Posts Tagged ‘Paul McCartney’

Greetings, Honorable Ones! It’s Christmas, so naturally I’m thinking about Pearl Jam. They have a new album, Lightning Bolt. Do I have to listen to more of their repetitious, snoozy arena rock? I haven’t liked a Pearl Jam album since their debut, Ten, and that was in 1991, before we had phones implanted in our heads. Why did they call their first album Ten? There are 11 songs on it. Why not 1 or First or We Wrote 11 Songs or Hey Hey We’re Pearl Jam? Ten has “Jeremy,” “Even Flow,” “Black,” and “Deep,” and that about does it for me. Aren’t they just AC/DC, except that they’ve read some books since leaving high school?

But it’s Christmas, and I don’t want to be visited by creepy ghosts, so let’s be positive here, OK? What is it with you people? Stand up right now, face in the direction of Seattle, and bow because Pearl Jam is the only band that ever went head-to-head with Ticketmaster over that company’s greedy service fees. The good guys lost, but they fought the law.

While I’m on the topic of Christmas, it’s equally natural that my thoughts would turn to Lady Gaga, who also has a new release, Artpop. Lady Gaga’s third album has been lauded for being “autobiographical” and “mature.” Stefani Germanotta is only 27 – how much autobiography does she have? As for the maturity of these songs, she started in a hole. She has a long way to go before she writes anything of interest to adults.

Artpop comes nowhere near the dance-floor success of The Fame Monster or Born This Way. The best songs on Artpop, “Applause” and “Gypsy,” are good, but they sound like refugees from Flashdance.

But it’s Christmas! Forget Artpop. I’ve been listening to “Born This Way” for two years now, and I have to say that this song is FN awesome. It’s the biggest pop anthem since “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” plus it’s easier to understand. (Both songs were wickedly parodied by Weird Al.) So wrap yourself in your feather boa to honor Lady Gaga’s achievement.

Did you know that it’s Christmas? It is, and that can only mean one thing: Boston! They have a new album, Life, Love & Hope. No no no no, I don’t care that it’s Christmas, I refuse to listen to anymore Boston. So how about instead: Paul McCartney!

McCartney has a new album. He calls it New. Come on, Macca, you could’ve done better there. On this release, Sir Paul imitates all the bands from the ’80s and ’90s who imitated him. Which is pretty much everyone. This exercise is pleasant, but on a handful of songs – “Queenie Eye,” “I Can Bet,” “Get Me Out of Here,” and especially “Hosanna” – he reminds me that this is Paul Fucking McCartney of the Major Fucking Leagues I’m listening to.

New was released in October, so it doesn’t qualify as holiday music, but this is the season for gratitude. Sir Paul is 71 and his voice is shot, but let’s give our Beatles bobbleheads a pat on their bobbly heads and be thankful that this man is still around to remind us that rock ’n’ roll is supposed to be fun, dammit.

I see by the calendar that it’s Christmas, and when it’s Christmas, who is never far behind? You’re right: Eminem! Et voilà: The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Poor little white rapper! Perpetually outraged that he’s gotten rich by making his life harder than it has to be. Yo, loyal readers around the world: If you can’t handle Eminem at Christmas, how about R. Kelly, who sets out his philosophy of life on the sensitively titled Black Panties. R. Kelly is a sex “Genius.” How do I know? Silly rabbit, he says so right in the song. Is “Genius” the kind of slow number where you hold your baby close and think of what you mean to each other? No.

Well, it turns out it’s the holidays, and because I don’t believe in making war on Christmas I give you: The Everly Brothers! Yes, though Don and Phil haven’t released any new material since 1989, they’re still just what the season calls for.

If you like The Everly Brothers, you’ll love the Everly Dad
I can’t claim I’m an Everlys fan. I like “I’m Not Angry,” “Burma Shave” (a rockabilly “Wipe Out”), and “Lord of the Manor,” their mid-’60s attempt at psychedelia. It was news to me that, in 1958, while riding the success of their 1957 debut (which featured “Wake Up Little Susie,” “I Wonder If I Care as Much,” and “Bye Bye Love”), the brothers returned to their roots and recorded Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.

