There were voices down the corridor

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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...]

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...]

Ashes to ashes

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“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...]

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...]

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...]

A final week of ’70s music at the Big Box

The Bee Gees

Restocking the shelves at the Big Box doesn’t fully occupy one’s mind, giving me plenty of time to meditate on the meaning of the songs being piped in on the store’s music service. Maybe too much time. Herein I ponder if there is any way to redeem the lyrics to the BeeGees’ “More Than a Woman” and attempt to identify the shifting antecedents in the Little River Band’s “Lonesome Loser.” [Read more...]

Vanitas vanitatum …


Whether or not an album is a vanity project has less to do with its merits and more to do with marketing and motivation. If it seems like a cynical attempt to cash in on fame by repackaging a movie-star as a pop-star, that’s a vanity project. Ego plays a part, too, of course, hence that word “vanity.” [Read more...]

Just watching myself in some play


A great magician reveals a trick; the end of the season and the End of the World; standing athwart algebra, yelling Stop; coherent theodicies; “How to Get a Drink at a Crowded Bar;” and the twilight of the answering-machine song. [Read more...]