (encore: "12XU" and "Paint It Black" with Bob Mould") tours.

Sigh is right. Fuck, I'm old.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:01 AM
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Metal Machine Music is rad, though. the greatest album ever made.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:05 AM
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62: "It is the greatest record ever made in the history of the human eardrum. Number Two: Kiss Alive!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:10 AM
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People rocking out to context and influence are by definition pretentious to the point of something bad but not explicitly insulting to any of the wonderful people upthread.

I don't love them because of context and influence, I love them because it's great fucking music.

The latter. Though nothing I've heard has piqued my interest all that much.

OK, that makes more sense. I'd recommend checking out The Velvet Underground and Nico, and The Velvet Underground. People bang on about White Light/White Heat a lot, but frankly I think it's the weakest of those three. For specific songs - Pale Blue Eyes, Heroin, Venus in Furs, Stephanie Says, Jesus and All Tomorrow's Parties.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:13 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVaNZhw-_Hs

Maybe this belongs on the other thread.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:15 AM
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If you want relatively quick introduction that covers the first VU album with Nico, I can recommend the 33 1/3 series book by Joe Harvard.

I know there are a lot of fast readers around here, but I'm having a hard time believing there's anyone for whom reading a book would be a good way to get a quick introduction to an album. How quickly can you read? How slowly do you listen??


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:23 AM
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I love the R.E.M. cover of pale blue eyes.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:23 AM
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R.E.M. was the first secular concert I went to. 19 years old, Up tour, front row center. They played Camera.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:26 AM
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Curious what's so awful about Lou Reed! He and Laurie Anderson attend a lot of cultural events in NYC so you get to feel all "I live in New York and am BEST PALS with Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson."

And I will pile on for "VU is almost objectively great" but I don't have a hell of a lot to say about it. They did something new and influential but that doesn't really explain it. You know, I'll just say: sometimes I daydream about having been in New York in its more interesting eras (now is pretty clearly not a golden age of New York) and songs like "Heroin" and "I'll Be Your Mirror" help me to pretend.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:26 AM
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I do the same think, Smearcase. For me, it's the thing where I get drunk by myself and lie flat on my back and sing all of the album "Berlin" at the top of my lungs. It's like it all happened to me, man.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:29 AM
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thing, not think. Jesus Christ.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:29 AM
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Also, "Sweet Jane" segueing into "Rock & Roll" is, for my money, quite possibly the greatest one-two punch of perfect pop in the history of the genre. YMMV, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:29 AM
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On an unrelated note: seriously, fuck that guy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:31 AM
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VU is almost objectively great.

Plus I wouldn't want to live in a world without, e.g., the Feelies.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:31 AM
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43: I don't actually know if it's a good album, but New York is so ripped-from-the-headlines of NYC local news in my last year or so of high school that I can't listen to it except as nostalgia. Do I want to be sixteen and glum for an hour? New York it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:31 AM
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I wonder if that's actually it: that VU has a certain mystique for New Yorkers, and that thanks to New York's centrality in American culture (or at least a subset of American culture) it gets magnified.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:32 AM
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I think Rick Perry's world-historical function is to make me feel relief when Mitt Romney becomes President, rather than the fear and disgust I should feel.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:36 AM
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sometimes I daydream about having been in New York in its more interesting eras

I completely get the impulse, but my mind leaps to entirely different songs.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:36 AM
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re: 69

I've just read lots of interviews in which he comes across as aggressive and pompous. Enough to have formed a pretty shitty opinion of him. Of course he might be a lovely man who is just a dick in interviews.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:38 AM
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69, 79: I've gotten the impression that he is seen at cultural events in NY alot, and that his hostile "Don't You dare speak to me" looks are legendary.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:41 AM
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76: Maybe, but New York is Lou Reed post-VU, not VU, and that's nostalgia for a place I was, not a place I wish I had been. I'm fond of actual VU, but it's not a nostalgia kick for me.

I think the AWB/Smearcase reaction might explain why VU is perceived as influential, though -- AWB/Smearcase types listening to VU and wishing they were there in the gritty 70s NY scene are the people who started bands. Whether or not the bands they started sounded like VU, VU was in their heads as who they wanted to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:41 AM
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I'm guessing LB's right to some degree and that Lou Reed is the kind of artist people who are musicians love to listen to because he seems so free. (It's the same reason, I think, that singers love listening to Lotte Lenya--you mean I could do that if I wanted to?) I am inclined to believe that LR is objectively great, and am surprised to discover that people exist who don't completely fucking love him, but it does seem that most of the people I know who do like him are musicians of a much cleaner, domesticated art than his.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:45 AM
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An old family friend was the publicist for the infamously awful S/x Pistols 1970s US tour. He also was LRs publicist for a while. The only major artist he admits to affirmatively hating and thinks is an asshole is Lou Reed. Which tells you something. Basically just an incredibly pompous dick who is much dumber than he thinks he is.

That said, I love the VU, though I agree with Walt that the "no VU, no punk" formula is just wrong. Even the early NY bands were more influenced by, say, the Stooges or the MC5 than the VU. And I also think White Light/White Heat is overrated, the overrating (I think) traceable to Lester Bangs. Loaded is the most pop album but is in some ways my favorite.

I also think there's no way Tweety actually likes MMM but perhaps my imagination is small.



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:46 AM
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Wait, why does it matter if Lou Reed is an asshole? Since when is that an aesthetic judgment of any value?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:48 AM
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Actually Michael Stipe always talks about Patti Smith as being his great inspiration, right? I would never have guessed that from listening to the music.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:49 AM
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84: The judgment of Unfogged is holistic.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:51 AM
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Oh, it doesn't matter artistically that LR is an asshole, just worth noting that he is. Perhaps b/c at least some of the VUs mystique seems to be personality based.

I think some of what people of the majority generations of commenters here like about the VU is that it provides an alternate history of the 1960s and classic rock -- see, it wasn't just vulgar hippies and the Beatles that Mom and Dad liked, there were people semi-seriously involved with the avant garde who were also rockers and that's who I'm aligning myself with. Which isn't to say that this is everything people like about the VU, at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:56 AM
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84: Somebody should hate Lou Reed's music just because he's an asshole. In aesthetics, everything is permitted.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 7:57 AM
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I think I somehow missed out on the whole personality cult thing with VU/LR. My appreciation of 20c pop music is really shockingly ignorant of context and gut-based. But even for those who got into the personality cult of VU/LR, was any of that personality cult based on the illusion that Lou Reed is a really nice thoughtful guy? That doesn't come across as the message of any of his music at all to me.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:00 AM
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88: And because he glorifies immorality!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:00 AM
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I second 64. I listened to the VU a lot as a kid, especially between 12-16. then I moved to new york, got addicted to heroin, and started listening to the VU all the time, along with iggy pop and patti smith and dinosaur jr. and the pixies and nirvana and so on. so, irrelevant associations. sometimes I can't listen to it now because it reminds me so viscerally strongly of getting low. it makes my stomach knot up with junk hunger, briefly.

white light/white heat is about shooting up cocaine, not heroin, if anyone cares. and stanley, c'mon, sweet jane? pale blue eyes? have you a heart of stone? and whether lou reed is an asshole or not, satellite of love and perfect day are incredible songs.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:02 AM
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92

Actually Michael Stipe always talks about Patti Smith as being his great inspiration, right?

