Book Notes - Susan Rieger "The Heirs" - In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book. Previous contributors incl...
17 hours ago
Did the great flood of words unleashed in the 40 days and 40 nights since the passing of the King of Pop offer new insight into this legend, this plastic surgery disaster, this voice of a generation, this drug-addled man-child? Or was the eulogizing without point or purpose, a rehash of the same stale gossip and well-known stories just to fill airtime and column inches?
Michael Jackson, dead at 50, demands a new vocabulary. If Greil Marcus can make Bob Dylan the standard-bearer of American myth in "Invisible Republic" and Nick Tosches can make Jerry Lee Lewis a Gothic antihero in his unforgettable "Hellfire," the rock bio can transcend mere reportage. What writer will now sit down, set aside armchair psychobabble and offer up a real Michael Jackson? Certainly not J. Randy Taraborrelli, who offers this quickly updated version of his 1991 biography as a stand-in for a fresh look at one of the 20th century's greatest entertainers. (The book was updated in 2003 and again in 2004.)
A young R&B fanatic who blossomed into a serial celebrity biographer, Taraborrelli met MJ in 1970 when the Jackson 5 was still brushing the dust of Gary, Ind., from the lapels of its matching "lime green vest suits." "The Magic, the Madness, the Whole Story" takes us through the ABCs of Jackson's life that, after last month's orgy of remembrance, are as familiar as "1-2-3": abuse at the hands of a domineering father; fame and fortune at age 10; first rhinoplasty; "Off the Wall"; second rhinoplasty; "Thriller"; Bubbles the chimp; Brooke Shields and Emmanuel Lewis; rumors of homosexuality; "Bad"; Neverland; Lisa Marie; Debbie Rowe; Prince Michael I; rumors of pedophilia; dwindling record sales; arrest for pedophilia; and fatal slide into prescription drug addiction and general quadrillionaire weirdness including, but not limited to, wearing surgical masks in public and consenting to eighth months of interviews with British journalist Martin Bashir.
Taraborrelli plays Virgil on the Gloved One's Dantean descent, armed with an enthusiasm for all things Jackson but ill-served by clunky prose. "It is obviously a tragic turn of events if Michael Jackson is being targeted with untrue allegations of child-molestation," he writes in the present tense about the world's most famous dead man. If a publisher slaps 20 pages on to the end of an 18-year-old book and rushes out an "updated edition" less than six weeks after its subject expires, can't a reader expect . . . well . . . the edition to be updated? Still, one can fault Taraborrelli's prose and his publisher's motives, but not his access. As trusted by the mercurial Jackson clan as a reporter can be, the author covered the family from the Nixon to the George W. Bush administrations, documenting every startling triumph and tawdry personal misstep.
Taraborrelli relies on lesser, often unnamed players -- music producers, Neverland employees and older brother Jermaine -- to dish dirt, but his own innumerable interviews with Motown's first family lend "Magic" credibility. "I clearly remember the day I wrote 'Michael Jackson Turns 21,' " Taraborrelli boasts. "Then, there was 'Michael Jackson Turns 25' . . . 'Michael Jackson Turns 30.' " If this is hubris, at least it offers relief from watching every reporter who'd ever talked to someone who'd heard of someone who'd interviewed Michael Jackson jockey for five minutes on CNN. But what good is access to an icon if that icon brazenly manipulates the media, and what good are exclusive interviews that provide no real insight?
Jackson's otherworldly sexual energy, more than his singing, dancing and songwriting, propelled him to stardom. Fairly or unfairly, what went on under the sheets he shared with pre-adolescent pals overshadows the cultural touchstones of "Motown 25" and "Beat It." If a four-decade media frenzy and a Santa Barbara district attorney can't tell us why Jackson toyed with gender and slept with young boys, can we really know anything about him? Competent reporting at the borders of this mystery isn't enough -- Taraborrelli needs a scoop, a thesis or some hook to hang his narrative on.
Anything less is a failure of imagination, and imagination is exactly what this slightly updated biography lacks. Jackson "never seems able to connect the dots of unfolding misery back to his own impulsive actions and questionable judgment," Taraborrelli realizes -- too late to turn it into a theme. By the time the author enters Neverland after Jackson's death to stare into the "Man in the Mirror's" mirror and find only himself -- a mawkish attempt to understand "poor Michael Jackson" -- it's hard to care what lesson he's supposed to be learning.
Don DeLillo looked at the Kennedy assassination and gave us "Libra," a nuanced masterpiece that shunned mere protagonists and antagonists to portray conspiracy as incompetence; Curtis Sittenfeld looked at Laura Bush and gave us "American Wife," an unexpectedly gentle depiction of a flawed woman married to a flawed man who had history thrust upon him. These are fictions, but maybe fiction is what the oft-told, unbelievable, unforgettable story of Michael Jackson demands. On his own, he remains shrouded, moonwalking in silhouette.
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz musician, and is known as an author and activist who has denounced both Zionism and Judaism. His album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003, and he has been described as "one of London's finest saxophonists". His albums often explore political themes and the music of the Middle East. He has also written two novels, which have been translated into over 20 languages.
