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Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014
Jack Bruce didn’t need music videos, laser shows, dry ice, PR Kits, and crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics. He was too busy being one of the very best musicians in the business.

The recently-departed Jack Bruce could have had no complaints. He made history, he made records that made people happy, and he made some money along the way. Still, as one-third of the first ever “super group”, Cream, he was never a true superstar—not that he had designs on being one. Ultimately, he was bass player’s bass player, a singer’s singer, a songwriter’s songwriter and, above all, a music aficionado’s musician. Jack Bruce was, to invoke an inevitable cliché, the consummate professional: curious, seldom satisfied, always striving, ever-developing. Decades after he secured his legend, he kept on going, because that’s what the real legends do.


Tagged as: cream, jack bruce
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Monday, Oct 27, 2014
By the end of “Homecoming”, American Idiot has pretty much ended. The plight of the album's narrator is over, having reached closure by returning to where he started with a fresh, optimistic outlook on life.

The narrative of American Idiot began in a grandiose fashion, with the multilayered “Jesus of Suburbia” working as a suite of mini-songs that introduced listeners to the themes, sentiments, and, of course, central character of this stunning punk rock opera. It makes perfect sense, then, for Green Day to conclude this story (well, more or less) with another lengthy epic, and that’s precisely what the record’s twelfth track, “Homecoming”, is. Having faced and conquered an existential crisis whilst traversing the City of the Damned, as well as suffered the rejection of both his disciples and his first love (Whatshername), Jesus is ready to return home, face reality, and start anew.


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Friday, Oct 24, 2014
And if you leave here, you leave me broken, shattered, I lie. I'm just a crosshair. I'm just a shot, then we can listen to the 192nd most acclaimed album of all time. Franz Ferdinand’s 2004 debut is this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: If there was ever a band that seemingly had it all together and then never really capitalized on their new found fame, I think it might be Franz Ferdinand. You know, that band that released “Take Me Out”, last decade. Everybody loved it. They got a bunch of awards. And then the follow-ups sort of fizzled. Either as a consequence of the times or diminishing returns, I’m not sure which, however I would wager it would be both as the general listening public moved away from the art rock and jangly guitars and the members of Franz Ferdinand struggled to recapture lightning in a bottle.


Tagged as: franz ferdinand
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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
The 11th song on American Idiot, "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is arguably the most multifaceted and emotionally powerful composition on the album.

As I’ve already discussed thus far in this series, Green Day’s 2004 masterpiece American Idiot is incredibly multifaceted. Part punk rock concept album (in the vein of the Who’s Quadrophenia) and part social commentary on post-9/11 America, the album offers both an endearing yet tragic coming-of-age tale and a formal expression of the fear and sadness felt within the country at the turn of the century. While the full-length has already featured plenty of wonderful examples of these sentiments, its eleventh track, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, is easily the most poignant, striking, and universal one up until now. A heartbreaking eulogy to the losses of its central character, vocalist, and even the nation in which it takes place, the song is devastatingly somber, hypnotic, and beautiful. In fact, in terms of pure songwriting, it make be the best composition the trio has ever written.


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Friday, Oct 17, 2014
Well, I remember seein’ some ad so I turned on my Conelrad but I didn’t pay my Con Ed bill so the radio didn’t work so well. Turned on my record player—it was the 929th most acclaimed album of all time. Dylan's 1963 breakthrough is this week's Counterbalance.

Klinger: It seems like it’s been forever since we checked in with our old friend Bob Dylan. Bob has an astonishing 20 albums on the Great List of the most acclaimed albums of all time, although the triptych of LPs he released in 1965 and 1966 (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde) established Dylan as a critical force and have always garnered the lion’s share of critical acclaim. We’ve covered all three of them, as well as the 1975 Blood on the Tracks, and you have been, to put it charitably, a tough sell regarding the works of His Bobness, so I’m curious as to how you’ll respond to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, his pre-electric second album and the one that launched him into the public consciousness.


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