Saturday, January 01, 2005

Kat's Korner: Replies Meow to feedback on Almost 41 Years Later

Let me just tell you one damn thing, you aren't funny and you need to learn the difference between facts and opinions.

Here's a fact for you: 'you aren't funny' is an opinion. But boy have the e-mails being pouring in.
Most are from rational people but every now and then I get that one that asks me how I could have missed some opus from the Osmonds or why I 'deliberately bought into the oldest conjob in the world and refuse to recognize the seminal greatness of the Archies but I guess you're to outre to get that they, like Andy Warhol, changed everything so that it became about attitude.'

The Osmonds? Why don't you hold your breath down by that lazy river and see how long it takes me to join you there. The Archies?

Your pop-art theory may be correct in that we're talking about product with a brand name selling in the place of quality. (See also the Monkees.) But even if your half-baked theory (seriously, what are you holding and where did you get it?) is correct, the corporation that created the Archies saw them as a singles band. We were coming up with a list of albums.

One person wondered if Shirley knew she was being cited at the top of the albums list. Yes, she did. She thought it was funny and gave her permission.

The most outraged reader with the least knowledge of facts would have to be the one who wrote
regarding the 1969 selection 'so Aretha and Jimi don't make the list and apparently that means no black person can make the list!'

The list for 1969 is immediately below.

1969: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis; Jefferson Airplane: Volunteers; the Beatles: Abbey Road; the Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed; the Doors: Soft Parade; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash; Led Zeppelin: I; Led Zeppelin: II; CCR: Willy & the Poor Boys; Donovan: Barabjagal; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations; Richie Havens: Richard P. Havens, 1983; The Who: Tommy; Nina Simone: To Love Somebody; Melanie: Melanie

For that angry reader, I suggest that they look up the people listed to find out about the artists before they write in.

That said, as a huge Sly & the Family Stone fan, I was surprised no one named Life or Dance to the Music or Stand! But I didn't come up with the nominations.

A number of Carole King fans wrote in asking about various albums. Maybe with Sly and Carole
there was one album that was such a favorite that it instantly sprung to mind? I asked Sumner to check his notes. Tapestry and There's a Riot Going On were the two most cited albums.
Some people only cited one album. Some reeled off a whole list as Sumner attempted to jot each one down.

But Sumner, Dak-Ho, Maggie, Toni, Iwan and I didn't come up with the list of potential albums, we just evaluated the ones that people at the two parties came up with. Sumner (who was the one taking the notes) says it was 362 people plus one wacko we ignored who kept screaming 'Lawrence Welk! Calcutta!'

From there, we divided up the list to make sure every album came out after 1964. Two came out before and were knocked off for that reason.

Joni said use her name, hi Joni, and wanted to know why I didn't ask readers to e-mail in suggestions. That would have required planning.

But if anyone's followed the sorry choices each year in Rolling Stone's Readers Awards, they know what the net has done. A fan site for some lousy band or person posts a link and says 'Vote for Justin!' or 'Vote Backstreet Boys!'

That always happened, I'm sure. But in the past these people had to buy at least one issue to vote, to get the ballot. Now they can vote online and they aren't Rolling Stone readers. (And if you wipe out your cookies after you vote, you can vote again.)

It's a disgrace when Backstreet Boys wins a band of the year award from the 'readers' of Rolling Stone magazine. They need to go back to accepting mail-in ballots only. If you don't care enough about your favorite bands to spend the money for the mag, then you shouldn't be allowed to vote.

So even if I had gone the non-organic route (planned), I still wouldn't have said 'Hey everybody send in your pics for best album!' If I do a list anytime this year I might ask some of the people who've been writing to come up with some nominees. That's about the most I can promise. And since most of my ideas, the good ones, hit me around 2 in the morning, I doubt even that would work.

Shirley pointed out in an e-mail today that CD is a format and album is 'the proper term.' She's correct and I will try to use that term.

Why weren't there more albums from the last four years? Good question. We didn't prune a great deal from the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 lists. Very few were named. Maybe when people are asked to name their favorites, many feel they have to dig into the past?
I was hoping Courtney Love would be named for 2004's America's Sweetheart.

That albums been slagged by a bunch of people who don't know a great deal. If you like loud rock, she's made an album you'll love. I would have loved to have her on the list for that just to toss the bird to everyone who has taken a school marm tone with her in the last year.

'Oh, she went wild at a concert!' 'Oh, I heard she's on drugs!' She's a rock and roller.

B-b-b-b-but Kat, she's a mother! And Scott Weiland's a father. What's your point? When the same people gnashing their teeth over mother Courtney's alleged problems fret over a Weiland or any other male, I'll take their outrage as genuine. Until then it's just nonsense.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. One of you sent in a review today from The Nation of America's Sweetheart. It's by an uptight prude named Priscilla Becker who writes for Tracks.