The Everlys performed these songs with just their acoustic guitars and other-worldly voices. These are not songs I would play often; they’re Appalachian blues verging on gospel and country, in which the characters are bound for death or something close by. The one song I’m likely to replay is “Roving Gambler.” The first time I heard it, I felt I was listening to the birth of Springsteen’s Nebraska.

Meanwhile, here in 2013, we now have Foreverly, Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones’s loving tribute to Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. What attracted them to this set? The subject matter, surely; Armstrong is the son of Okies and Jones grew up in rural Texas. “These are songs about family,” Jones said in an interview. “Dead family.”

I haven’t much to say about Norah Jones, other than that she’s talented, sings beautifully, makes music too mild to interest me, and is pretty good in an interview.

Billie Joe Armstrong, I thought, was a typical singer in a punk band: a strong voice (a nasal voice), limited range, often resorts to shouting. I wasn’t into him or Green Day until they released their rock opera, American Idiot (2004), which is now a musical. (Those last five words are the most unreal words I’ve ever written.) I admit I’m a sucker for a rock opera. I still remember how excited I was after reading about Tommy in Rolling Stone. I remember bringing the LP home. I remember my Dad threatening to punch multiple big holes in it.

Tommy didn’t disappoint me and neither did American Idiot, though both suffer power failures in the middle. The highlight of American Idiot, for me, is “Jesus of Suburbia.” Green Day spends the first half of the song pretending to be a punk version of the ’50s, a punk version of Queen, and then they briefly do something horrible to Deep Purple. Starting at the 6:30 mark (this song is 9 minutes long) they swing into the tune from “Ring of Fire,” with their own words –

To live
and not to breathe
is to die
in tragedy
To run,
to run away,
to fight
what you believe

– and with a nod to “My Way” and a hint of Ravel’s Bolero, topped off with a guitar lick they stole from Yes. Jesus! Why don’t I ever hear this at Christmas instead of all the stupid Christmas songs written by Jews like me?

On Foreverly, this odd pairing of punker and crooner is dynamite on a china plate. Unlike the Everlys on Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, Armstrong and Jones bring a band to the studio. This gives the songs hope to go with their innate despair. (Some of the songs, anyway.) Their version of “Kentucky” is haunting, but now also with a touch of calypso, or maybe Los Lobos in their quieter moments. They turn “Oh So Many Years” into a hoedown, “I’m Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail” into a funeral march (OK, that’s not hopeful), and “Barbara Allen” into a track from Songs of the Civil War or a Camper Van Beethoven outtake.

There’s a lot of heartache in the love affair in “Roving Gambler,” a song that may be unique in having three points of view, the gambler, the mother, and her daughter:

Mother, oh dear mother, I’ll tell you if I can
If you ever see me comin’ back, I’ll be with the gambling man.
Be with the gambling man.
Be with the gambling man.

But in their performance, Armstrong and Jones give it an unexpected buoyancy. You finish the song thinking, sure, the gambler is goin’ down to George to gamble his last game, but maybe this will work out!

“Rockin’ Alone (in An Old Rockin’ Chair)” is a manipulative tear-jerker no matter how you slice it (“It wouldn’t take much to gladden her heart/just some small remembrance on somebody’s part”), and “Long Time Gone” and “Lightning Express” are way too country, but overall I rate Foreverly as a Buy – but ONLY if you also buy Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Happy holidays, Don and Phil, and I hope you liked this gift from Billie Joe and Norah.

As for me, I’m still waiting to hear “Santa Claus and His Old Lady” on the radio, plus I suspect that R. Kelly is bluffing. I think I might give Norah Jones another try. Why not? I hear it’s Christmas.

RIP: Lou Reed, who I hope is taking one long walk on the wild side.

Postscript, 3 Jan 2014: RIP Phil Everly. Bye bye love.


Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. (Colette)

When I was a pre-bar mitzvah sprout in Hebrew school, I was at the mercy of a teacher who came from the Old World with some old skool Old World characteristics, including teeth and fingernails yellow from chain-smoking and a tendency in any academic situation to fall back on his main teaching tool: violence.

