Friday, July 25, 2008

Retroactive Reviews

Sure, why not go back to yesteryear, when rock was king and poseurs died a horrible death at the hands of the consume-a-tariat.

Sweet Jesus, what fuckin' decade am I talking about?

Look. I don't know Duke Ellington from Doug Martsch. I have spent 20 years buying records and I am still as square as they come. I have not entered that phase yet where say, Killing Joke, free jazz, or Delta blues has any fascination for me-but I am enough of a rock dilettante to know what good shit is. I need to smoke more marijuana-and then even the Spice Girls will open new vistas as I go thru the smoke rings of my mind. Whatever.

I just got Big Star's Third from Amazon. Took me a fucking month to get it, and when it arrived its jewel case was cracked off. Now I have three parts of the damned CD-how fitting. I have all three now, and I can safely say that the 'Mats were right when they said they couldn't go very far without a little Big Star.

Big Star purists would agree with me, no doubt(doubtful) that Radio City was their peak. You could tell that Chilton was falling apart, and it showed in his arrangements. You can feel the band reeling best in "Life Is White", and I am a sucker for commercial suicide(see Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" for a good example. I bought it, I admit it. I cannot say that I have listened to all four sides. Until I get some fabulous dank, I imagine I will not). I don't care how manic I get(yo, bipolar in the house, say ho).

So, on to Sister Lovers. It is vastly overrated. Most of the album is unfinished, save for "Thank You Friends", which some have interpreted as a backhanded compliment to all of his pals. I don't agree, I regard it as Alex's swan song. Well, not exactly-"Like Flies On Sherbet" has got to win Best Fucking Example Of A Shattered Ego Recording His Artistic Demise. Although he beat the Cramps to punkabilly, and wound up producing, strangely enough, the Cramps' first record.

All things considered, it is a good album. It brims with Jerry Lee-like piano plunking, which Big Star always had in their arsenal. If you are depressed, you will grok this puppy. "Holocaust" is the record's nadir, where Chilton sings about dead parents and the like. You get an odd cover of the Velvet's "Femme Fatale", and some more of that echoey piano in "Jesus Christ". "Kangaroo" has shards of feedback roiling through it, which is Alex's first nod to punk/metal. Alex's thin, reedy, nasal voice seems to be crying out that he wish he could quit recording this travesty.

Let me take this space to highly recommend "Set", otherwise titled "Loose Shoes Tight Pussy". Chilton is back in form, doing obscure covers in one take. Easily one of my favorite records.

I can stop this whorship of nostalgia any time. I was but a twee lad in the seventies (thank whatever), so I don't claim to understand the ethos of the time. I did, however, cut my teeth on the Beatles "White Album"... fave song? You guessed it-Revolution #9. I interspersed this with "Cookie Monster's Greatest Hits" and "Big Bird Sings!" and of course, everyone had by decree to own Rumors, at least one Billy Joel album, Frampton Comes Alive, Boston, the Disco Duck single, and Rhapsody In Blue by the Big Apple Orchestra. Maybe, with the right pot, I will break out my "Superfriends" 45 case and go back to a happier time.

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