Yes! One of my best college friends was way into REM, and read an interview in which Michael Stipe was talking about her, and so friend went out right then and bought Horses. Which he years later lent to me, and changed the course of my music-listening history. Definitely the most important REM thing for me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:03 AM
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I thought the personality cult of Lou Reed was that he was a total asshole. Isnt that his schtick?

I always kind of imagined him as kind of a Warhol-commercialism product: Warhol in the background telling him to be more of an asshole.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:04 AM
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my mom and dad hated the beatles (!) but loved the velvet underground, and the rolling stones, and started listening to punk rock as soon as they could get their hands on it. that and country blues, and killer reggae. rivers of babylon, police and thieves, book of rules. it made me the person I am today.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:05 AM
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I think some of what people of the majority generations of commenters here like about the VU is that it provides an alternate history of the 1960s and classic rock -- see, it wasn't just vulgar hippies and the Beatles that Mom and Dad liked, there were people semi-seriously involved with the avant garde who were also rockers and that's who I'm aligning myself with

It's not this at all for me. I like the vulgar hippies and the Beatles too - a good chunk of my music taste was formed from stuff that my parents and older brother listened to. And, while I do quite like Andy Warhol's art, I don't really care about VU being avant-garde rockers - I'm not a big fan of the New York punk rock scene that VU supposedly spawned. I mean, it's pretty good stuff for the most part, but it doesn't grab me the way VU do.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:06 AM
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Well, I would say that at least the LR of the late period VU comes across on the albums as a thoughtful, hopeful smart guy. But he certainly doesn't come across as a stupid, pompous asshole, and it's the stupid pompous dickishness that would be the turnoff to many LR fans.

I agree that this shouldn't matter artistically, but there's something about rock heroes that makes people want to identify with them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:07 AM
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Carp is a hippie

I was thinking, walking to the office, how much participating in Unfogged threads is like living in a Firesign Theatre album. Sometimes it's Everything You Know is Wrong, sometimes it's I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus (including that proto-geek stuff on the B side), and most times it's more like Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers. Haven't yet experienced Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra, but maybe al is going to get us there. With Moby punning away, I suppose.

Bottom line: you're all hippies. Even those of you who pine for the NYC of VU.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:08 AM
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In aesthetics, everything is permitted.

Are you trying to make me cry? That's like saying "It's just my philosophy that you shouldn't put off till tomorrow what you can do today!" Aesthetic judgment is not the same thing as random individual opinion.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:08 AM
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Aesthetic judgment is not the same thing as random individual opinion.

Well, that's just your opinion.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:10 AM
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my mom and dad hated the beatles (!)

Hating the Beatles was a thing. Showed how cool you were, nothing to do with music. (I assume I'm around al's mom and dad's age.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:11 AM
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Well, that's just your opinion.

peep is a non-humanities student mad about the bad grade on his lit paper?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:15 AM
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All this talk of VU and nary a mention of John Cale? For shame, commentariat. His various versions of "Heartbreak Hotel" are teh molto awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:16 AM
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20 I like the Velvet Underground, but I have no idea why they're so influential, or even exactly what their influence is..."Heroin" is recognizably the same kind of song as "The End". "Heroin" is a better song, but it's not so different from the Doors that it's like a groundbreaking new style.

23 The Doors were bombastic, and VU never was. About influence I have hardly any opinions.

25 No VU, no punk rock.

And, more particularly, none of that part of alternative rock (a part therefore in the posterity of punk) that includes Galaxie 500, Spacemen 3, and Yo La Tengo.

50 I see your point, but I would say that VU has an industrial/noise aspect that is different from the Doors, and probably influenced a lot of punk

I'm essentially on board with 23, but would go further and say that it does a lot to explain the influence noted in 25. Punk saw itself as turning down the self-importance level in popular music and turning up the ironisation. There are probably sonic differences that one could isolate too (cf. 50), between the songs in question, but I think it's the differing concepts, expressed through the tone of the lyrics and their delivery, under which the purely sonic level operates that is mainly responsible for their being different in species.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:18 AM
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Showed how cool you were, nothing to do with music.

Or, if you were my parents (every so slightly pre-boomer), showed you didn't listen to that druggy kid music, but rather more mature stuff like the Everly Brothers. It was possible to hate the Beatles through being not hip enough, rather than too hip.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:19 AM
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re: 78

Ooh, great stuff. I only discovered Chance recently [from reading Rip It Up].

For me, it'd be the period from the late 30s through to about 1960. Before the epicentre of mostly black American popular music moved elsewhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDVZdZMCc0w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoPL7BExSQU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Feq_Nt3nM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU8eK7kGQLM
[randomly selected vids]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:22 AM
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VU is just great. One can give lots of reasons for this, but really, just let it wash over you in waves of pop, noise, and awesomeness.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:23 AM
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Like 42 and others, REM was frequently in the background particularly when I was in HS, and thus, have fond memories of the older stuff.

I always liked the VU song Venus in Furs, but admit not having listened to much, and should catch up on that history.

And, yes, Stanley, I'm a newish-time commenter (longish-time lurker).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:24 AM
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No, don't cry! I have enough sins on my head as it is!

Aesthetic judgment is the same thing as informed individual opinion. You put in the time, and in the end you either like it or you don't. The urge to form an official canon of stuff that you must like is a totalitarian one, and should be resisted. The world is a better place because Sifu hates all music that all right-thinking people like, and likes Metal Machine Music.

I think that War and Peace is obviously the greatest novel ever written, and I can't imagine why anyone would think otherwise, but if everyone agreed with me I would fucking hate it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:24 AM
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Thinking Reed is a dick is independent of my opinion on his music, much of which I like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:24 AM
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I also think there's no way Tweety actually likes MMM but perhaps my imagination is small.

I can't listen to it for terribly long but I find the experience of listening to it impressively intense. It would be great live, or at least incredibly loud.

But, I dunno, there's a lot of music like that. I listened to a four hour La Monte Young solo piano piece straight through once, and that was a mind-bending experience, but not one that I'm likely to repeat terribly often.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:27 AM
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1. The Zeitkratzer arrangement of Metal Machine Music is better than the original.
2. I don't know what this Blah Blah Local 151 thing could be but I'm guess it's not related to Thinking Fellers Union Local 282.
3. Lou Reed blows.
4. John Cale rules.
5. Despite that, "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Sweet Jane" are pretty good songs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:27 AM
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R.E.M. was the first secular concert I went to.

