Thursday, February 5, 2009

Working On A Dream

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has pancreatic cancer. Although her doctors claim to have diagnosed the cancer in its early phase, make no mistake about it: Pancreatic cancer is terminal. If it really has been caught early on, with aggressive treatment she has a shot at making it past the five-year threshold. But typically, pancreatic cancer victims survive for less than six months. Which makes me all the happier that Barack Obama and not John McCain will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice...

I'm watching Fox News this morning (at the gym) and who do I see but John McCain criticizing the stimulus package being focused on the future instead of jobs right now. American people to John McCain: If we wanted what you are selling, we would have bought it...

Next up after McCain was Steve Forbes, who derided such stimulus features as funds to update facilities at the Center for Disease Control and National Park and Forest trail maintenance as handouts for redecoration. He then advocated cutting the payroll tax, which strikes me as handout that would also Social Security and Medicare. When you think about, the Republican mantra of cutting taxes no matter what amounts to a dole. And exactly what does cutting taxes do for people who are out of work?...

Then there's the fact that the Obama recovery plan includes a tax cut, just not for Steve Forbes. Incidentally, the strategy of a middle class tax cut during a bad economy is class Keynesian economics. Agree with it or not, a tax cut pours money into the economy by giving it to the people most likely to spend it. Anyway, the middle class has borne a disproportionate share of the tax burden since the days of Ronald Reagan...

Obama performed a neat feat of political jujitsu when he took responsibility for not knowing about Tom Daschle's tax problem. Independent voters especially detested Bush's unwillingness to admit to error...

Luckily, I left the gym before Fox brought Karl Rove on to discuss his idea of a stimulus package. One can only imagine...

Of all places, the Vatican accuses Obama of "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right." This from the religion that requires its one billion members to accept the doctrine of papal infallibility...

Brother rgg provides a song-by-song breakdown of Bruce Springsteen's new album, Working On A Dream: "I’ve listened to it about ten times. I don’t hate it, but I certainly don’t love it, either. There’s nothing memorable here and it fails as a “pop” album if that was the intent. Let’s call it Human Touch 2." [Citizen K.: Uh oh...]

Outlaw Pete – There’s probably a good song in there somewhere, but at over eight minutes, this isn’t it. 

My Lucky Day – I like this one.

Working On A Dream – There are 34 lines in this song and the phrase “I’m working on a dream” is used 19 times, including 16 times as a single line. I guess that’s why it gets stuck in my head.

Queen Of The Supermarket – Utterly forgettable and the f-bomb at the end is just a cry for attention. You’re better than that, Bruce. [Citizen K.: Why drop the f-bomb in this particular song, out of all the songs he's written? If he didn't need it on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, or The Ghost of Tom Joad, he sure doesn't need it here.]

What Love Can Do – He wants to show you what love can do so bad he uses that phrase 14 times. You know the end of “Backstreets”, where he’s crying “hiding on the backstreets” over and over again? This is nothing like that.

This Life – There seems to be a lot of sky, star, and sun imagery on this record and it’s more prevalent here than anywhere else. Carl Sagan could have written this one. Is that the Cowsills singing back-up at the end?

Good Eye – Sounds okay to my good ear, bullet mike and all. I hate to keep harping on lyrical content, but this song is only nine lines long, three lines each to three verses. One line is used in all three verses and the other two lines of each verse are repeated. That means there are four lines to this song. [Citizen K: Just to show it can be done, go here for a great four-line song.]

Tomorrow Never Knows – I like this one, so I’m not saying anything bad about it. [Citizen K.: The lyrics occupy the very interesting space between Born to Run and Darkness.]

Life Itself – Could have been on The Rising. The potential for a great guitar solo is killed by O’Brien’s production (there's a surprise). [Citizen K.: Banal lyrics kill a good sentiment. "The flowers of temptation"?]

Kingdom Of Days – This is his kingdom of days, apparently. Meh.

Surprise, Surprise – You know how Gomer Pyle used to say “Surprise, surprise, surprise”? That’s more entertaining than this. Yes, I hear The Byrds influence, but I also hear Up With People. The worst thing is, it’s an earworm – once it’s in your head it won’t go away. Ever.

“And when the sun comes out tomorrow, it’ll be the start of a new day”. Thanks for clearing that up for us, Bruce.

The Last Carnival – a nice tribute to Danny Federici, but it sounds out-of-place on this record. [Citizen K.: IMHO, the best cut on Magic was "Terry's Song," the tribute to Boss friend and associate Terry McGovern. Guess who didn't produce it?]

The Wrestler – It’s a good song, obviously a bonus track not related to anything else here.

[Citizen K.: Here's the dream I wish that Bruce would work on, starting with cutting outthe overproduced crapola. Then, go to his home studio with Steve Van Zandt and a hand-picked bassist and drummer. Lay down 12-14 tracks - including 3-4 carefully chosen covers - and record them all in 1-2 takes, being sure to feature some guitar duels between Bruce and Little Steven. Release the results from his website, iTunes, and Amazon. Drag out the release 2-3 songs at a time, if that feels right. In other words, do something that is artistically and commercially serious, interesting, and creative, and that stems from the primal pulse of rock.]

Krewe du Vieux leads the first Carnival parade of 2007 though The Marigny and the French Quarter:


John Hayes said...

The Republican Party has banked for a long time that people hear "tax cut" & think "that's good for me," not that's only good for the fat cats. Why this has continued to work for the GOP for so long is a good question.

Have you followed the Bishop Richard Williamson (speaking of "papal infallibility," tho strictly speaking that wouldn't apply here)? Something about specks & motes....

Renegade Eye said...

Reaganites as opposed to Keynesians, used interest rate percent to control the economy. Once interest rates went to 0% last December, they were out of the game. They have no tools left.

I visit rightist blogs. They don't pretend to have any solution anymore.

OT: After you see Pilobulos, you want to explain what they are like to others. That's not an easy job.

I've gone to dance concerts for decades.

K. said...

I check a couple of right-wing blogs, too. There's a lot of anger. On the surface, it's aimed at Obama and McCain, but I think the true frustration runs deeper. For some, it's that the neocon free market ideology exposed itself as a sham.

To the social conservatives, it's that in the last election, their fellow Americans put the economy ahead of abortion, gay rights, etc. My guess is that there's also anger at the neocons for failing so dismally and thus allowing Godless liberals to take charge of the country.

I'll write more in a full-length entry, but I foresee a intraparty civil war -- a real bloodletting that pits social conservatives against ideological conservatives.

Scrumpy's Baker said...

I'm going with the dumbed-down comment of "You watched Fox news and didn't suffer from internal combustion?"

Have a good weekend!

K. said...

Scrump: It's true that I'm taking a terrible risk. But it's the only TV set within viewing range that has closed caption. If Fox was your sole source of news, you'd think that the Republican party was a powerful opposition political force to which Obama was forced to capitulate again and again.