Monday, October 23, 2006

Musical Monday, instrumental edition

At work, it's been King Hell Week since early September. When that happens I usually turn to the instrumentals: jazz, film scores, collections of pop and swing and none-of-the-above. I work pretty quickly without lyrics to concentrate over.

Cullen and I swapped large instrumental mixes a while back. I was pleased that we shared just enough similar taste to serve as a launching pad for the other stuff neither of us had heard of the other's collection. Good times. I've also been scouring for a couple of the cds he used, since Windows Media actually will tell you the album if it recognizes the song.

This means that you also get the "All Music Guide" review of said album (if there is one) and it's always fun to see which of your favorite albums only got 2 stars and a condescending smackdown - or which ones got the famed "No further information is available for this selection." It also means you get inane screeds such as one Dave Thompson's review for Shadows are Go!
The Shadows enjoyed 20 British hits between 1960 and 1965, and this is their first American compilation.

Considering the vast amount of vinyl-to-CD and tape-to-DVD work yet to do, this may not be as shocking as Mr. Thompson thinks it is.
So we probably don't even want to wonder what that says for the Great American Record-Buying Public,

We're too busy wondering what all those capital letters mean. "...great American record-buying public" is just as easy to understand, but doesn't make us clinch up inside in anticipation of what foolish thing you are about to write.
...smug, snug, and secure behind their piles of Ventures vinyl and sorry surf compilations, blissfully unaware that, a mere ocean away, entire generations were shaking to the Shads.

Hoo-boy. How about we go ahead and wonder what this says, in spite of it all. Maybe it says that this is the first American compilation of the Shadows, and as a result all this "smug ignorance" is somewhat understandable for those of us who were born after 1960. Maybe it says that there's a huge market for this now that surf is coming back. Maybe it says that you know jack about the American record-buying public (great or otherwise), and they had plenty of Shadows 45s in a separate stack. I lean toward that last, since you're slagging surf compilations in the same review in which you praise the Shadows' music.
You know the songs, of course...

WHAT?!? I thought we were smug, and cowering behind the mighty shielding power of "Hawaii Five-O" and "Walk, Don't Run"?
...These melodies are scored into your brainpan regardless of whether you know, or even care, that the Shadows used to be Cliff Richards backing band.... yada yada infulenced Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.... blah blah you ignorant yobbo.

OK, I made up the ignorant yobbo bit. You'll have to grant me that it isn't much of an exaggeration.
...and with a cutoff date of 1966, there's not a vocal cord in sight.

In 1967, the band had clear skin installed so you could see their vocal cords. Pretty much finished them as a charting band.
...its 23 tracks take your senses by storm, easy listening burned through with a vitality that makes a mockery of the unhip reputation the band (like their boss man) acquired après Beatles.

Besides naming many of the tracks - completely unnecessary, since there's a complete track listing before the review starts - this is the only time the reviewer even attempts to describe what kind of music this is, except that it's not surf or the Ventures, despite being compared to both right off the go. That's extremely lame. I like the "après," though. Classy. Let's skip to the end.
The fact is, this band was kicking butt while you were still saying 'bottom,' and this isn't a retrospective after all. It's a manifesto.

Since the latest recording is forty years old, sport, yes it is a retrospective. I mean, say what you want about Paul McCartney (Heather certainly is), but he's still writing new music après Beatles. (Classy!) The manifesto part is all yours, and like most writing in that genre, it sucks out loud. It is, however, superior in one fashion - it's short, so I can make fun of it more easily. For example, you wrote 'butt,' not 'ass,' and then insulted your readers for only saying 'bottom.' That's funny. You're as edgy as a Play-Doh knife and you know it.

And quit telling everyone how inferior they are that they only just now got around to buying music they enjoy. You aren't better than anyone else because you discovered a band earlier than other people. It's nauseating to listen to blithe gibberish pass itself off as important writing, and worse when the writer is only writing to give himself airs - to the point of openly snubbing the readers who are his only reason for writing. If you didn't actually sign the Shadows to their label and sit in the producer's chair, you don't really have a point to being such a snot, do you?

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