I'd like to hear more about the earlier concerts. I was unaware of Upetgi's presumably highly religious upbringing.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:28 AM
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Sifu is right. I have a recording of one hour of a 13-hour La Monte Young piano piece, and I love listening to it. I don't often have the time, but stuff like that is pretty great. I haven't ever heard more than a few minutes of MMM, but I listen to similar stuff at least several times a year.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:29 AM
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re: 110

Yeah, I'm that way with some 20th classical stuff, and some free improv/jazz music. It's great someone's doing it, and now and again it's an intense thing to listen to, but I wouldn't be taking much of it to a desert island with me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:29 AM
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102: sorry, I was asleep. The "Heartbreak Hotel" on June 1, 1974 is pretty boss.

Wait, why does it matter if Lou Reed is an asshole? Since when is that an aesthetic judgment of any value?

It doesn't matter so much that Lou Reed is an asshole; it matters that he sucks. In comparison to his reputation, he (wait for the eloquence) megasucks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:31 AM
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107: While I admire the subtlety of your pseud, it will be hard to distinguish you from people who actually forget to sign their comments.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:32 AM
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As a big REM fan, this makes me sad, but the fact is that I knew I was late to the party when I started listening to them twenty years ago (making me both old, and yet not old enough), so it's not really a shock.

(I'm wearing my long-sleeve T-shirt from the Monster tour today, instead of my usual work uniform dress shirt).

I will say that I have never gotten into VU.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:32 AM
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On re-listening, "Pale Blue Eyes" sure does go on a long time, doesn't it? Man, Lou Reed sucks.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:33 AM
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It's a bit strange to pick on the Beatles as "druggy kid music". I mean, sure they eventually did Revolver and Sgt Pepper and stuff, but for the first few years they were stars they were very much the safe option, wearing matching suits and making movies that inspired the Monkees. The standard parental reaction was that Paul was cherubic.

Meanwhile the Stones released an album called "Out of Our Heads". Now there's some clever niche marketing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:33 AM
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My mom (born in '58) wasn't allowed to listen to the Beatles because of teh drugz.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:35 AM
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115: I don't agree at all, but...

But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head

is up there among the worst lyrics ever written.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:35 AM
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Was VU not recorded very well? I've been listening to a bunch of their songs on YouTube, and they all sound slightly off -- even more than most songs sound on YouTube.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:36 AM
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re: 122

A lot of it is quite crappily recorded, yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:37 AM
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119: I think it was first 'kid music' -- when teenagers were chasing the cherubic Fab Four, my parents were early twenties and above that sort of thing, and then 'druggy kid music'. Just a slightly different age bracket, depriving them of all claim to hipness. I suppose they were the right age to have been bebop-listening beatniks, but they weren't that way inclined.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:38 AM
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among the worst lyrics ever written

Honorable mention goes to Van Hagar: "Only time will tell if we stand the test of time."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:41 AM
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126

125 is profound, dude.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:42 AM
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"In this ever changing world in which we live in"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:43 AM
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I'm frankly disappointed in us that everyone is naming their favorite REM songs and they're all from Automatic For The People or later.

My album pick would be "Fables of the Reconstruction". Cant Get There From Here, Kahoutek, Good Advices, Driver 8, all gold. Still, I sort of agree with 10.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:44 AM
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The Zeitkratzer arrangement of Metal Machine Music

I am importing a Zeitkratzer album right now!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:46 AM
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"I screen my phone calls/no matter who calls"?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:46 AM
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129: which one? I only have MMM and Volksmusik.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:48 AM
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It's Volksmusik. I got the CD for Christmas a few years ago.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:49 AM
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I think that's actually "If this ever-changing world in which we're livin' / Makes you give in and cry"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:49 AM
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"Jesus died for somebody else's sins, but not mine."

Jesus died for everybody's sins, lady.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:51 AM
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I knew 127 sounded vaguely familiar, but I'm not sure I would ever have figured it out without 133. That's sort of a hilarious mishearing of the lyrics.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:52 AM
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Of recent music, the line "Concrete jungle where dreams are made of" drives me absolutely nuts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:53 AM
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Whoops. Sorry about thinking you're an idiot, Sir Paul.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:54 AM
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Jesus died for everybody's sins, lady.

"Sometimes, Mother, you really piss me off."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:57 AM
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I loved REM insanely much when I was in junior high (so, Reckoning, thereabouts). I have a backstage pass from the "Pre-Construction" tour signed by all four of them. Oh, and a bunch of fanclub crap from when they handwrote you postcards and stuff. In fact, I still have a set of keys on a ridiculous spray-painted wooden cube keychain thing they sent out. Maybe I will wear my decomposing Life's Rich Pageant tour shirt (monkey riding a bicycle) and feel elderly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:57 AM
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For me, 130 is the only one of these that compares in badness to the lyrics in 121. I recognize that there are many varieties of badness in lyrics, and judging between them may not be an exact science.

Speaking of horrible lyrics, I remember hearing a lyric, "Life is like a game of chess/Some seek fortune, some success", on a song that was played regularly on the radio. I've tried googling it, but I can't find it. Did I dream this? Scary!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:57 AM
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All-time winner goes to Joan Osborne's "One of Us" for malicious and repeated failure to deploy correctly the subjunctive mood.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:00 AM
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112: Carmen a few times, Petra once. Probably something else. My parents are missionaries of sorts (half funded by support, half tentmaking, but working with churches in the US). Though I'm sure I would have been allowed to go to a secular concert as a teen in the right circumstances. But somehow the Up tour was the first.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:03 AM
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The Jam's English Rose used to make me insane for its chorus about how nothing will ever "keep me from she." This is of course very different from Jonathan Richman's hope that the Martian Martians will give some Martian pie "to I."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:04 AM
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I had a friend who was convinced that part of the lyrics to "London Calling" were "the Wheat Thins are thin." He would go on and on about what a stupid lyric that was.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:08 AM
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"And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
And he shall be Levon
In tradition with the family plan"


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:08 AM
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Not a song, but this new Mercedes ad proves that rich people prefer less prescriptivists.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:09 AM
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There are a lot of problems to point to in Rancid's lyrics, but the first one to come to mind is
"Do not bill the / abandoned buildings". Yes, it rhymes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:11 AM
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There's a rich tradition of Mondegreens. I can't remember any myself, probably because I don't usually pay that much attention to lyrics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:13 AM
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148: I believe "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" is the canonical first example.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:15 AM
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148: My favorite is probably, "...midnight's broken toe" from "Chimes of Freedom".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:16 AM
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My favorite, via a friend's sister, was mistaking "Now I have to hang my head and moan" in the Beatles' "Tell Me Why" for "Now I have to have my head embalmed."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:16 AM
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I think the lyric really is 'in which we live in' It's very hard to hear a 'we're' in any of the versions on Youtube. It may start with an 'if' instead of an 'in,' though.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:19 AM
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"There's a bathroom on the right."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:20 AM
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Though I suppose the most common one is "Wrapped like a douche / Another rubber in the night".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:21 AM
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+up


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:21 AM
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"This ever-changing world in which we live in" gets a lot more Google hits than "this ever-changing world in which we're livin" or "this ever-changing world in which we're living". Is it really not what he sings?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:21 AM
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152: Some lyrics site agrees with you. And you're right about the 'if'; I messed that up.

