[In the Red; 2016]
Since emerging from the San Francisco music scene back in 2008, Ty Segall has released eight albums (not including his two albums with side-project Fuzz, a handful of EPs, and a collaborative album with White Fence). His workhorse output has resulted in a breadth of material that can become bewildering for avid fans. Despite every album having its highlights, there comes a point where much of his garage rock anthems begin to all sound the same. There are a couple of exceptions to this commonality: 2012’s Slaughterhouse was a nice, doomy side-track, and 2015’s Manipulator was a blatant and largely unsuccessful stab at glam rock. But for the most part, Ty Segall’s sound has remained the same for the better part of eight years.
On Monday night, Lady Gaga took to the Grammy stage and performed a series of David Bowie songs. She put her best effort forward, but the performance as a whole felt discombobulated due to whirlwind medley and Gaga’s distracting theatrics. I don’t necessarily blame Gaga for this disappointing display; the Grammys have always tried to squeeze as many performances into the music industrie’s night of self congratulations, but it might have been wiser to have simply performed one or two classics and given them the time and focus they deserve.
Last week, several news sources picked up on the fact that Bernie Sanders used David Bowie’s “Starman” during his exit from the stage at his Iowa caucus celebration. I love this Bowie classic and think that anytime is a good time to listen to it, but I didn’t quite understand the correlation between Bernie’s campaign and the lyrics that tell of an alien that contacts Ziggy Stardust amidst the apocalypse. Is Bernie the “Starman,” and if so, shouldn’t he be staying away from us in an effort to avoid “blow(ing) our minds”?
Politicians have a history of using music to help define their campaign. In 1992, Bill Clinton invigorated the baby boomer generation with Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” and in 2000, George W. Bush used Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” until the artist threatened litigation. While both of these tracks capture the essence of the candidate’s campaign message, “Starman” and its out of this world lyrics don’t quite match up with the campaign of a 74-year-old Jewish grandpa. Unless one of Bernie’s platforms is to “let all the children boogie,” I don’t think “Starman” is the best choice for his campaign.
Despite my disagreement with the song choice, this news story got me thinking all things Bowie when it comes to the election: what Bowie song should each candidate come out to? What album best matches the persona of each candidate? It goes without saying that I have a lot of free time on my hands. This pointless night of musing resulted in the following – a series of Bowie album covers featuring all of the current candidates (Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina are also included). I have zero formal training with Photoshop and still struggle to do the most basic of skills with the interface, but I still got a kick out of my results. Enjoy!
In this episode, we take a look at the year 1973 and the music that shaped it. From punk rock to glam, from prog rock to jazz fusion, and from soul to country, this year was filled with a wide variety of definitive sounds.
Check it out HERE, or better yet, go subscribe at iTunes or Stitcher (search key term: BDWPS).
The Stooges “Search and Destroy’
New York Dolls “Personality Crisis”
Brian Eno “Baby’s On Fire”
Area “Luglio, Augusto, Septiembre”
John Cale “Paris 1919”
Gram Parsons “A Song For You”
Al Green “You Ought To Be With Me”
Burning Spear “Down by the Riverside”
Bob Dylan “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”