Alex Ross’s “Film score top 10”

May 29th, 2007

Alex Ross is right when he says it’s hard to think of a great Hollywood film score written for a comedy.

Bernard Herrmann did the score for Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, which is definitely a comedy. I watched the movie on TV in Madison, Wisconsin one afternoon when I was going to school there, but I don’t remember much about the score. All I remember is that the movie was quite funny and Shirley MacLaine was quite young and attractive in it.

Of course, The Simpsons isn’t a movie, but the music by Alf Clausen (and the theme by Danny Elfman) is quite good.

I’ve never seen Airplane!, but, if the music by Elmer Bernstein is one-eighth as good as his score for To Kill a Mockingbird, then it’s quite good.

Which brings up the question: Could a brilliant score for a total screwball comedy ever really be accepted as being brilliant? As brilliant as the score to Vertigo or Psycho is considered to be? A lot of comedic film scores really only show their brilliance when listened to in conjunction with the film. A good example of this is the hard-sync scores for Who Framed Roger Rabbit (by Alan Silvestri) and Carl Stalling’s brilliant work on the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes shorts.

Petal Pusher by Laurie Lindeen

May 20th, 2007

Riding your bike and reading books from the public library.

This morning I finished reading Laurie Lindeen‘s beautiful and moving (in parts) and laughing-so-hard-milk-snorts-out-your-nostrils funny (in other parts) new book, Petal Pusher. I wanted to quote some of the funny parts, but I gave my copy to my girlfriend, as a gift, immediately after finishing it and it’s over at her apartment right now (and I’m not), etc. But, anyway…

You’ll probably get your own ‘message’ from the book, because it’s about a lot of things (and the author’s writing is too intelligent for it to be the type of book that would overtly have a single ‘high-concept’ message, anyway). But, to me, it was about the fact that maybe you can go home again. Maybe home is just things like reading books and riding your bike around with a friend, and not doing the things that make you feel bad in the long run. Maybe home is the things you did when you were a kid when you were happy (more or less, relatively speaking (relative to the complicated, messy, decidedly non-happy corner you might have painted yourself into now as a so-called adult)).

But, that’s not exactly what the book is about. It’s about a lot of things and it’s not something some moron blogger (my name is Paul) can summarize in 500 words. So, just read the book for yourself, because it’s super good.

Rolling Stone‘s “40 Songs that Changed the World” list

April 23rd, 2007

Here are my top five songs that are missing from Rolling Stone’s list.

  • “No Fun”/”Push It” by Iggy & The Stooges/Salt-N-Pepa and 2 Many DJs
    The best of the mash-up world.
  • 4’33” by John Cage
    Sometimes silence is golden.
  • The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
    How come riots never happen at any of the concerts I go to?
  • “Police and Thieves”, “White Man in the Hammersmith Palais”, or “White Riot” by the Clash
    How come everybody’s afraid to throw a brick in this country?
  • Any song by the Replacements
    Actually no song by the Replacements ever changed the world, but many of them changed individuals.

“I don’t recall.” —Alberto Gonzales

April 22nd, 2007

Alberto Gonzales doesn’t recall. Click here to listen.

“I’m dying to be a musician” by Cary Tennis

March 27th, 2007

Here’s a good article by Cary Tennis: “I’m dying to be a musician”.

And while we’re on the subject of punk: “Death and glory” and “Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer”.

The Defeat of the Dog: Salisbury Plain

March 21st, 2007

Every 1000 years, all the abandoned, forsaken, and neglected dogs in the world meet at Salisbury Plain and lift their inarticulate, damaged voices in song to praise their God. This isn’t the song they sing, but what I imagine it might sound like.

Click here to listen to “Salisbury Plain”

My Definitive (more or less) Missing 10

March 11th, 2007

My choice of the top 10 albums that weren’t included on the HOF/NARM list:

  • McCartney, Paul McCartney
  • The Forgotten Arm, Aimee Mann
  • Tim, the Replacements
  • East Side Story, Squeeze
  • Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • Sandinista!, the Clash
  • Hard Rain, Bob Dylan
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen
  • Jesus of Cool, Nick Lowe
  • A Ghost is Born, Wilco

Car questions

March 1st, 2007

I’m tired of all this car stuff. Check this out and heed the warnings:


Mildred Couper: “Xanadu” and “Dirge”

February 15th, 2007

I’ve been listening to Zeitgeist‘s recordings of Mildred Couper (1887–1974) over and over and over again lately.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues”/”Pump It Up”

January 20th, 2007

“Subterranean Homesick Blues”/”Pump It Up”, by Bob Dylan/Elvis Costello (and the Attractions)/Chuck Berry/Prince:

Click here to listen.