Friday, September 27, 2013

Tonight's trivia question

When Dweezil Zappa played on a cover of the song "Smoke on the Water" - a song that covered a Swiss incident involving his father's band - who was the lead singer on the cover version?

Answer here. It was a recording released in 1997.

I'm listening to the entire album on Spotify right now, by the way. I had never heard it before.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Behind the scenes at Empoprises - that Miley Cyrus post in tymshft was supposed to be a Madonna post in Empoprise-MU

Most of you have probably never visited the deluxe Empoprises headquarters at 1 Empire Way Suite 2525 in Guasti, California. But this post gives you a rare peek inside our spacious offices. Yeah, just what you always wanted.

Several years ago, I conceived a story of a young guy, circa 1992, who showed up at a Madonna concert in the early 1990s. You'll recall that this was the time when Madonna had her Erotica CD and her sex book and all that. In the story concept, the young guy had seats at the front row of the concert, and in the middle of the show, started shouting for Madonna to take her clothes off. This guy had heard that Madonna would get naked, and he wanted to get his money's worth.

While I conceived the story, I never got around to writing it. I really couldn't think of a good forum to place the story as I conceived it. In addition, by the time I conceived the story, Madonna had already advanced through several additional phases of her career, and I didn't think that anyone would care about a story about the old Madonna.

Meanwhile the musical world kept on changing - or, more accurately, the musical world kept on not changing. New female musicians emerged to shock and outrage us - Pink, Lady Gaga, whoever.

The most recent scandalous musician, of course, is Miley Cyrus, who within the course of one week, stuck her butt toward a guy on MTV and released a nude video.

Haven't we seen this before, I thought - and then my story idea took shape. Instead of having a young guy getting in trouble at a 1992 Madonna concert, why not have the guy's SON getting in trouble at a 2013 Miley Cyrus concert, for the exact same reason?

I even had a venue for the story - my tymshft blog, which revels in the observations of so-called "new" things that are just like old things. Although there's admittedly a difference between the Miley-Madonna comparison and the cloud computing-CompuServe comparison.

Anyway, the story is here if you'd like to read it. I promise that there are no pictures.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Is Lana Del Rey the new Bob Dylan? (And will you still be hungry after reading this post?)

Is Lana Del Rey the new Bob Dylan? It's a question that should be addressed, because there are definite similarities between the two.

Let's start with the names. There is no "Del Rey," just as there is no "Dylan." Ms. Grant and Mr. Zimmerman renamed themselves early in their lives, in preparation for their musical careers.

In addition, there's a current criticism of Del Rey that was also a common criticism of Dylan in the early stages of his career. Both of them are/were heavily criticized for their inability to sing.

There are certainly other parallels between the two, although Lana hasn't had enough time to systematically offend critical portions of her audience yet. Her Newport, her Nashville Skyline, and her Slow Train Coming have yet to occur.

I am forced to admit, however, that my opinion is not universal. There are those who claim that Lana and Bob are very different. See if you can guess who provided the following comments on Lana Del Rey:

Lana can be called a great songwriter, but not a great performer. There’s a big difference. The claims therefore of Del Rey's musical influence, are far greater than the actual influence.

Socially speaking, this occurs because Lana is one of those rare few, what I call, “bandwagon artists.” There’s a difference between actually liking an artist and being a bandwagoner. [Bandwagoners] jump onto and claim reverence to certain artists because so many others do; because it’s trendy to do so; because it’s uncool NOT to like them. Whether you actually like them or not becomes irrelevant.

In this scenario, people “like” what they “learn” to like from others. The social psychological term for this is called social proof. To be [a part] of the in-group, people become motivated to embrace the fanaticism that surrounds other bandwagon fan's claims of transcendent influence and greatness. This phenomenon then snowballs over time rendering the claims of this profound “influence” to be mathematically inflated and logically overrated.

The answer to my question? No one provided those comments on Lana Del Rey. Tom Leu, however, did provide extremely similar comments in an item entitled Is Bob Dylan overrated?

So perhaps those parallels are pretty deep and bear some consideration. (And her version is closer than Axl's.)

Alex Klinger has considered this issue (although I disagree with his claim that "not many people talk about" Dylan's embellished biography). But Klinger does offer a relevant comment on the issue of authenticity that has dogged both artists:

You are turning away from something you naturally really liked because it might not be entirely authentic. Do you know how many awesome mexican restaurants are not entirely authentic? EVERY SINGLE ONE IN AMERICA.