Electric word, life, it means forever

Live TV, prime time, national stage. “Baby I’m a ….” He swats the mic stand over almost contemptuously, catches it with his foot and flips it back up so that it arches perfectly back into his waiting hand. “… Star.” Whoa. [Read more…]

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Are the good times really over for good?

Merle Haggard wrote and sang some terrific songs, and he collaborated and hung out with some of my favorite artists in the world of country music, but I had a hard time getting past his angry right-wing tribalism (whether he meant any of that, or if he was just selling records, isn’t clear, but also doesn’t really matter). [Read more…]

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Life is a maze and love is a riddle

OK, I finally figured out what song that creepy “Always Submit to the Church Administration” ditty reminds me of, and it’s not Frente! after all. Plus: The need for a new Twain; an honest discussion of witch hunts; and the true story of the Lone Ranger. [Read more…]

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There were voices down the corridor

Ah yes, the “Hotel California” urban legend, widely embraced by white evangelicals eager to believe that the Eagles’ hit song was a detailed allegory about the Church of Satan. This applied the interpretive approach evangelicals had taught themselves for reading Genesis, Revelation, and the Sermon on the Mount — read the metaphors literally and the literal statements as metaphors. Thus a song about selling one’s soul to the music industry turns into a song about musicians actually selling their souls. [Read more…]

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Saturday music open thread

Gladys Knight’s version of “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” seems like an excellent candidate for rechristening as a Jesus Is My Boyfriend song. Capitalize the word “You” throughout and I think we’re looking at a can’t-miss Christian radio hit. [Read more…]

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Ashes to ashes

“The son of a waitress and a nightclub owner, David Jones became David Bowie, who became Ziggy Stardust, who became Aladdin Sane, who became the Thin White Duke. All of them were fictitious. All of them became iconic. …” [Read more…]

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Advent Calendar, Day Five: Magnificat Is Coming to Town

“The kids in girl and boy land,” the song says, “will have a Jubilee.” But this promise of a coming Jubilee isn’t for everyone. Alongside that promise there’s also a repeated warning, almost a threat — “You better watch out.” This mix of a promised Jubilee and a repeated warning echoes the very first Christmas song or Advent hymn ever written. [Read more…]

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Advent Calendar Day 3

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. But for every Rudolph and Frosty, there are a dozen such characters who never caught on. For instance, do you recall, the most cynical cash-in attempt of all … “Jingle-O the Brownie.” [Read more…]

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