I feel much better now -- I was sure about 'in which we live in'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:22 AM
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Probably the most important Mondegreen in the history of rock and roll is "I get high" from "I Want to Hold Your Hand".

Bob Dylan thought the line "I can't hide" was "I get high," and a reference to marijuana. He was surprised to learn they had never tried pot, and became part of Beatles lore when he introduced them to it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:24 AM
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A horse with no name:

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings


In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:24 AM
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I can't remember any myself

The word is one in itself: "They have slain the Earl of Moray / And Lady Mondegreen."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:24 AM
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re: 160

Yeah, I meant I couldn't remember any personal ones. I know the famous examples ['bathroom on the right', etc], although it wasn't till I wiki'd the word a few minutes ago that I was aware of the origin of the term.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:26 AM
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119: The canonical example of adult Beatle-hating is the reference to them in "Goldfinger", when Connery says that the only way to listen to them is while wearing earmuffs.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:27 AM
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I would like to also withdraw my apology to Paul McCartney, and say "pthfthbbb!" to urple for 135.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:28 AM
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It's very hard to hear a 'we're' in any of the versions on Youtube.

ttaM, is the Liverpool accent rhotic or non-rhotic?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:28 AM
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when Connery says that the only way to listen to them is while wearing earmuffs.

Hee. 30 watt amps, low enough not to distort. I'm told you couldn't hear the band over the screaming teenyboppers, they were that quiet.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:29 AM
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142: Petra - I hadn't thought about them in a long long time. My very religious aunt gave me one of their tapes back when I was maybe in middle school. Loved it and ended up getting others. Too funny (and scary) in hindsight. Did not attend one of their concerts, though. (How was that?)

My first concert was Culture Club when I was in 6th grade. A different aunt took me, and I had the time of my life. I find this much less scary than loving Petra.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:30 AM
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159: Don't forget "the heat was hot".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:30 AM
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I wanted to pull something out of In The Year 2525 but its awfulness is impressively uniform.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:31 AM
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154 Though I suppose the most common one is "Wrapped like a douche / Another rubber in the night".

I always heard "wrapped up like a douche, you know the rumor in the night."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:32 AM
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164: I would like ttaM's ruling on this, because I, like LB, have held "in which we live in" against Sir Paul all these years.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:34 AM
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re: 165

AC30s are loud as fuck, fwiw. Still not enough to cope with a big venue without a decent PA, but they get loud enough to fill a decent sized small club. I have a 50watt 1967 Marshall which isn't, I'd have thought, that much louder and you wouldn't want to be anywhere near it when it's turned up. Actual physical pain.

re: 164

Er, not 100% sure but non-rhotic, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:35 AM
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One of my least favorite lyrics is Rufus Wainwright, from the generally cloying "Oh, Natasha."

"You walk alone like a baby unborn."

Or, if you were my parents (every so slightly pre-boomer), showed you didn't listen to that druggy kid music, but rather more mature stuff like the Everly Brothers. It was possible to hate the Beatles through being not hip enough, rather than too hip.

If only your parents had lived in East Williamsburg in the present day, they could have been hip by liking The Everly Brothers more than the Beatles.

I listened to a four hour La Monte Young solo piano piece straight through once, and that was a mind-bending experience, but not one that I'm likely to repeat terribly often.

I listened to a six-hour Morton Feldman quartet once. Well, ok. The last fifteen minutes of it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:37 AM
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Wiki says non-rhotic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:37 AM
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164. ttaM seems to have stepped out for a minute. Scouse is non-rhotic, but "we're" wouldn't sound like "we" anyway (closer to "where").


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:38 AM
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My first concert was Culture Club when I was in 6th grade.

First concerts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:38 AM
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Wouldn't 'we' versus 'we're' be different vowel phonemes? Even in a non-rhotic accent. Monophthong in one, diphthong in the other?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:38 AM
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All-time winner goes to Joan Osborne's "One of Us" for malicious and repeated failure to deploy correctly the subjunctive mood.

1) She didn't write it and 2) her rendition of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" more than makes up for her decision to sing it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:39 AM
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Pwned by chris in 174.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:39 AM
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Oh, he's back, I'll let him take it. The thing about "Blinded by the Light" is that it still makes no sense when you find out what the words really are, so the mondegreen might as well be right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:40 AM
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If only your parents had lived in East Williamsburg in the present day, they could have been hip by liking The Everly Brothers more than the Beatles.

Really? There's a social circle in which my extensive knowledge of the Everly Brothers' greatest hits could pass as hipness? I doubt I'll ever make use of this fact, but it's good to know.

(Come to think, I've been trying to convince Dad to move back into the city. Maybe he should move to Williamsburg and hang around with hipsters.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:40 AM
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Wouldn't 'we' versus 'we're' be different vowel phonemes? Even in a non-rhotic accent.

Hell if I know. I guess I'll stop giving McCartney benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:47 AM
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Showing up late to this thread, here are my thoughts on REM which got a couple of comments.

I have to admit that most VU songs don't interest me very much, but they have a handful that are absolute classics.

I had a great moment in roughly 1986-87 when a friend, wearing a Anthrax T Shirt, threw the REM tape I was playing out of my boom box and said "What the fuck is this shit? Fuck this. Anthrax!!!!". I will always think of that moment when thinking of REM.

I remember Henry Rollins talking about how opening for Iron Maiden was a little bit scary because, "Iron Maiden fans don't want to hear anybody other than Iron Maiden."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:48 AM
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I think yes generally Hipster A can outmaneuver Hipster B by saying "I like this thing that is so desperately unhip your parents were too cool for it." Anyway the Beatles are totally mainstream/commodified/other meaningless slam. You very well might hear the Beatles at Starbucks, and that is the River Styx of hip.

Oh and actually I nominate the entirety of "Bohemian Rhapsody" for worst lyrics now that I think about it. I hate that song so hard it almost wraps around into liking it, but not quite.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:50 AM
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Online lyric transcription websites carry no weight with me, since I'm not sure I've ever seen one of those transcribe a song correctly. However, The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style says LB is right. (See "Redundant Prepositions" on the linked page.) I'm not sure if I should consider this authoritiative.

I think I want to see a lyric sheet written in Sir Paul's own hand before I'm willing to condemn him on this one. There are people online who claim to have heard concerts by McCartney in which the correct lyric "in which we're livin'" was crystal clear.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:51 AM
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I've not listened to Anthrax in years but they are some of my fondest gig memories. Circa 1988/89 they always had great (and unexpected) support bands. Plus at the Glasgow Barrowlands I watched them fight the bouncers who had just thumped a kid for stage-diving. Anthrax 1, Barras bouncers 0.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:51 AM
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182: Don't Go Back To Rockville sounds like country? I really don't know anything about music.