Heard of Tracks? You probably won't. It's another magazine trying to be a watered down version of Rolling Stone. When music magazines were popular in this country it's because they had attitude. And not the same style. Jazz & Pop and Creem are only two mags that had healthy runs because they had an attitude and outlook. They and Rolling Stone succeeded for that reason. Every few years, some mag springs up deciding that Rolling Stone has a nice following and they can tap into that by being just like them! but more 'mature' = watered down. Those mags fold quickly.

But I'm sure Prissy Becker is perfect for Tracks. The Nation hasn't run anything by her since and they shouldn't. Prissy doesn't know rock which is bad enough but she writes as though she knows about Love and she doesn't know ____.

Her review of an album is based primarily on gossip about Love's personal life. Old gossip.
Prissy doesn't even try to tie it into the album. But when she does attempt to discuss the album she demonstrates that she doesn't know what's flying out of her ____.

She could have slammed the album and many did. But they were either openly bitchy or amusing.

So yeah, if I'd been picking nominees, I would have put some additional names to the list. I would've put Court on just to flip the bird at the Prissy Becker faction.

One guy wrote in that 'You just put your favorites on the list!'

Besides Courtney Love's America's Sweetheart not making the list, some people made it that I didn't really know much about. Dionne Warkwick was no one I knew of other than from the usual movie soundtracks. Dak-Ho and I assumed we'd be squealing with laughter when we put the two albums of hers on the turntable (thanks to Dreamer for loaning the vinyl) but we were really amazed.

Warwick wasn't the only surprise. And I love the Mamas and the Papas and an album of theirs didn't make the cut, their second. We were listening to it and I was the one who argued, 'There's nothing that makes it stand out.' To me, it was nice where the first album was glorious.
Iwan loves Bruce Springsteen but he was the one arguing loudest against Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A. Both of which got cut. Maggie was furious that Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Freedom Sessions hadn't been nominated. Toni couldn't believe that no one had thought to nominate anything by Curtis Mayfield or Tom Waits. Sumner's big gripes were no one nominated Linda Ronstadt: Heart Like a Wheel or the Doors: L.A. Woman or Jet. Dak-Ho would've gone for the entire Rolling Stones catalogue and was bothered that Television and other punk bands as well as Carlos Santana didn't make the list of nominations.

So is it perfect? No. It's a list. It's got choices that don't pop up on most of the lists. But don't use it as a bible. It wasn't meant to be the cannon. If you see something on the list that you know or have, congratulate yourself. If you see items that you do not know, take the time to listen to some of them because there is some great music there.

We listened to things we hadn't heard for nine hours straight. (Frank Zappa didn't make the list because the guy who boasted he could score the albums never showed. Therefore all Zapa nominations were pulled since all six judges hadn't heard the Zappa albums.) We were arguing back and forth and laughing and drinking and munching. It was an after-party for the New Year's Eve party we left before midnight (that party was dead!).

That's what I'd suggest you do. Make a list of what you don't know from the list and call around to see if any of your friends have a copy of it. Or invite everyone to come over to your place with their all time favorite album. Play the music, dance, laugh, argue, discuss.

That's what music is supposed to be about. But today if someone's discussing music it's not about the music, it's about the sales and the marketing: where it landed on the charts or how many 'units' it has sold or did you see the video or could you believe all that skin on the video?

Take it back to the music. If Noxious Noise went to number one and sold thirty million copies worldwide that doesn't tell me it's a good album. That doesn't tell me that there's anything on it that I want to hear. If Noxious Noise (that's a made up name as far as I know) is making music then let's talk about the music. Not who styled their crib or who they went to awards with.

If people putting out CDs today had to make it on their music alone a lot of these people would've already put on the blue Wal-Mart smocks. Take it back to the music.

Quit being fans of someone's Lifestyle of the Rich & Famous and start paying attention to the music. Cedric said 'quote me' so I will:

'I spent too long paying attention to who was with who and who had more bling bling. I have 78 CDs and there are three that I listen to all the time, Sade, Marvin Gaye and Angie Stone. The rest are CDs I rushed to buy because every one was talking about how somebody got dissed on this track or how somebody stood up to Suge. I look at all this crap and feel like a little girl begging for autographs. Now on I'm only spending my money for the music. You better be speaking to me and about my life and the world if you're wanting my dough. No more bread wasted on butterflies or turf wars. You go Kat!'

No, you go Cedric! I'm proud of you. Because it's about the music. That CD in your collection isn't supposed to be a soveneir of someone else's life. It's supposed to be there because it spoke to you. These days they try to push music off as an accessory like it's an article of clothing. But music is supposed to be the soundtrack to your own life. Take control of your lives, take control of your music. Let's make that the resolution for 2005.