Sunday, January 29, 2023

Kat's Korner: Carly Simon and Diana Ross send their regrets but Sam Smith showed up

Kat: So we've got three new albums to review.  Diana Ross' 1973 album SURRENDER has been re-released, Carly Simon's LIVE AT GRAND CENTRAL is finally out on audio for the first time and Sam Smith's GLORIA was released on Friday.

Which treasure to start with? Thanks to AMAZON, I suppose the true answer is none.

Let's start with Diana.  I pre-ordered her album on vinyl -- all were vinyl purchases, all were purchased from AMAZON.  It was suppsoed to arrive on Friday.

It did not.

Why?  Apparently the crappy label over the re-release (so crappy that they insulted her in their press release announcing the album: "Ross would later turn to a more exaggerated, self-conscious, mock-sophisticate style, but on her early Motown albums, she retained the mix of innocence, anguish, and sexiness that made her a legendary vocalist.")  doesn't actually know how to make vinyl records.  There are none.  That's at all outlets.  No retailer in the US has a copy.  Shouldn't AMAZON have known this going in?  Having promised it to me on Friday, they should have known they had no copies by Wednesday and sent me a note.

But Jeff Bezos is not just an ugly man, he's also a moron.   AMAZON will gladly take your money, they just have problems when it comes to delivering the product they promised.

Thought about leaving feedback but I pulled it up and saw this message:

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I've never reviewed a product at AMAZON.  Nor has Maggie who also ordered the album.  I asked her to see if she could leave a review?  She can't.  I don't think it's due to trouble with our accounts, I think it's that AMAZON doesn't want other customers to know the hassle they put people through so they're blocking anyone who ordered this album from leaving a review.

Let's move over to Carly Simon.  When I pr-ordered a week ago, I was told LIVE AT GRAND CENTRAL would arrived on Friday.  It did not.

It didn't even ship that day.  Nor did it ship Saturday.  In fact, AMAZON doesn't know when it will ship.  When they took my order, they knew it would arrive last Friday -- or else thy lied to me.  

What's the delay? 

Who knows.  I got tired of waiting on crap ass Bezos, cancelled my order and went to WALMART online.  They have the album.  It won't arrive until Wednesday; however, they can tell me when it will arrive and it's  less than what I paid for it at AMAZON.  By the way, I read over their guidelines for reviews left at AMAZON and, guess what, you're not allowed to say that you found the item anywhere else cheaper.  Truth isn't real important to Jeff Bezos -- guess democracy isn't the only thing that dies in darkness -- consumer choice goes hand-in-hand to the burial ground as well.

Now we get to Sam Smith.

Apparently, they tried to deliver it.  Did UPS or AMAZON screw up?  I have no idea.  Maggie and I used Toni's store for the delivery address for our orders because neither of us wanted to wait around for the packages or risk them being carried off by some neighbor or stranger.  

Toni's store.  When you read that, I assume that makes sense.  The address and her suite number should have made sense as well to AMAZON and to UPS.

It's Toni's store.

That would be a business.

Why am I stressing that?

Because they tried to deliver it Friday at 8:00 pm.  

UPS is supposed to deliver packages to businesses by 5:00 pm.  Why?  Probably because some businesses close at five.  Toni's does.

So delivering it at 8:00 pm ensured that I could not get it.  My name is on the shipping label and then the store's name, then the address.  It's clearly a business.  So how did Jeff Bezos screw this up?  Or does this one fall on UPS?  

I have no idea.  I only know this isn't customer service -- not good customer service.  When does Jeff have to pay for that?  Or does he just penalize workers and never hold himself accountable.  

He'll deny work breaks, for example, but heaven forbid he get the public spanking he deserves -- and has earned.  It's always the workers who pay and the useless like Bezos who profit and, if we're lucky, every now and then gets a small slap on the wrist.

Have you ever felt like being somebody else?

Sam Smith asks that in "Love Me More" which kicks off GLORIA.  "Love Me More" is enough to justify the purchase of GLORIA.  It's everything that was missing from LOVE GOES.  It's confident, it bangs, and Sam's singing with clarity and purity that reminds you just how great he can sing.

And writing songs on this album with writers James Napier, Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen.  And they've written some great songs.

Track two continues the strong, out of the gate, glory that "Love Me More" kicked off.

Just because it's your opinion, doesn't make it right
I say it 'cause I care for you
I'm trying to be there
Wanna meet you halfway, baby, you just wanna fight
I say it 'cause I care for you
I say it 'cause I care

You're no god (No), you're no leader (No)
You're no saint (No), you're no teacher (No)
You're no god (Ain't nobody wanna hear your voice)
No god (When nobody's tryna save you, save you)
No god (Give up, no), no leader (Wake up, no)
You're no saint (Shut up), you're no teacher (That's enough now)
You're no god (Ain't nobody want to hear your voice)
You're no god (When nobody's tryna save you, save you)

If you think that's addressing current realities, you are right (wait until the spoken voice at the end if you have doubts).  I'm Catholic.  Never felt the need to impose my religious beliefs on anyone else.  Don't proselytize, don't try to recruit.  I have my faith.  And I grasp that freedom of religion also means -- grasp this -- freedom from religion.

Sadly, others do not grasp that and think they can't impose their perverted views of Christianity on us.

As I look around and see this nonsense of attacking trans persons and vilifying drag queens in the supposed name of faith, I feel like Frederick in HANNAH & HER SISTERS,  "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up. "


Each track continues the mood and "Perfect" (duet with Jessie Reyez) is the perfect lead in to "Unholy" (Sam's duet with Kim Petras). I can't praise this album enough.  

That's "How To Cry" and below is "Who We Love" (with Ed Sheeran).

I'm happy to say, I love all thirteen tracks on this album.  I'd noted it was probably make-it-or-break-it for me. I did not like LOVE GOES at all.  

If you've forgotten, Sam was planning to release an album entitled TO DIE FOR -- an album a lot of work had gone into. Then came the global pandemic and the singer worried about the title, about implications and about what people needed during this crisis. Sorry, Sam, but an artist that second guesses their vision is going to trip and fall. And that's what happened.  

Thankfully, GLORIA is no LOVE GOES. What is it? A sure footed statement that even the most awkward AMERICAN BANDSTAND-er could dance to. And the album restores my faith in Sam as an album artists. There aren't a lot of them out there. Lots of people have the talent and/or vision to put together (hobble together?) a single or two but few have enough talent and vision to make an actual album. Sade can do it. Prince did it when he was alive. Stevie Wonder did it over and over in the 70s. I'm hoping Sam can do it over and over this decade. There was never anything wrong with The Archies -- we all like sugar. But a diet has to consist of more than just sugar or you're going to rot your soul. If you're in danger of doing that, let GLORIA heal you.