I’m not going to tell you this man’s name, or the nickname we children gave him, or the songs we sang about him, because I don’t want his descendants to track me down and torture me the way he did. And anyway, maybe he behaved so badly because he had survived the Holocaust and journeyed to America and in his declining years ended up marooned in our declining, uninteresting city, teaching Hebrew to a bunch of youthful dumbshits. Whatever his motivations, when he called one of us up to the front of the class to recite and we couldn’t deliver, he always screamed, “Go back to your seat and study!!!”

This evening at the end of my Write-a-thon hour I wanted to send myself back to my seat to study. What I wrote was definitely not worth reciting at the front of a classroom or anywhere else. There’s a character I have yet to understand, and my subconscious writer brain refuses to let him walk through these pages as valiant, virtuous, and virtually flawless. Unlike my former Hebrew school teacher, who is long gone, I can figure out what makes this guy tick and why anyone should care.

Maybe that was my old teacher’s real problem. He cared too much.

The 10-year-old inside me just ducked and covered.

Random Pick of the Day
Three Dog Night, Cyan (1973)
Loyal Reader Accused of Lurking has pointed out my math error. Before I so blithely skipped to the Dave Clark Five, I should’ve stopped at Three Dog Night! I also skipped 4 Non Blondes. I’m rectifying the first error tonight.

I find Three Dog Night interesting because almost everything they sang was written by someone else. The original was practically unrecognizable after 3DN finished rearranging it. Look at their first record, Three Dog Night (1969). The composers on this disc include Tim Hardin, Stevie Winwood, Harry Nilsson, Lennon & McCartney, Randy Newman, Neil Young, and Johnnie “Guitar” Watson. Their second album, Suitable for Framing (also 1969), adds Laura Nyro, Dave Mason, Sam Cooke, and Elton John. I wish 3DN had lasted as far as 1980 because I would’ve loved to have heard what they did with songs by, for example, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Joan Armatrading, and Michael Jackson.

Other than the fact that I flee from any room where “Black & White” or “Joy to the World” is playing (the latter being the “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” song, which Hoyt Axton wrote to showcase the melody – the lyrics were a nonsensical placeholder), I’m OK with this band. They fit well on a road trip in-between the harder stuff. My favorite 3DN songs are “One” (Nilsson), “Eli’s Coming” (Nyro), “Easy to Be Hard” (the team that wrote Hair), and “Liar” (Russ Ballard). Except for “Easy to Be Hard,” these treatments are tougher than usual for them. They’re all from the first two albums.

Cyan (which includes the hit “Shambala”) is not 3DN’s best album (that would be their debut), but it’s their closest to the blue-eyed soul of Rare Earth. There’s also a gospel flavor to some of these tracks. (“Celebrate,” from Suitable for Framing, could easily have appeared on a Rare Earth album exactly as it is.)

For a few years back there in our rearview mirror, Three Dog Night was more powerful than the Van Allen radiation belt. According to Google, they ran up a string of 21 hit singles from 1969 through 1975. I’d rather revisit their music than that of their contemporaries Grand Funk Railroad, a band that rocks very hard for very little reason.

Questions are flooding in! If this deluge continues, I might have to outsource the answers to India. If you have a question and you’re not too picky about an answer, leave it in the comments. From there on, it’s clobberin’ time. 

Dear Run-DMSteve,
Here is a question that I have often pondered. Everyone goes on and on about how brilliant John Lennon was and how thought-provoking and brilliant his solo music was. Has it ever occurred to others that John wouldn’t have been so “out there” if it hadn’t been for his partner in life and crime, Yoko Ono. It’s so interesting that people are quick to joke that Mark David Chapman would have been a hero if he had aimed a little more to the left and shot Yoko, but I truly believe it is because of Yoko that John became the critical darling he was so admired for. Your thoughts?
– Orin

Dear Orin,
John had two partners in life and crime, Paul and Yoko. John and Paul came of age together, worked together, and together achieved results they never would’ve seen on their own. After they became adults, they needed to get away from each other. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been together for 50 years, but they should’ve divorced 30 years ago. John and Paul had the sense to go their separate ways while they were still on top.

John found a new muse in Yoko, and so we have Imagine, Some Time in New York City, and Mind Games. Double Fantasy bored me, but by then John was supremely happy with Yoko, and I can’t knock happiness.

