Category Archives: Music

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Hasten Down the Wind: Adventures in Babysitting, 1977

What to do when you’re 12 and a mysterious, beautiful, troubled woman moves in next door with her four-year-old. You babysit, of course! RBW offers some more summertime musical memoir. Continue reading




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Love & Mercy and the Saving of Brian Wilson

Beach Boy Brian Wilson, musical genius and cultural icon, should have died, but did not. Someone saved him. Who, exactly, did the saving is up for debate. In any case, hot new biopic Love & Mercy, fleshes out the less-familiar trope of “saving the artist,” and our own Robert Burke Warren digs that. Continue reading




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Sufjan Stevens at the Palace Theater in Albany. Photo by the author.

Carrie & Lowell & Sufjan & Me

When great live performances approach religious experiences. Continue reading




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Song Beneath the Song: Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue”

Bod Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue,” from his 1975 classic Blood On the Tracks, is unfinished. Always has been, always will be. Its incompleteness, however, is part of its power. It is no accident. Dylan engineered “Tangled Up In Blue” to be open-ended, unsealed, and shape-shifting, not unlike a jazz composition. He tinkers with it, sometimes radically reinventing it, both lyrically and melodically, to this day, making it one of the most resilient, resonant unfinished songs ever. Our own Robert Burke Warren gets deep into this distinctive, odd nugget from the Dylan canon. Continue reading




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Dead Finks and Warm Jets: Evolved Enough for Eno

Even if you don’t know Brian Eno’s music, you’ve still heard him, in groundbreaking clients Talking Heads, Bowie, U2, and Coldplay, not to mention the 3.5 second chime that heralds the opening of every Microsoft Windows 95 program. (Written by Eno on a Mac.) How did Eno grab the attention of the iconic before they were icons? Guest Weekling Mark Donato answers that question by taking you back to Eno’s fabulous, way-ahead-of-its-time solo work, songs that now sound like blueprints for so much quality late 20th/early 21st century pop. Because they are. Continue reading




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Bigger Than Jesus: The Gospel of U2, Leonard Cohen, and Sufjan Stevens

Robert Burke Warren goes deep into his own story to talk about the persistence of God in pop, and how and why non-believers and doubting Thomases still go for it. Continue reading




Posted in Current Events, Memoir, Monday Rock City, Music, Philosophy, Popped Culture, Religion, The Arts, The Weeklings, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
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Dare To Be Stupid: Comedy Songs, The Best and the Rest

The ability to make people laugh is even rarer than the ability to make beautiful music. The combination of both, executed well, is cause for celebration. Amanda Nazario gives props to parody progenitors Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer, et al, and the 21st century’s own master of making fun, “Weird Al” Yankovic, still riding high after debuting at number one last year. Continue reading




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Simple is Best: The Secret of AC/DC’s Success — A Conversation With Biographer Susan Masino

AC/DC biographer Susan Masino, also a longtime band friend, is perhaps the only writer to enjoy the honor of an actual shout-out in one of the band’s early tunes. (See below.) If that doesn’t give a biographer cred, nothing does. Masino’s Let There … Continue reading




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A Song Shall Lead (and Annoy) Them: “Let It Go” from Frozen

“Let It Go” crystallizes something intense and very real but otherwise formless, and little kids, who, bless them, do not know from “cool,” love it more than any other song, ever. Even boys. For the first time in history, boys do not categorically run from a Disney princess. They are drawn to Elsa. I am fortunate to bear witness to all of this, and so are you. At the risk of overstating it, it feels historic. Continue reading




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