183: I think yes generally Hipster A can outmaneuver Hipster B by saying "I like this thing that is so desperately unhip your parents were too cool for it."

Man, Dad could probably move to Williamsburg and become a god.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:52 AM
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Don't Go Back To Rockville sounds like country

Yes it does. It's still one of my favorite REM songs.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:55 AM
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184.2: Not exculpatory even if true. He could have changed it once people remarked on it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:58 AM
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I'm not arguing, just bemused by my entire lack of comprehension of what sounding like country means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:59 AM
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182: That's a good post. This:

their music seems tailor-made, in some ways, to play the role of music-as-cultural-signal. I may or may not have written about this before, but when I read music writing I'm stuck by the number of people for whom their musical choices were an important method of signaling their identity, particularly in adolescence. That just wasn't my experience growing up, for various reasons, and I feel a mixture of envy and distrust towards those descriptions. In the case of REM the fact that the songs are oblique and guarded seems to just invite people to treat their music as a personal treasure which separates them, the listener, from the rest of the world which doesn't understand it.

...is pretty spot-on for my experience, in retrospect anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:01 AM
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just bemused by my entire lack of comprehension of what sounding like country means.

I'm not necessarily the person to ask, honestly. I've been getting into several quote-unquote country artists over the last couple of years, but none of them are mainstream country. So I've developed my impression of country music based on a bunch of weirdos over on the fringes of the genre (Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Corb Lund as a couple names).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:03 AM
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Yes, that was an excellent post, as is your music writing generally.

To the snippet excerpted in 190, I think it holds true. My sense is that there was a moment from roughly 1975 to 1990 where your musical taste essentially was your cultural identity as a younger teen; the various genres were basically like tribal banners under which one could choose to affiliate. My sense is that this became much less true after the early 1990s, so that to high school kids since liking/not liking band x is not THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION EVER but just a matter of personal taste.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:10 AM
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Also Anthrax really did have a great live show.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:11 AM
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I LOVE BANANARAMA!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:13 AM
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Poking around for something else, I found a long clip of a concert I went to a while ago. Not going to say I remember these tunes specifically -- I went the night before and the night after, and may have been impaired -- but it holds up pretty well.

Lyrics on "Eyes" are extraordinarily weak, even on the lowest standard. Then again, the lyrics are just a distraction anyway. Heads all empty and I don't care, indeed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:19 AM
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I'd forgotten how demonstrative Bob is. We're seeing him, and Phil etc, next week. Probably much the same. Just grayer.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:43 AM
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I'd forgotten how demonstrative Bob is.

More demonstrative: Bob Weir or Bob McManus?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:45 AM
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There was definitely a mini-VU revival in the eighties. The movie "Adventureland" is good on this. Older music was harder to find then than it is now so everybody who was into alternative music focused on VU. For a while there were a lot of indie bands that explicitly sounded like VU too. I can see why the VU love seems weird to younger people. VU are objectively great, but the reason all the people in their thirties and forties love them has a lot to do with the lack of easy access to other options.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:51 AM
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On the Mondegreen rock lyric front, I always thought the type specimen was "The girl with colitis goes by".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 10:58 AM
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This thread is bound and determined to turn me into the VU hater Walt asked for, isn't it?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:05 AM
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199: Oh, that reminds me! It's not quite the same phenomenon, but I once had a friend tell me: "Hey, you know that line in 'Hotel California' about the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air? Dude, I had no idea colitas was a bowel infection! How twisted is that?"

"Colitis, Paul. Colitis is bowel irritation. Colitas are flowers."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:06 AM
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Isnt a Colita a bud?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:08 AM
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It's interesting how much the internet must have changed the nature of music hipsterdom.

When I was a teenager (cough! Wheez!) just being able to hear new/obscure music was a mark of coolness. You either had to physically get your hands on the stuff or else have access to a radio station that played less mainstream bands.

There was a good reason that music scenes centered on large cities and a few college campuses. Those were the only places where you could reliably be able to listen to many types of music.

Now that access has been largely removed from the equation I suppose that the nature of music snobbery must have changed, although I couldn't say exactly how.

I'm probably of the last generation whose teen years were fully spent with the "limited access" model of hipsterdom.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:09 AM
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183: I didn't know it was possible to hate Queen. I thought Queen was just one of those weird things that everyone should hate but no one really does. Huh!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:09 AM
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202: I've since been told that it's Mexican slang for that (which is the flowering part of marijuana!), but at the time I thought they were some kind of cactus flower.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:12 AM
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66: but I'm having a hard time believing there's anyone for whom reading a book would be a good way to get a quick introduction to an album. How quickly can you read? How slowly do you listen??

Sorry, I was not explicit enough. Of course just listening to it is the "best" and fastest way to get introduced to an album. I assumed Stanley had already done so or could easily do so. The book, which is quite short (as are all of those in the 33 1/3 series), provides a nice overview of the social and artistic context of the album as well as points out some things to listen for. I found that reading it enhanced my subsequent appreciation of the music*, even though I already quite liked most of the songs.

*Perhaps because per togolosh in 37 I am by definition pretentious to the point of something bad.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:14 AM
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203: Yes. I've mentioned this before in music discussions here. A really significant shift. I've listened to a far greater variety of '60s music in the '00s than I did during the '60s.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:18 AM
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I'm just going to ruin any scrap of credibility I have left, and admit that I don't know any Velvet Underground songs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:23 AM
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I'm probably of the last generation whose teen years were fully spent with the "limited access" model of hipsterdom.

Indeed. I happened to grow up in an area with several very good and adventurous college radio stations, and I spent an ungodly amount of time browsing the racks in record stores, then buying stuff based almost entirely on how weird the cover looked. I had a friend who was an Elvis Costello fanatic who was purple-facedly livid when EC started re-releasing all his old albums on CD with 10-15 B-sides and rarities at the end of every one, after he'd spent untold sums of money buying imported Japanese 7-inches and whatnot amassing them himself.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:24 AM
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apo's 72, seconded. In fact, Rock & Roll is the one VU song that I can happily listen to on repeat after burning myself out on VU & Nico one summer in college.

also, apo's 73, seconded. I don't hardly even eat meat, and I still find Carolina BBQ hard to resist.

further, apo's 209 and a.l.'s 203. A friend who teaches high school was recently talking about his students' musical tastes, and I was amazed that not only did they listen to lots of stuff I've never heard of (which is just the natural order of things), but they listened to lots of stuff that I was proud to even be aware of when I was their age. I mean, I guess this is a good thing, but it really does change how musical taste works, for me.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 4:46 PM
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I nominate the entirety of "Bohemian Rhapsody" for worst lyrics

Vaguely related: a band I play with is discussing trying to pull off a cover of that song. I'm not sure it's possible, but it would be fun as shit if we could.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:38 PM
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Stanley, they should do this version instead.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:41 PM
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Or you could do it Chicago stylee (full version here).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:47 PM
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Sadly, Mr. Walter's cover of "Live and Let Die" doesn't clear up many lyrical questions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 8:52 PM
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Maybe we'll just hire this guy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:10 PM
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172: "like a new-born babe/striding the blast"? (macbeth). I guess even homer nods. real newborns don't seem to walk around much in my experience. but anyway, rufus is my cuz, so I'm morally obliged to defend him.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:16 PM
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goddamnit, it was sunny outside, and I was planning to go work on my tan, and I looked at unfogged, and now it's clouded over. fuck. GET SUNNY AGAIN!! well, uva/uvb rays blocked by the feeble clouds are likely negligible but it is a cruce part of the experience of tanning that one be bathed in golden light. I'm audi 5000.

