Is this a joke?
Athletes retire, their bodies give out and they can no longer compete at a world class level. If you can’t dance, they kick you out of the ballet company, if you can’t sing, maybe you should stop performing?
What I hate here is no one will speak the truth. “Tempest” has gotten glowing reviews. And I’m not deep into it enough to judge the material, although I’m awaiting the “New York Times” article wherein it’s revealed he stole the lyrics, hell, if they can bust Jonah Lehrer, they can bust anybody. But one thing’s for sure, the vocals are horrible. So bad, they sound like your grandpa just woke up and is clearing his throat. A grandpa who sounds like Frankie Pentangeli in “Godfather II.”
I’m a huge Dylan fan.
But I gave up going twenty years ago. I’ve got no problem with him rearranging his material, it keeps him interested, young and fresh, but that doesn’t mean I care. It’s like a bizarre crossword puzzle. You’re sitting there listening, trying to divine what song it is by deciphering a lyric or two. It’s kind of like opening the dictionary and trying to figure out which book was made out of the words…”Ulysses,” “Portnoy’s Complaint,” “Fifty Shades of Grey”?
And at this late date, the story’s not buried. But people go to the show like lemmings, to pay homage to what once was. Kind of like going to a baseball show to get Reggie Jackson’s autograph. Or maybe going to a “Star Trek” convention to meet Spock.
If Dylan didn’t have all those years ago hits, he wouldn’t even be playing clubs. He’d be playing Holiday Inns. And no newspaper would review his material. People would laugh.
But ain’t that America, wherein everybody knows the truth but no one can say it.
As for writing a song about the Titanic… Imagine Kanye doing this. Or even Don Henley. They’d be excoriated.
Give me a break.
And while I’ve got your attention, who did Cat Power blow to get all that publicity?
One thing I love about these records by critical darlings is they come and go in an instant. Anybody talking about Fiona Apple anymore? No, that was two months ago! And the only people talking about Cat Power’s album are members of the press corps. There’s no buzz, no virality, just old men manipulated by a sexual being and a cadre of women getting behind a bizarre form of girl power.
Come on, Cat Power got her chance. She failed. Is she really that different from Lana Del Rey?
Has-beens and alta kacher never-beens just can’t believe that the era has changed, that the past no longer rules. They make albums in an era of singles. They hype them upon release not knowing it’s about longevity as opposed to a singular impression. Hell, that’s what Spotify is all about, you get paid when people continue to listen to your music, not when someone buys it. How many albums have you purchased and played once or barely more? The company got just as much money from you as they did when you bought an album and played it ad infinitum. Is this the paradigm we want to prop up?
I’ve got no problem with Dylan and Power making albums. But I do have a huge problem with mainstream media fueled by ancient record companies and aged publicity people going on and on about stuff that is marginal and most people don’t care a whit about.
Hell, there’s more innovation in Psy’s “Gangnam Style” than in both of the above projects. He created something intriguing, that you can’t take your eyes off of, that is subversive.
Once upon a time, Bob Dylan was subversive. Now he’s just an old man who doesn’t know what to do with himself but go on tour. Maybe he should stay home and hang with his grandchildren, write about that, it’d be more interesting than any music he makes.
As for Cat Power…
With the barrier to entry so low, with anybody able to make a record, the concept of a critic’s darling, one who wasn’t that good to begin with, is passe.
Just like the critics themselves.
Where to begin…
I take exception to your comments about Cat Power. I’m no industry professional. In fact I refuse to have any part in your music business. I’m an elementary and middle school music teacher. So I guess that makes me a nobody.
It’s highly offensive and blatantly sexist to imply Chan Marshall (Cat Power) performed oral sex on an industry professional in an effort to get publicity. You purport to be a forward thinker; someone with the ideas to save the music industry. If you’re its white knight, clearly it’s an industry that’s not worth saving.
It’s apparent that you aren’t very familiar with Cat Power’s music, as you seem to think she’s built her reputation selling her sexuality and a feminist agenda to her fans. She writes reflective music about the human condition, songs and entire records about being haunted by guilt and nightmares. At what point in “Moon Pix” is she pumping her fist shouting girl power or implying to the listener that she’s going to have sex with them, (a notion I’d say a majority of famous artists bank on)?
She had her chance and failed? Really? We live in an era where people simply don’t pay for music. I for one am an artist with no intention to make money-selling records. Have you ever considered if Chan Marshall is someone who makes music because they love to do so? You paint Matador Records as if its run by a guy with a pony tail and cigar in his mouth telling artists “I’m gonna make you big baby!” My goodness, I’m sure they have to make ends meet but you don’t get a job at such a label if you think your going to be making big money and hanging out with Puff Daddy on the weekends.
An era of singles? The album is a waste of time? Again, music doesn’t even make money anymore. When did Cat Power even have a single that got some airplay or sold a substantial amount of records? The small population that still has the attention span to sit for 45 minutes and actually listen to a record demands the album format. I’d like to think that artists who love what they do make music for the select few who grew up listening the very same way they did themselves.
I get it, you’re a populist. Yes her music has a small listener base. You’re upset because she got publicity from major critics and major media though? Is it only their responsibility to review and cover music aimed at the lowest common denominator? I thought those with an audience had an obligation and responsibility to point out a few things with merit in the world, no matter how marginal?
This gets me to my next point. You claim her early acclaimed music was junk. I very much disagree. You can’t find me an artist who effortlessly infuses harmonic sophistication, melodic note choice reminiscent of a jazz trumpeter, hauntingly introspective and relatable lyrics, and a creative use of contrast between consonance and dissonance, all with a voice that I’d call a gift from God. Her music simultaneously breaks my heart and inspires me. “What Would The Community Think” changed my life, and I only discovered her music less than a year ago.
She’s timeless. You and your music industry are a thing of the past.