Music

Did Dylan deserve the Pulitzer?

As much as I love the bard of Hibbing, I did sympathize a bit with Jon Friedman's Marketwatch column about Dylan's Pulitzer Prize. He's a Dylan fan too (hell, it sounds like he almost has as many bootlegs as I do) but he insists that anointing Bobby is just a play for the Prize people to look hip. I wonder about that myself and you can't honestly think that such a sentiment didn't cross the minds of the Prize committee. It's only in the last decade that the committee decided that jazz was worthy of the honor and even then, they've only chosen a small handful of recipients then.

Dylan represents the first time that a rock performer has gotten any kind of recognition from them (it was a special citation after all). But much like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you wonder why other performers haven't gotten a similar nod. Dylan was noted for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." It's nice that they recognize that he's a great songwriter and that if they are going to start to recognize someone in rock for these kind of skills, you might as well start with him. Dylan is an easy choice for them also because much of his work has a literary tinge to it so it falls in line pretty well with other artists that they've honored. Also, his recent Chronicles book is one of the best rock bios you'll ever read- no doubt that helped him too. But is this just going to be a blip or an ongoing concern with the committee? Which rockers, if anyone, will they recognize in the coming years?

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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