Archive for November, 2012

Music CD: The 2nd Law by Muse

November 21, 2012

[bill]

CD music review: The 2nd law

Group: Muse

Release date: 28 September, 2012

 

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of closed systems never decreases, because closed systems spontaneously evolve towards thermal equilibrium — the state of maximum entropy. Equivalently, perpetual motion machines of the second kind are impossible.

I will give full credit to Wikipedia for the above. And I will state that, in my opinion, only Muse could title an album after such an arcane, if not an abstruse subject. Even now, I’m really not entirely quite sure what they actually mean by it, although it certainly does have several entertainingly drole possibilities that might be explored.

As to the album itself, the terms; elegant, epic, grand and [even] bombastic come to my mind. Perhaps only The Beatles, The Stones, The Moodies or The Who could have written such an album and then, at their height. And not only written, but scored, sung and recorded such a work. But then, this is Muse.

Certainly, the axiom: ”Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad” comes to mind. I hasten to add that I do not think that the group Muse are mad or bad or otherwise. In fact I find them excellent. Yet there comes to be a fine line between genius and madness. My point is, that to me, Muse are almost transcendent in their quality. Their song “Success” written for the 2012 Olympics is, I believe, of such quality. As is “Madness”, a song that really makes you think about things that you’ve done and why you did them, and is in no way mad. I must say that I find it absolutely brilliant.

This transcendence is a rare quality, and thus those of us who are mundane, and I certainly put myself as first in line, are willing or needful to pay our money to hear this rare quality of lyrics and music and the desire of a hopefully pleasurable experience that they provide. I know that I am. And so I will be paying my money to buy a copy of Muse’s, The 2nd law. But you do not have to, because it is available here at the WML for you to take out, for your listening pleasure.

 

bill littlefield

21 November, 2012

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Music CD Review, Banga by Patti Smith

November 20, 2012

[Bill]

Music CD Review: Banga

Artist: Patti Smith

Release date: 1 June, 2012

It has been humorously, if erroneously suggested, that I am in thrall to British, Irish, Canadian, Aussie and New Zealand bands. I can assure everyone that this is not true. Yet, one can see how this misconception could be construed. What is true is that I have the highest regard for American groups / artists such as, The Eagles, Warren Zevon, Evanescence, Warpaint, The Back Keys, The Cars, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and others, and not in that order.

I will bestow, such as I can, accolades on and for those individuals and groups that deserve it. What I will not do it to falsely ascribe honours to those, and we all know who they are, who dishonuourably and deceitfully rely on sex, guilt, or risibly false partisanship to sell CDs, tickets and downloads for fame and fortune. This statement of ostensible morality and rectitude is often put to the test as there are no shortage of individuals and groups who are shameless and as such are often extremely commercially successful.

Whatever you may think of Patti Smith as a standard-bearer of 70’s bohemian music and lifestyle, you will be forced to admit that she is, has been, and most likely will be true to her art. The album “Banga” ought to be seen as a triumph of that art. If Smith had only ever written/ sung [with Springsteen], “Because the night” it would have been enough. And for that statement I have been severely mocked. And I do not care. The fact is that that for almost forty years, Smith has continued to shock and delight is more than can have been hoped for.

Will you like “Banga”? Tricky that, I will say that her cover of Neil Young’s “After the gold rush” is more that good enough for me. It is a heartbreaking rendition that pains and delights. I’d say there is a 50/50 chance that you will, or will not like it. It is most definitely not for everybody. She ain’t gonna try to please ya. However if you take a chance on art, you might find some music that is well, amazing.

Those who know Patti Smith as an intellectual and a perfectionist will not be surprised  that even today she is considered intimidating to interview by experienced journalists. As she does, so we are told, suffer fools not at all and good for her. I am glad that I do not have to interview her, but I wish that I could.

“Banga” is Patti Smith’s ninth studio album and some have said the best since her first, “Horses” in 1975. That is of course subjective. Will it shock or surprise you? That, of course depends on your definition of shock and surprise. I was surprised as even before I started to write this by a co-workers comment that this CD has gotten good reviews. The person was not, I thought, a Patti Smith fan, but it has had good reviews. It might pique your interest for more from a true American artist and genius. At the WML now.

bill littlefield

20 November, 2012