The original Bill & Ted movies came out while I was in college and there was a point where they were a big part of the lives of myself and my friends, in that way that pop culture obsessions and in-jokes take root at that time in life. So this week’s announcement of Bill & Ted Face The Music (AKA Bill & Ted 3) is big news to me. I find it fascinating because the new film will pick up with them in middle age. How do you address how life has gone on with its shifting priorities and interests, for the characters and for the films’ audience? And if you address that, do you inadvertently ruin what the original films were? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out. In the meantime, here’s a few small Bills and Teds from over the years that I pulled from the attic, along with the orchestral soundtrack put out a year or two back (right), and my OST from back in the day, signed by Joan of Arc (Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s), one of the Princess Babes, and Bill himself, Alex Winter.
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I picked up a UK 45 of Pat Benatar’s “Treat Me Right” and it struck me that while she’s generally remembered for one hit these days, she had plenty of them, usually featuring an undercurrent of violent action—songs like “Love is a Battlefield,” “Heartbreaker,” “Invincible,” this track and, of course, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” Every song found Pat struggling with the wrong guy, and she had plenty of hits beyond the ones I mention here.
So why is she relegated to playing large clubs these days while, say, a Bob Seger—same era and about as many hits—still plays arenas? [No emotional stake in either act; just throwing it out there].
Is it sexism? You could take her music as proto-feminist, paving the way for the P!NKs and Alanises that came later (thanks, I guess, maybe) so perhaps there’s societal blowback there.
On the other hand, we always look to see ourselves in an artist’s work; would her original fans—now in midlife and higher—actually WANT that much drama in their current relationships? Good God, no. But apparently there’s lots of people who still like to get nostalgic and buy trucks, hence Seger’s mysteriously enduring—if off the radar—popularity.
Sad lesson learned: For career longevity, young pop starlets should sing about the guy who got away instead of the guy who should go away.
I’ve always liked the smidge of Gary Numan’s music that I know and he always struck me as an interesting guy in articles. Then about 20 years ago, I did a phone interview with him and man, he just irritated the hell out of me with a bunch of answers where he was clearly trying to a provocateur but was too stupid to have any real conception of what he was saying. You couldn’t even be offended because it was the same thing as a two-year-old saying four-letter words; it doesn’t really mean anything because they’re ignorant. But that’s fine, even amusing, in a baby; it’s just annoying in a faded one-hit wonder. “Cars” remains a stone cold classic—the first synth headbanger—but its creator is a moron.
This one is interesting for an unexpected reason. As I always admit, I love gimmicky records, and UK singles in the 1980s were uniformly released with gimmicks to boost sales and get them on to the charts. Case in point: This UK limited edition pack of Tears For Fears’ “Shout.” It came in a big envelope (upper left) that contained the single and a bunch of cards that made for a full calendar of 1985, so they were literally trying to turn the band into pinups. I stumbled across this the other day in a used record shop and snapped it up for $5; when I got it home, I looked closer and noticed something interesting: The days are in sync with 2019, so in theory, you could use the calendar for this year. Pretty cool.
So is IG back up and running again? Let’s find out with a test post: This is a shop I went to a few weeks ago—Vinyl Paradise, far out on Long Island. Unfortunately, the truly awesome storefront, referencing Elvis Presley and Clash album covers, is the best thing about it. Inside, you’ll find lots of carefully curated screamo bands and everything else appears to be randomly scrounged from garage sales—lots of Judy Collins and Seals & Croft. Apparently they’ve been there three years, which says to me their rent must be dirt cheap.
David Sylvian’s Alchemy, AKA Words with the Shaman, is one of my Top 5 records of all-time. An instrumental affair of what today we’d call world music, it has captivated me for decades. Alas, it’s been only available on import EPs- and used ones at that, so inevitably, they were noisey during the quiet interludes. I’ve bought multiple copies over the years, futilely trying to find a clean one, but now it has been re-released finally (the copy on the lower left) and it sounds GORGEOUS. Listening to it was like sending my ears to a spa for 40 minutes.
Yes, Paula Abdul is no vinyl nerd’s idea of cool, but this 1991 flop single is a wonderful case of Audio WTF, constructed out of standard club-thumping beats of the era, faux opera, a 1940s swing big band, and a piano part playing utterly backwards jazz chords for the hook. It’s audaciously ambitious, even though it only works sometimes (her exhortations are pretty insipid even for dance music, where the words are usually the least important aspect). Nonetheless, it’s pretty fun and even more impressive if only for the fact that it was on a mainstream dance album. If some UK act had brought it out back then instead of Paula Abdul, it would have been a hit on US alternative radio. On the other hand, this is the UK 12” remix for it and I don’t think it was a hit over there either so I’m probably wrong.
An original pressing of Billy Joel’s first album from before he was signed to Columbia. The label he was on was so bad that the album was lmastered at the incorrect speed [approximately 8% faster]. When Columbia acquired and re-released it years later, the mastering was fixed.
Tears for Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair family portrait, clockwise from top left: A Canadian promo LP for playing in record stores, combining tracks from The Hurting and SFTBC; a MFSL audiophile copy of SFTBC; the rare and expensive (sigh) 2014 stereo mix by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree (less verb, drums all up front—if you ever wanted “Shout” to punch you in the face, this is your album); and an OG UK pressing from back in the day.
Breakestra always knew how to ride a groove—and so does my phonograph needle! After years of searching IRL, I gave up and found this classic side on eBay for a mere $6. I think the warping may be my own fault; I used a hairdryer to get a 20-year-old price sticker off the label. Even so, “Getcho Soul Togetha Part II” is still as delicious as ever!
#breakestra #nineties #stonesthrow #groove #warped #vinyl #vinyls #record #records #ebay #soul #rnb