Apparently, the LA three-piece are a moonlighting Serious Alt Rock Band who use aliases because they're reluctant to reveal their true identities and want to project the idea of a fantasy pop concept, which suggests we're in camp, trash-aesthetic territory here. But it doesn't really matter, because they do what they do so well, so convincingly.
DeMent's songs are typically simple, clearly told stories about life's pains and joys. In 1995, her song "Our Town" was played in the closing moments of the last episode for the popular CBS TV series Northern Exposure, gaining DeMent more fans.
Spoon emerged as one of the great bands of the '00s because it strictly adhered to one of rock's most overlooked principles: The notes you don't play are as important as the ones you do play. Britt Daniel's songs are taut masterpieces of efficiency. The approach even trickles down to his vocals. Why sing an entire line when a simple "Woo!" suffices?
Imelda May is to rockabilly what Amy Winehouse has been to soul; she's young, fresh and poignant. She's single handedly taken a niche music genre and placed it on the commercial map. In addition, Imelda does not appear to be taking any prisoners. You could hate Cadillacs and despise Elvis and still fall in love with this girl.
Amidst a sea of MJ insta-books, we believe MICHAEL will be the deepest, most authoritative, and most collectable book on the life and music of Michael Jackson. Including Rolling Stone′s unparalleled, in-depth reporting on Jackson that spans almost three decades, MICHAEL features Alan Light′s interview with Quincy Jones on the making of Thriller, Gerri Hirshey′s one of a kind look into the world of Jackson from 1983, as well as never before published features including a newly reported piece on what went wrong, and a piece on how MJ learned to move, featuring interviews with the break dancers and choreographers that influenced Jackson. The book also includes more detailed reported stories about the making of Bad, Dangerous and the last albums.
Jackson and her collaborator Ben Langmaid – fans of Heaven 17, Vince Clarke-era Depeche Mode and Blancmange – go for the full Sealed Knot approach, to the extent that when you hear something that dates to a point after 1983, it gives you a jolt.
You might recognise Victoria Bergsman's distinctive voice from Peter Bjorn And John's Young Folks. East Of Eden is her second solo album under the guise of Taken By Trees. Apparently recorded in Pakistan with local musicians contributing to the album, the whole record has a real, well, eastern feel. With chanting, rhythmic drums and eerie flutes cleverly weaved into it, Victoria Bergsman's other-worldly, breathy vocals suit this sound perfectly......
But she managed to create an album of often surpassing beauty, delivering songs of love and loss such as "Watch the Waves" and "To Lose Someone"
A charmingly rustic debut that suggests greater things might still be to comeGuardian
there's no single "Wow!" moment. Still, it's a promising start, and once Marcus Mumford develops the storytelling skills of US counterparts such as the Low Anthem, there will surely be better to come.
...Like industrial music, Waiting For You occupies a dystopian, postindustrial environment; like the Bug’s material, the album is heavy on dub and deep bass. The beats are buried under thick sheets of eerie haze, and even the up-tempo, almost perky cuts (like the dancehall-tinged “Outer Space”) are imbued with a haunted sense of dread. Robinson’s half-whispered, singsong falsetto augments that spectral feel, and sometimes seems to be summoning an oracle of doom. (When, close in on the mike, he intones lines like “The earth will kill you if you try to kill it,” it doesn’t seem like he’s being metaphorical.) This is heady, powerful stuff—just don’t expect to hear it at your next visit to Aéropostale.—Bruce Tantum
For more than 40 years, the Rolling Stones have proved themselves as one of history’s greatest rock bands. This nostalgic anthology takes a pictorial journey back to the roots of the group’s rock stardom and captures a long-lost age of music industry innocence. Featuring an extensive selection of extremely rare photographs—most never previously published—this is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the band during the 1960s. Selections, including the very first studio photos taken for Mirabelle magazine and pictures of Mick jumping on a piano at the Isle of Man anniversary show in 1965, are accompanied by interviews with many of the photographers. A DVD featuring found footage of the band completes this intimate look at the Stones in action.
The Drums are a new US band who take the basic Brian Wilson template, mix it with Shangri La's style angst perfect pop, Jonathan Richman daftness and then add Orange Juice, the Smiths and New Order to produce a fascinating mix of styles and a joyous confection. If this band from Florida and more latterly the uber hot spot of Brooklyn split up tomorrow they can take pride in unleashing this mini classic which eludes so many bands. If you like Muse and all that bombastic pompous guff of 15 minute "prog epics" that make Rush sound like a bundle of laughs stay well clear since the sheer melodies and joy de vivre on this album will probably send you spiralling to accident and emergency.So fun then!
Jonah Rocks System of a Down, Toxicity. Jonah Loves playing SOAD! Enjoy!
Jonah only uses:
Vic Firth Drumsticks
SJC Custom Drums
DW Pedals, Stands, and Hardware
Stoked Custom Thrones
ALL COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IS USED UNDER THE GUIDELINES OF "FAIR USE" IN TITLE 17 & 107 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE, AND UNDER ARTICLES 29 & 29.1 OF THE CANADIAN COPYRIGHT ACT. SUCH MATERIAL REMAINS THE PROPERTY OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER OF THE COPYRIGHT, AND IS USED HERE FOR THE PURPOSES OF EDUCATION, COMPARISON, AND CRITICISM ONLY.