Yoko never had a fair chance. She faced a public relations attack from the first day her name was linked with John’s. Even today, when the clue in the crossword puzzle is “Lennon’s love,” I laugh to myself as I write in “Ono.” Why do we laugh at her? What was her crime? The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the only thing she was guilty of was not being Caucasian.

(John had another girlfriend, May Pang, while he and Yoko were estranged, but I can’t say what influence she had on his work.)

Four things I always remember: Where I was and what I was doing the day Ruby killed Oswald, the day Nixon left office, the night Chapman killed Lennon, the afternoon Challenger exploded. Just to lighten the mood here: When Nixon walked out of the White House for the last time, my Grandma Bella, who was in her 70s and glued to her TV, cried because “they’re throwing the poor man out of his house and he has a wife and two children to feed.”

Keep watching the wheels go round and round, Orin.
– Run-DMSteve

Dear Mr. Run-DMSteve/AKA mrlonelyhearts,
Since you asked, I will lay just a very few of the multitude of burning questions which I’ve been carrying around for far too long on you:

Am I the walrus?
How can heroin be “my wife” and “my life”?
How can I live a normal life if I only have eyes for you?
How can Mick get satisfaction?
How can Rhonda help ME?
If it’s my life…what am I doing here?
Is this love or confusion?
What happened to the “Eve of Destruction”? Did the “Dawn of Correction” cancel it out?
What IS new pussycat?
Who did put the bop in the bop shoo bop?
Who did write the Book of Love?
Why can’t you roller skate in a buffalo herd?
Why do fools fall in love?
Why do you keep me hanging on?
Why does no one call me Mellow Yellow?
Why must I be a teenager in love (even at age 60)??
Why won’t my boomerang come back?
Why’s everybody always putting me down?

Your sage answer(s) will be appreciated.
– Mr. Jones

Dear Mr. Jones,
Your questions require answers from sagier pundits than Run-DMSteve. Have you considered Dan Savage, Dear Prudie, or Rick Santorum?

Alas, all I can do is add more questions to your burning multitude:

If I relax too much, won’t I slip out?
If she blinded you with science, did she deafen you with metal shop?
If you put a ring on it, do you buy it from the Shane Company or Good Vibrations?
That’s the way? That’s what way?
Who let the dogs out?
Who’s next?
Why haven’t you found what you’re looking for? You’ve been looking for it since 1987!
You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?
You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?

Thank you for the most excellent laugh, and good luck on your lifelong quest for enlightenment, you love-struck teenager!

(PS: Speak up. Tommy can’t hear you.)

I believe my music is the healin’ music. I believe my music can make the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf and dumb hear and talk, because it inspires and uplifts people. It regenerates the heart, makes the liver quiver, the bladder splatter, and the knees freeze. I’m not conceited, either. (Little Richard)

’70s Week at Run-DMSteve concludes with some of my favorite songs of the decade. I’m not saying these are the best songs of the decade, and they’re not all of my favorites. I just stopped at 25. To keep things manageable, I limited myself to one song per artist (except in one instance), but to make them less manageable, I included some runners-up.

A few words about women, of whom my list has only one, Joan Armatrading, recording on her own. (I do have Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52s and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.)

There were plenty of remarkable women in rock in the ’70s. Minnie Ripperton could reach all of the known octaves and a few that she must’ve invented. But I can’t digest her music. Ditto Cher, Blondie, The Runaways, and Susie Quatro. I’ll see you in hell before I listen to Heart. If I added another 25 songs, I’d include Patti Smith (“So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star”), Donna Summer (“I Feel Love”), Joni Mitchell (tough one, but probably “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire”), and The Slits (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”). How I wish The Slits could’ve opened for Hole. I’ll try to field a more balanced squad during ’80s Week.

My heartfelt thanks to Brother Bob Lingard, who started me on this week’s theme when he kindly loaned me a CD with hundreds of songs from the ’70s and ’80s. Though listening to this collection often seemed like an endurance test, especially when I collided with Christopher Cross –

“I’m on the runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn/no time to sleep”

– Phil Collins, and the REO Styxjourneywagon dud machine, I learned a lot. I’d forgotten how much I like Roxy Music and Squeeze, how overrated REM is and how undeservedly obscure Steve Winwood is. Party on, Brother Bob!

Here’s the list:

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion”
It pains me to type “Aerosmith,” but at least they’re not Foghat.

