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Thursday, March 09, 2006

One one hand...

... there's the remastered version of Megadeth's "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?" It's a classic of 80's speed metal - blazing fast, intricate, visceral, bombastic. Reportedly, Dave Mustaine, the snarling singer and leader of the band recently suffered some nerve damage in his left hand and can't play guitar anymore - so he went to work remastering all the old albums. He did a great job. The album sounds better today in iTunes format than it ever did on the cassette I wore out back in high school - brighter, sharper, heavier. And even though I'm no longer the metalhead I was 20(!?) years ago, for sheer technical brilliance, there are few better, and they really can rock when they want. So, yay for them.

On the other hand, there's the Talking Heads' double live record "The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads", recently released for the first time on CD, and in expanded form, by Rhino. Tons of good stuff here - including the "Remain In Light" tour, which is my favorite Heads' album and one of my all-time favorites from any band. As a bonus, you get to hear Adrian Belew playing on the R.I.L. tour - elephant noises and crazy modal solos. Ahhhh. Still good after 24 years.

And on the other hand, there's The New Pornographers', "Twin Cinema". I bought this because I could no longer stand to see them mentioned everywhere while not knowing what they sound like. I looove it. They have a definite Guided By Voices vibe: poppy songs that are just rough or carefree enough in construction and execution to ensure they won't make the radio, but are nonetheless catchy and interesting. Besides the G.B.V. influence, there are bits that sound like old (really old) Pink Floyd, or Robyn Hitchcock (who also sounds like really old Pink Floyd) - ie. psyechedelic pop; bits that sound like Sufjan Stevens (quirky little orchestrated incidental things), and a couple of other things I noticed but can't remember right now. Loooove it - after two playings.

On the other hand, since it's playing on my iPod right now, the lyrics to Junior Brown's "Holding Pattern" are a masterpiece of over-the-top country-style extended metaphor and pun:

    She's startin a holding pattern
    Holding someone else thinking it don't matter
    She's flying around leaving me on the ground
    And holding everyone she can

    She's startin a holding pattern
    And I'm sorry for the fool that tries to land her
    She's always in flight and I'm wondering tonight
    When she's gonna take off again

    I'm doing my downtime due to bad weather
    But I won't stay for long
    I'm gonna find somebody to treat me better
    And start a holding pattern of my own

    I'm up to here with departure and arrival time
    I'm gonna start riding on a new airline
    I'm tired of her flying those friendly skies
    While I'm sitting here wondering why

    (repeat v 1,2)

    She's drifting way off course trying to cover the field
    She'll never straighten up and fly right
    I should've known she was on a holding pattern
    When I saw her hanger empty most every night

    I won't be the one to try to clip her wings
    To make reservations on a wedding ring
    She's excess baggage that I don't want to claim
    And I might as well forget her name

    (repeat v 1,2)

Hardly a line without a pun. Outstanding.

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