I am literally going to climb out the window of the office here onto the deck of the pool. yay not moving!!! they'll have to pry this semi-legal sub-tenancy from my cold, dead, impoverished hands. actually, incentives work; it has caused me to work a lot harder at my business. although if I'd know starting a company would be so much work I don't know if I would have done it, jesus.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:21 PM
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Weird Al did a palatable polka version of Bohemian Rhapsody. The words are still stupid but it's just...way better.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:29 PM
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191: Willie Nelson does not really qualify as a weirdo on the fringe of country music. Neither, arguably, does Corb Lund, though he's known to a more restricted audience.

IMO the difficulty in figuring out what constitutes According to Hoyle Country is that country has always overlapped heavily with blues, folk (slash "roots") and soul; Ray Charles and the Neville Brothers have both done "country" music, Kris Kristofferson was about as "fringe" as either Willie Nelson or Merle Haggard or Charley Pride ever was, the Dixie Chicks have strayed insouciantly from the fold and not just by denouncing a pseudo-Texan President. The central problem of the genre is really, honestly, the crypto-Confederate racial weirdness emanating from the skewed and bizarre Nashville standard.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:39 PM
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I looked at unfogged, and now it's clouded over.

Mouseover text, I think?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 9:50 PM
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re: 219

And then the overlap with jazz and swing, too, in various 'Western' and country boogie forms. There's a radio DJ I used to listen to in the UK that used to play a lot of this stuff, and when I first heard it it was a revelation as I wasn't aware how swinging some of that stuff was.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-11 11:44 PM
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re: 208

Cover versions?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxSFhZ9UI1w

[Not sure if the 1992 album that cover was originally on was a hit in the US, but it sold pretty well here. Top ten, anyway.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 12:01 AM
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34: But when I try think of what type that is, what I seem to come up with is "the type of band that sounds sort of like REM".
186: 182: Don't Go Back To Rockville sounds like country? I really don't know anything about music.

Country music in the sense of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and later the country rock people (like the Eagles). (But REM is actually the 'Athens' sound.)

So, here's Jess Willard with Every Dog Has His Day (1955). So, here's an 'Athens' sounding song of the same name, with completely different lyrics. (Unfortunately, Youtube only has versions with crappy sound - boo hiss!) Anyways, the Platonic ideal of a certain kind of utterly unironic hippie attitude (They even use the word 'rainbows'!): Let's Active - Every Dog Has His Day.

('Look around/This land of mirth/When we came back/They gave us the keys to earth/Sleep well at night/Don't lock the gate/When we came back/They forgot about war and hate/ /Willful anti-mainstream/Where the sun illuminates the way/And here beneath the rainbows/Just for us/Where all the kids will say/EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY!') (Stanley should like that.) The net is calling it power pop! That too! (sorta unlike REM)

So REM sounds like a bunch of guys steeped in old school swing, country, blues and so on, who come from buttfuck Georgia and want to play rock. Musically anyways. Plus Stipe is weird (but cool) and loves Patti Smith. The clear illustration of their lineage is this leftover of a commercial they were trying to record, which turned into 'King of the Road' and that jam recording wound up on Dead Letter Office. So, Walter's Theme ('I've got a hat/The size of OOOOOOklahoma!/Puttin' on my boots/Goin' down to Walter's/Get me some barbeque/Take some home to the missus/He'll give you a bag/To put it in/ /This is David/Signin' off!/ /Byeee!/ /Byeee!') and then King of the Road.

45: C'mon! Someone tell us that "Oddfellows Local 151" changed their life!

Nothing REM did changed my life particularly. I just heard 'Driver 8' on the radio (surprise!) and said, I have fucking got to get that record. The experience of my life as lived in Texas (not Rick Perry's rich asshole Confederate honk Texas) traced a route of travel from the black ghetto of South Dallas (I am using ghetto here in the sense of 'Warsaw Uprising') running through rich suburbia and all the way out to rural buttfuck.

So when I heard 'I saw a treehouse on the outskirts of the farm/The power lines have floaters so the airplanes won't get snagged/Bells are ringing through the town again/Children look up, all they hear is sky-blue, bells ringing/ /And the train conductor says/"Take a break Driver 8/Driver 8 take a break/We can reach our destination/but we're still a ways away"/' I knew a place *exactly* like that.

A place where I could stand on a piece of undeveloped grazing land with some trees, next to a railroad track where a WPA-built stone bridge labeled 1938 bridged a tiny creek. And standing there I look up and see power lines with floaters, and I would have been behind and a couple of hundred yards away from a century old Baptist Church which was built next to a crossroads. That church had bells, of course, and at the point I spent time in that location, I was a child.

The song spoke to me about one part of my life in a very literal way, baby. How could I not like it?

2. I don't know what this Blah Blah Local 151 thing could be but I'm guess it's not related to Thinking Fellers Union Local 282.

Pardon me for biting on your troll, neb, but that's actually quite a good song off the last album of theirs I liked.

(The theory here is bands have four record of original music in them and when they've put those out, all they can do is rehash the old stuff. So REM's run was Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction of the Fables, Life's Rich Pageant and Document plus the leftovers from the Murmur EP and Dead Letter Office. I haveGreen, and I don't listen to it, since it does nothing for me. It's REM minus most of the oddball originality that was the good thing about them. They shoulda quit when they were ahead, but hey, money.)

Anywho, the video is here, neb, and that's where REM comes about as close as they ever come to the sorta atonal machine music I've heard you play on the radio. ('Oddfellows local 151 behind the firehouse/Where Peewee sits to prove a sage to teach/Peewee gathered up his proof/Reached up and scratched his head/Fell down and hit the ground again') (Also, I like strident atonal machine music too! Just with less valium.)