Joan Armatrading, “Love and Affection”
This is the female “Bolero”!

The B-52s, “Rock Lobster”
How amazing that “Rock Lobster,” the greatest song ever recorded by anyone in any language on any planet, was produced in the same decade that gave us “Kung Fu Fighting” and “You’re Having My Baby.”

David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream”
My favorite Bowie album is Station to Station, but this is my favorite song.

The Clash, “Complete Control”
Runner-up: “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”

Elvis Costello, “You Belong to Me”
Could easily have gone with “Mystery Dance,” “Watching the Detectives,” or “This Year’s Model.”

The Dickies, “Nights in White Satin”
One of the best covers in the history of covers. You get every note of the original but all of them played five times as fast. The single was released in 1979 on white vinyl.

Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On” and “What’s Going On
If this had been ’60s Week, I would’ve picked “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Al Green, “Love and Happiness”
I can listen to this over and over. In fact, I have.

The Guess Who, “No Time”
What this song means is anybody’s guess. The live version, recorded in Seattle on the same stage where Special D and I saw The Roches and Guys and Dolls, rocks harder.

George Harrison, “Isn’t It a Pity”
Harrison’s talent seems so very different from Lennon’s and McCartney’s. George’s work floats on a slow-moving undercurrent of grief.

Isaac Hayes, “Theme From Shaft”
Shaft. Any questions?

Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”
The video of Jackson dancing to this song was the first thing I ever saw played back on a VCR.

K.C. & The Sunshine Band, “Get Down Tonight”
By your command!

Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir”
I’ve tried for years to dismiss Led Zeppelin as AC/DC with a library card, but songs like this rebuke me.

Paul McCartney, “Maybe I’m Amazed”
The best thing Sir Paul did on his own, and good enough to compare to his work with John.

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”
Thelma Houston’s version is more disco. I had to flip a coin to pick one.

Pink Floyd, “Fearless”
Dark Side of the Moon is my favorite Pink Floyd, but this is my favorite song. Always brings tears to my eyes.

Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side”
To save space, the term “Lou Reed” includes the term “The Velvet Underground.”

The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses”
If I hadn’t limited myself to one song apiece, The Stones would’ve dominated this list. For ’60s Week I would’ve picked “Street Fighting Man.”

Tom Rush, “Urge for Going”
Joni Mitchell wrote this one. Tom Rush is not in her league, except here. Not what you’d call a bouncy number.

Bruce Springsteen, “Backstreets”
One of the few times Bruce surpassed “Wild Billy’s Circus Story.”

Steely Dan, “Bodhisattva”
Steely Dan is not the most annoying band of the decade, though they’re right behind Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Bee-Gees in that department. “Bodhisattva,” however, is too ridiculous to resist. Plus it packs more swing than anything else in the Steely Dan catalog.

Talking Heads, “Heaven”
As I wrote here, I never appreciated this song until I heard them perform it during the Stop Making Sense concert tour.

Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”
Almost every one of his songs bursts with joy. Runner-up: “As.”

Your suggestions, comments, and suggestive comments are welcome. Thanks as always for reading. See you for ’80s Week!

Get Bach!
The Baronics

Nothing says “respectable,” “significant,” and “serious” like classical music. And nothing says “pretentious,” “turgid,” and “snorefest” like rock musicians taking classical out for a spin. Need convincing? Let’s examine the evidence:

Exhibit A: The radioactive remains of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” after Emerson, Lake & Palmer
blew it up real good.
Exhibit B: Just about everything else by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Exhibit C: Paul McCartney’s 1991 Liverpool Oratorio. Only Yoko liked it.
Exhibit D: Any doofus with an electric guitar who thought it would be cool to eviscerate Ravel’s Bolero.

I don’t know which band in rock’s distant past was the first to fall down this mine shaft, but I’ll bet it wasn’t Black Sabbath.

Can rock and classical ever make nice?
You betcha. The Canadians solved this problem in 1996/Les Canadiens dénouér ce problème dans 1996. In that year the Canadian surf quartet The Baronics released a selection of pop tunes from the Classical and Romantic eras, arranged for the reverberating surf guitar we older teenagers recall so fondly from “Walk Don’t Run” and “Wipe Out!”

