Ohhh such a classic:

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There are two ways of looking at your favorite band’s new album. Both will achieve different results. You can look at it as your favorite band’s new album, or you can look at it as a standalone piece of work. The later is more fair to the band than the former. But the former is more likely going to happen even if you don’t want it to.

Case and point:
Grant Lee Buffalo vs. Grant-Lee Phillips

Grant Lee Buffalo had a brilliant run, releasing masterpiece after masterpiece. Even the disputed Jubilee is, in comparison to anything that was out at the time, a work of musical genius. After GLB split, Grant-Lee Phillips went off to do his own thing. He recorded a couple albums (Ladies Love Oracle, and Mobilize) by his lonesome, not a single nuance of these critically acclaimed albums came from anyone but Grant-Lee Phillips. After Mobilize, he released Virginia Creeper, Nineteeneightees, and most recently Strangelet.

Now, I’m an active member on the Grant-Lee Phillips forum, and I see alot of people complaining about how his new albums don’t measure up to the expectations of the previous. I tend to agree to some extent. However is it fair to compare the modern works of a musician to their previous works?

A sidenote on a related topic, a virtually unknown video of one of the oldest GLB tunes was uploaded to youtube. Its very valid today, take a look!

Grant Lee Buffalo – America Snoring

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My mind turns to the likes of Ghostbusters II. I think of Vigo, and what he must be going through in that painting while watching that guy from Ally McBeal run around the museum running the show, knowing that he is but a painting. You know I cry myself to sleep at night, knowing that I’m just the Psychobabble voice. Hah! I imagine you understand how Vigo feels.

Its VIGO!!

Its VIGO!!

What brings this up? I’ll tell you. An album I’ve not visited for a while is back on my Rhapsody player. Which one? Oh, I’ll tell you. It encompasses the anger of the generation it represents, all wound up into a super-tight coil of springloaded belligerence. One of its kind in style and antagonistic grace.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance has this nice little song called Dead! That when it first came out struck me as really mean and rotten. But soon I remembered that not all music has to be nice and polite.  I’m sure Insane Clown Posse would be where they are today had they called themselves the Misunderstood Clown Posse.

The Black Parade always struck me as one of the most edgy albums of the year, and even the decade. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next.  I heard they all mellowed out and are in the process of making an acoustic album about forgiveness and hugs. I actually don’t know what to say to that… You’re a rumor monger.

In no particular order and for no particular reasons other than they are great albums:

  • Grant Lee Buffalo – Mighty Joe Moon
  • Jeff Buckley – Grace
  • Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • Ether Aura – Before We Could Sing
  • The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin
  • Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball

Theres alot of talk floating around on the net about a Led Zeppelin 2009 Tour. There is also alot of talk about Robert Plant opting out, and then back in, and then out again. There is talk regarding auditions for a new lead singer and —  Hey! uhm, hi whats up? One question? Sure, I guess. What is it? Where can I go to audition for Led Zeppelin! before Robert Plant gets back on board? I’m not even sure if the news is real or not. You don’t even sing. Thats ok, I will sing if I can be part of Led Zeppelin! I mean. c’mon, its Led Zeppelin!, ya know?

I see your point, it would appear that the group has any of the trillions of loyal Zeppelin fans to choose from. But would it be the same? You remember the bitter division of the fans when David Lee Roth was replaced. That is a great point, replacing Robert Plant in a Led Zeppelin! reunion tour would effectively divide those who idolized Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. And don’t forget John Bonham and John Paul Jones. I’m sure that John Bonham would love the exclusion of Robert Plant. At least they replaced him with someone who sorta has a birthright.

Anyhow, this is what John Paul Jones had to say:

“I’m afraid, there’s no final answer yet. As you probably know, Jimmy, Jason and I are actually rehearsing and we’ve had the odd singer come in and have a bash. As soon as we know — which we don’t — we will let you know. But we really hope that something is going to happen soon because we really want to do it and we’re having a lot of fun, actually, just rehearsing. Jason is actually tremendous… We really wanna do something and Robert doesn’t want to do this, at least for the moment. I don’t really know what his plans are. He really doesn’t want to make loud music anymore. We do. I mean, I love acoustic music, but it doesn’t stop me from turning something up… And what we’ve done so far sounds absolutely fantastic. When it does come, it will come, and you’ll know about it”

So what it sounds like to me, is Robert Plant likes the direction his recent work, like Dreamland and The Mighty Rearranger, is going and doesn’t want to go back to the past to the loud sounds of Led Zeppelin. I understand and respect his point of view. I still want to audition. I think you would need a few more qualifications than “gimmic of some unknown blogger for two days”.  Hahaha, you’re the unknown blogger!

What happened to the protest song? When did we stop caring? Why is Green Day and Bloc Party the only ones writing songs with any social awareness? I know… I know there has to be others out there that are writing good protest song and just haven’t come to mind. Yes, don’t forget The Flaming Lips. RIGHT! This is a great example of what I was getting to. The Flips understand that not every anti-war song has to be angry.  I don’t think the Flips could come up with an angry song if they tried, they are jubilant by nature.

Ok, this is for everyone who reads this.  That is laughable shh… This is for everyone who reads this… If you know of any protest songs, post a comment, I want to check them out. Hell, even if its a local group, or even your own. Tell me about your music! I want to hear it! If I like it I’ll give you a review!