In fact, the sick thing is that the two singles off of Document is that they weren't any of the politically strident (for REM, anyways) triplet on the record. ('Welcome to The Occupation', 'Exhuming McCarthy' and 'Disturbance at the Heron House')

All of which, upon a re-listen, are politically relevant right now! You could play 'Exhuming McCarthy' to annoy Mr. Yggles when he starts rattling on about neo-liberalism. ('You're beautiful/more beautiful than me/You're honorable/more honorable than me/Loyal to the Bank of America/It's a sign of the times/It's a sign of the times/ /You're sharpening stones/walking on coals/To improve your business acumen/Sharpening stones/walking on coals/To improve your business acumen/ /Vested interest/united ties/landed gentry rationalize/Look who bought the myth/by jingo/buy America/ /Enemy sighted/enemy met/I'm addressing the realpolitik/Look who bought the myth/by jingo/buy America') Of course, it would be even better to use that song to beat the shit out of centrists or Timmy Geithner or Bill Clinton even time they open their mouths.

max
['OK, gonna shut up now. The dawn of another drab, dreary day on the East Coast. Whee!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 4:07 AM
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REM is not, in any way, part of the soundtrack of my life. And I've never really gotten their appeal, not that I'd ever spent 3 minutes thinking about them before yesterday. Another of those bands the kids listen to, was really it.

223 was a good explanatory comment.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 5:39 AM
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Murmur is an LP, the EP was Chronic Town. Certainly if you're going to count Document (which I think is one of REM's weaker records, despite having several great songs) as part of their peak, you have to count Murmur.

Personally, I think they had a great run both in the beginning of their career (Murmur through Fables, plus parts of LRP) and in the middle (Out of Time and Automatic), with some weaker albums between those two and after the latter. I think the 10 full albums with the original lineup (before Berry left) is uniformly quite good, with Monster being the only actually crappy album. (I also like their first album and a half as a trio, but it's a different band, and I don't think it's as good.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 6:47 AM
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I like Monster. It's not their best, but "actually crappy" seems harsh.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 6:49 AM
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My impression (and I don't really know so much) is that REM's music was not as influential as their career arc. They made a living on a small label touring small venues, while being a critical success (Murmur was Rolling Stone's album of the year, beating out Thriller, despite selling under 200K) and not caring about big radio. Every album sold more than the previous one for a full decade. Lots of bands wanted to be REM, though they didn't want to necessarily make the same kind of music.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 6:53 AM
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The Vox AC30 is pretty much a classic example of the distinction between volume and loudness, innit? Volume is pretty simple - we take an input signal and modulate a bigger carrier with it, repeat the process a few times, and eventually we can shift lumps of air. It's simple enough for guitarists to understand, which is probably why beyond that I really don't understand much about the electronic side of music and every software application in that line I've seen makes my brain hurt.

Loudness, though...ah, that's where you realise that psychoacoustics is seriously complicated stuff and there's a reason for all those knobs.

Erik Lund's awesome blog has a theory that the British Invasion bands happened because British industry mastered really good harmonic amplification early (like, eh, the Vox box), which was a long range consequence of hugely overestimating the need for heavy antiaircraft guns before the second world war (and therefore putting a lot of work into gun predictors and naval fire-control systems).

Meanwhile, this is the music thread, right? Here goes.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:02 AM
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re: 228

The problem with that theory is that the Marshall amps of the 60s are basically an early 1950s Fender (so American) design with a minor tweak to the EQ, and a slightly different power valve. Vox amps are a different homegrown design, I suppose, and tend to have a less compressed and more spiky sound but I don't think there's much to Lund's theory. The blogpost on benchgrass doesn't seem to have much detail behind the claim.

The linked record is excellent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:20 AM
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Vox and Marshall amps certainly aren't any louder than the bigger Fender amps of the same period, put it that way, and while the former can be made to break-up earlier and have a more punchy mid-range, the differences aren't really _that_ huge.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:26 AM
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So, here's a bloke playing through a Fender Bassman [1950s US design, remember], and getting something close to the sound of distorted tone people think of as 'British' in terms of amp design.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N8wNmi9B40


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:31 AM
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I wonder if Lund was thinking of studio/recording kit rather than guitar amps? Anyway.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:32 AM
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216: Well but unborn babies do very little walking indeed. And either all of them are alone or none of them are alone, depending on how you choose to look at it, with exceptions made for twins, triplets etc. FWIW I was obsessed with Poses and listened to it maybe practically for a year. Later on I soured for various reasons I won't harp on because he's your cuz and I'm not that convinced of the importance of my musical opinions anyway.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:39 AM
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Track in 232 also excellent, although the one in 228 more my taste.

I don't think you can make much of a tech driven case for the British invasion. Most of the UK musicians were using US made gear, if they could get it, and/or UK made gear that fairly closely aped US designs. And I don't think there any real differences at the studio level, either. The obvious explanations seem cultural.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 7:42 AM
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223 is very good.

Willie Nelson does not really qualify as a weirdo on the fringe of country music.

No, but I've been starting from Nelson's later, more idiosyncratic stuff, and working backwards.

This is excellent, but not at all a good example of a "country" sound.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:00 AM
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Is anyone else following derauqsd's epic trolling exercise at CT? Alternatively.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:15 AM
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re: 236

Following it, somewhat aghast/agog. Also, nice track. Still prefer the one in 228, though.

How about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FSq566xB-M



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:17 AM
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Christ, I've spent the last hour reading this Bench Grass blog. Alex, in the future please only link to boring things. Thank you.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:26 AM
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(So, I have always known VU in a haphazard way, downloading this and that. Which means I had missed the song "Pale Blue Eyes" which I am now listening to for the first time and it's a grey day in New York and I can't even begin to tell you.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:32 AM
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He's got that crazy-but-in-a-productive-way thing, hasn't he? You wait 'til you get to the dynastic interracial marriages of old New England and the Bailey Bridge. And his war against Correlli Barnett.

No surprise that he's an alumnus of SHWI like so many other Interesting People On the Internets.

Compliance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWg2zFGjLl8


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:32 AM
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236: It's kind of impressive, isn't it. I wonder if he's kidding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:33 AM
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re: 240.last

Ripped off, I think, by:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWoom1gpNfo

which I heard a lot on the radio a couple of months back.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:35 AM
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240.last is, of course, excellent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:37 AM
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Likewise to 238.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:38 AM
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242: Ah, the great British secret - taking other people's cherished cultural treasures and buggering about with them. In a bear suit. My carefully planned deep house glide path to the end of the day is futsch by your lurching punkish interference! At least we have an explanation.

Aaah.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:48 AM
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re:245.last

Sucker for that deep house/disco hi-hat pattern.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:50 AM
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240: Oh wait, he's the "Indians didn't die, they intermarried" guy, isn't he? I have to be super-skeptical of that theory, just because I find it so attractive. Growing up in Philadelphia, where everything has an Algonquin name, and where the founding myth is of peace loving William Penn making a peace treaty sealed with a wampum belt, it's hard not to wonder as a little kid where the Algonquins went, and as a teenager to suspect that we* killed them all. From that point of view, the idea that they just intermarried is pretty attractive -- about a million times more attractive than even the "oops, they all accidentally died of disease" explanation.

* For a somewhat nonsensical notion of "we" common with Americans -- my ancestors only moved to the US after the Potato Famine.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:50 AM
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247: Oh, I remember that guy. Seemed like a really odd theory, particularly in that it doesn't account for why New Englanders in the 17th/18th Century didn't look particularly Native American.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:57 AM
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Genetic markers known to be specific to Native Americans are very rare in the current US population.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2aq0ol15pQ


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 8:59 AM
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This is a haunting cover of "Space Oddity" by French singer Emilie Simon.

This cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is an interesting way to perform the song, and puts the lyrics to interesting editorial effect.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:01 AM
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To be clear, I think he'd be as keen as any decent man to dance on Andrew Jackson's grave. But that's his big organising principle for the whole of North American history since the 1300s - the combination of the elephant-in-the-living-room reality of enormous racial mixing and an obsessive, neurotic effort to deny it. I think he would go so far as to identify these with certain political parties, with the caveat that the identification is not permanent and has switched a couple of times.

And he also seems to suggest that it was specifically a deal between the elites on each side.

If you need any help with Jackson's grave...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:05 AM
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(Sorry, 239 was awfully emo. I was having a moment.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:09 AM
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Mr. Lund seems to be confusing the US with Mexico.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:19 AM
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His argument is more that the US is much more like Mexico, or indeed any given Latin American society, than it would ever let on. Put like that, I think we have comity.

I note that some contributors have left out the links.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:24 AM
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254 -- His argument is completely ridiculous to anyone who has spent much time with 17th century primary documents in NE. Or Quebec -- which had more mixing, to be sure, but apparently not the conspiracy to suppress all mention of it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:30 AM
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I have spent essentially no time with 17th century New England primary documents. I am spending a lot of time with my last.fm account today, thought.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:34 AM
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Ah, the great British secret - taking other people's cherished cultural treasures and buggering about with them. In a bear suit.

We can do that with your cultural treasures as well.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:38 AM
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The failure of anyone recording the events of King Philips War to recognize that huge numbers of the opposing combatants were in-laws, nephews, cousins, etc. It's all pretty staggering.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:39 AM
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Also, if the idea was that it was all covered up as too taboo to mention, how come there are so many East Coast, white family stories about a Native American ancestor. My FIL's got one (a story, I don't know about the ancestor. Although with the sparse beard and kinda NA looking nasal structure, maybe). It clearly wasn't all that taboo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:49 AM
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Rather like the English Civil War? Anyway, take it up with yer man.

@ned: the comments on that are...special. I respond.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:49 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWfDfvo0Erg

A _long_ time before the vocals come in.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 9:56 AM
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236: 236: It's kind of impressive, isn't it. I wonder if he's (d2) kidding.

I view it as the last over-the-top episode of a long-running sitcom.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 10:04 AM
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Is anyone else following derauqsd's epic trolling exercise at CT?

Just glancing at it now, and I did like this line:

[1] say what you like about George W Bush, he may have been responsible for the waste of $2trn of American taxpayers money and the deaths of half a million people but he didn't get a bonus.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 10:12 AM
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I was actually thinking of linking it and saying something sober about "Given that it is a systemic problem where decent people responded reasonably to perverse incentives, doesn't it add a useful and non-perverse incentive for bankers generally to know that if they work for organizations that participate in this sort of mess, they will be personally despised and reviled? Maybe they'll be a little more motivated to keep things sane next time." But then I thought to myself, "Self, do you really need an argument that's instantly going to get into the areas of finance that puzzle and bore you (viz., all of them)", and thought better of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 10:19 AM
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264: You're perfectly within your rights to shake the jar to watch the bugs fight--no one says you have to get in the jar yourself.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 10:34 AM
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263: But that line was already answered in in comment 9 by OCS:

Anyone who begins his defense with, "Hey, at least I'm not a serial killer!" already has quite a hole to dig himself out of.

I hesitate to describe any counterintuitive argument by dsquared as stupid, especially a financial argument and doubly especially a financial argument about Europe. But geez, look at this:

First, as I said three years ago, macroeconomic events have macroeconomic causes, not microeconomic ones. Bad, stupid products[2] like Option ARMS or subprime buy-to-let teaser mortgages, were not invented by the industry out of sheer cackling evil; they were invented because they were the only way to get the people into the houses, given how expensive property had become.

This looks nuts, and he's quickly called on it by Chris, who points out the role of these exotic instruments in inflating the bubble.

Dsquared's response? Spain, he tells us, had a bubbly real estate market without these types of loans. But wait, what? If Spain could develop such a market and still not need the funky loans, then the funky loans were not, in fact, required by the bubble market.

Any discussion of the causes of the crisis simply has to include securitization - the real driver behind option ARMs and whatnot. The problem for dsquared is that if you're talking about securitization, you're talking about bankers again, and he's decided the bankers aren't culpable, so he needs to talk about something else.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 11:05 AM
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263: But that line was already answered in in comment 9 by OCS:

I didn't take the line I quoted as an argument about the objective degree of culpability of bankers, but as snark about how public opinion is heavily influenced by things other than objective culpability.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 11:37 AM
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267: In which case it still doesn't work. "Bonuses" aren't a red herring in this context. Bankers did their damage because they were incentivized to do so, and bonuses were a part of that incentive structure.

Dsquared himself concedes this:

If I really thought that the rage brigade were (as ajay says above) trying to make people suffer consequences in order to prevent similar failures happening again, then I'd be more sympathetic to it - if it was sort of a populist version of a lobby for financial reregulation.

Here he hand-waves away the people who think the incentive structure sucked and should be fixed, because their policy prescriptions resemble those of the hicks who would like to get a little payback.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 11:50 AM
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Shorter d2 in that thread: Poverty Not Being a Banker Sucks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 12:03 PM
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The point about Spain is that the Bank of Spain forced their banks to hold much more capital in reserves against their property loans, on a steep pro rata basis. That didn't stop an absolute bastard of a housing bubble.

What it did stop was Spain's banks blowing up when the crash hit. People have been predicting that they'll go, real soon now, since 2007, but it's not happened. They've had some weirdo outfits like the savings-and-loan run by the Catholic Church go under, but not big commercial banks. They're having a horrible recession because the bubble was absolutely huge relative to the economy, something like one in seven workers were in construction at the peak.

But so far they haven't had a bank crisis. I wonder if some of the other Eurobanks aren't stuffed with toxic Spanish real estate that their banks wouldn't touch.

I beg forgiveness for not providing a music link. I've finished the set and sloped off to the bar. Literally!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 12:23 PM
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Right. In Spain they were required to be more sensible about loans, but the housing market did not, somehow, grind to a halt in the face of high prices. This seems to be the opposite of dsquared's narrative, where bankers in the UK were innovating in order to keep it possible for houses to be bought and sold in the face of a bubble that was (in dsquared's narrative) the inevitable result of market forces and unrelated to exotic lending practices.

And again: Any conversation about banker culpability has got to center around securitization.

Also: I am insufficiently knowledgeable to hold forth on the similarities between the Spanish and UK housing bubbles, but I suspect that the liquidity that allowed those bubbles came from different sources.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 12:38 PM
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Cool Dad Raising Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-23-11 6:19 PM
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