The Baronics fearlessly tackled five of the baddest boys in the classical-music game, resulting in a totally whacked, straight-up sick party record. (Just kidding. Don’t play this thing at parties, after the first laugh subsides people won’t know what to do with themselves.) Here’s the set list, with some helpful notes on the composers for those Run-DMSteve readers who are still listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. And I know who you are.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Nearest contemporaries: Talking Heads
What Vivaldi would be doing today: Martha Stewart stunt double

Vivaldi is best known for The Four Seasons. When this experimental double LP of violin concertos was released in 1725, critics called it La Album Bianco. Concerto No. 1 in E Major, “Spring,” is the perfect introduction to the Baronical approach. “Spring” is not too fast, not too slow, and not too crowded; you can hear all the moving parts. You’ll enjoy the delicious solo in the middle and the steady Ringo-like drumming.

Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, “Summer,” showcases the band’s furious two-guitar attack. Actually, The Baronics’ two-guitar attack can best be described as “affable,” but compared to their usual work this track is furious.

Concerto No. 3 in F Major, “Autumn,” would fit right in at a luau on Kauai. It features two saxophone breaks, almost 20 seconds of pure Clarence Clemons/Born in the USA­-style playing. (Twenty seconds may not sound like a lot, but this piece isn’t even three minutes long. Antonio would’ve been amazed.)

As for Concerto No. 4 in F Minor, “Winter,” this is where you’ll learn to air-baton.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Nearest contemporaries: The Beatles
What Mozart would be doing today: Running Apple

Dave Brubeck has already given Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca a good jazzercizing, and of course The Beach Boys turned it into “Help Me, Rhonda.” This new version will keep your foot tapping, though the guitarists barely meet Mozart’s hectic pace and the drummer gets left several laps behind. Big finish, though. What we really needed here was a guest appearance by one of the master thrash-metal outfits. Megadeath would’ve done nicely, though I’m afraid if they had shown up for this session they would’ve killed and eaten The Baronics afterwards.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Nearest contemporaries: U2
What Bach would be doing today: Dividing the Lutheran Church

Bach, who couldn’t resist a practical joke, wrote his Inventions to torture his students. Kudos to The Baronics for choosing the trickiest Inventions, 1 and 13, bypassing the sissy-pants 2 through 12. The boys heroically rise to the challenge; even the drummer almost does well. In your face, Bach! W00t!

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
Nearest contemporary: Bobby McFerrin
What Pachelbel would be doing today: Only Oakland Raider who never breaks curfew

You know Pachelbel’s Kanon. You hear it at every wedding you go to, even the ones where the bride and groom are dressed as Klingons. Hearing The Baronics play the Kanon makes you realize how beautiful this tune is. This isn’t just a track off another obscure CD, this is a public service.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Nearest contemporary: Beck
What Beethoven would be doing today: Amy Winehouse

This is the only spot where Get Bach! falters, but the problem isn’t the band, it’s their choice of music. Beethoven wrote his Moonlight Sonata for a woman he was in love with. Sounds promising, but I have to wonder if Ludwig really knew his target market. How many women would be willing to engage in sex on top of a piano after hearing this doleful crawl through the dark? It’s tough enough listening to the Moonlight Sonata while someone tries to belt it out on the piano. Giving it the surf treatment only thickens the claustrophobia.

Mozart reprise
Forget Beethoven and his ideas on how to approach chicks. Surf and Mozart go together like Lego bricks! Mozart’s Serenade No. 13 as translated by The Baronics is more fun than catching a wave and shootin’ the pipe in front of a beach full of babelinis.

Bach reprise
The Bourrée was a dance the French did in their 17th-century mosh pits. Seems tame to us, but back then Bach’s Bourrée terrorized the Church and plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. The Baronics end this good-natured album with their good-natured version of the Bourrée, and even throw in some genuine English/French yelling. Bravissimo, Baronics!

In a future post we’ll discuss classical’s attempts to assimilate rock and roll, including string-quartet tributes to everything from The Cure to Pink Floyd and the endless Hooked on Classics series of disco drum-machine freakouts (which, wouldn’t you know, can all be traced back to Electric Light Orchestra).

Until then, appassionato non troppo!