Bob Dylan-smilin

Concerning My Highly Edjamacated Tastes

So I had an opportunity to watch Hamlet on Masterpiece Theater tonight.

I didn't. I watched SCTV on DVD instead, because all my taste is in my mouth and I have no appreciation whatever for high culture =P . (I suppose I could just read it if I really cared to, on account of I have one of my grandfather's teaching copies of the complete works of Shakespeare. I don't get to enjoy David Tennant hammin'* it up if I just read it, but oh well.)

Anyway. SCTV is actually pretty damned great, thanks in no small part to its extremely solid cast. And Dave Thomas. ...Okay, that was mean. He's a fine Mackenzie brother, and he's the only cast member who could pull off a convincing English (and Scots!) accent. Speaking of the Mackenzies, I'd only ever known Rick Moranis from the Ghostbusters films, Strange Brew and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (which is actually a really stupid title now that I've had to type it out). I've been watching SCTV on DVD for a while now, and I'm still pleasantly surprised by just how much more he could do. Also, absolutely nobody does "hilariously sad drunk" better than Joe Flaherty. Just watch a few of those "5 Neat Guys" bits where he's screwing up the simplest choreography and blinking blearily at everything. And those examples are just off the top of my head: there's also sterling work from John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Eugene Levy--everyone on this show is more or less at the top of their game.

I also like the way the show occasionally throws something completely strange at the viewer: Farm Film Report, What Fits Into Russia, and possibly the best dog food commercial ever barely scratch the surface of the marvelously strange things you might see in a given episode. (That dog food commercial in particular never fails to crack me up.)

So seriously. I recommend you go check out some SCTV while I restrain myself from finishing off this post with a slew of quotes and references like a dork. (It gets more difficult by the minute, really it does.)

*Hamlettin'? No but really, during the few minutes I caught, Timey-Wimey Tennant left the scenery full of toothmarks.
Jeff Lynne, Checkerboard Nightmare

Dark Side of the Moon, and a book.

I'm listening to it for the first time since high school. Can something be really great and just a tiny bit pretentious at the same time? Or is that just what Pink Floyd does best? At any rate, I can see why I liked this album so much in high school. Dark Side of the Moon: Still pretty great.

Speaking of things I experienced in high school, and things that may or may not be pretentious: Am I weird for disliking The Catcher in the Rye? Because when I read it in school I fucking loathed Holden Caulfield. I thought he represented the epitome of some of the worst things about adolescence, and when I read it I was an adolescent. He's experienced one trauma in his life--and, mind you, he has the cash and time to wander aimlessly around New York City, ruminating on it and a metric ass-ton of other things I could never bring myself to give a toss about, so he's comfortable in just about every other way possible--and suddenly he thinks he's an urban prophet. He spends pretty much the whole book, if I remember it correctly, thinking to himself here-a-phony, there-a-phony, everyone-is-such-a-phony and he's, like, the only one who really gets it, man, who really understands it all. (Holden understands and feels things beyond the rest of us mere mortals on account of his unimaginable inner torment, don'cha know.) Also, if I recall correctly, there were also lots of italics slapped on every other word like this which irritates me on several levels, not least because it makes everything Holden thinks and does feel sickeningly overwrought.

Now, if I missed something big about this book--like, if all this was intentional, and the reader really is meant to despise Holden--then I take it all back, and J.D. Salinger was a genius. If not, well, Holden Caulfield is going to stay at the top of my list of Fictional Characters I Wish I Could Punch in the Face.
omfg, Fourth Doctor

Adventures in Obscure and Unknown Musicians, Number Eleventy-One: Merry Musical Masochism

You know what you should all go do?
  1. Go get a copy of Bob Dylan's Christmas In The Heart. If you don't want to do that, I think you can preview each track on Amazon.
  2. Listen to him sing "Adeste Fideles".
  3. Marvel at the fact that yes, that is Bob Dylan singing in fuckin' Latin.
  4. Ell oh ell, possibly eye arr ell.
Seriously, that track alone was worth the cost of the whole damn CD for me. So it's absolutely delightful that this album comes with a whole suite of "hurts so good" songs, like "Must Be Santa". I'll definitely put this on while wrapping gifts. This is possibly the first time I've enjoyed Christmas carols in any way in years.
Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips

Oh, and about Embryonic?

It is magnificent. Not that I doubted the Flaming Lips--not after I got that digital EP, at any rate--but Embryonic is just amazing. I've heard the Flaming Lips do sad, and I've heard them do optimistic and somewhat whimsical, and I've even heard them do "rargh, rargh, we are angry at George W. Bush", but this is the first time I really heard them do something so...tense. Like the AV Club review mentioned, the whole album builds up tension excellently, and even the moments of release are just there to carry you along to the next tension. It's taut as a wire and kind of discordant and loud and weird and philosophically-minded and grand, and at its best, it quite simply fucking rocks. I especially dig "Watching the Planets", "Worm Mountain", "Convinced of the Hex", "Aquarius Sabotage", "Silver Trembling Hands", "See The Leaves", "The Ego's Last Stand"...shit, I love more or less the whole album. (Although I'm not sure if I can take "If" as seriously as I imagine I ought, because of Wayne Coyne's falsetto. It can get kind of silly on the "People are evil, it's true" bits.)

Sorry for not saying anything earlier.
Bob Dylan

Adventures in Obscure and Unknown Musicians, Number Eleventy:

By the way--the Bob Dylan albums I have now (since Highway 61 Revisited) are Blood on the Tracks, Desire, World Gone Wrong and his latest, Together Through Life. (Even got the nice nifty deluxe edition with extras and a poster 'n' stuff.) I gave in and listened to Blood on the Tracks, but which should I listen to next? 

Poll #1484399 Which of these should I listen to next?

Which of these Bob Dylan albums should I try next?

Give Desire a spin.
Naw, try World Gone Wrong.
Why not go with Together Through Life?

More importantly: Where do I go from here? For one thing, I've been contemplating picking up his Christmas album, for three reasons:
  1. I've heard it is hilariously terribad (in a way that suggests he's in on the joke)
  2. The proceeds go to charity
  3. Did I mention it's supposed to be delightfully awful? That could be a powerful draw for me.
But beyond that--where should I head? What new aspects of Bob Dylan should I seek out?
Jeff Lynne, Checkerboard Nightmare

Highway 61 Revisited, visited

Yes, this is that article I said I'd write weeks ago. the interim I've gotten several new Bob Dylan albums. I tried to hold off on listening to them until I'd gotten done with this article, because part of the fun is sharing my reactions with the big wide Internet (and both the people who actually read this), but a couple of weeks ago...I gave in, and started listening to Blood on the Tracks. I'll do another article about it, but in a few words: I've never heard anything like it, and it's wonderful. It seems like a wild departure from the albums I've heard so far, even by the standards of Bob Dylan, whose sound can change pretty wildly, it seems, from album to album.

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Bob Dylan

Promise I'll find another thing to talk about soon. Eventually. Maybe.

Oh, Highway 61 Revisited. Two four six seven tracks in and I already <3 you so much. So very much. So far I've been blown the fuck away by every album of his I've bought so far (on CD; haven't sufficiently investigated my two albums on vinyl). I think that with careful planning I can keep up that string of epiphanies for a very long time yet =P .

God, if I was fourteen I'd be drawing hearts and flowers and little butterflies around Bob Dylan's name in all my notebooks.

Also, according to Entertainment Weekly, the Flaming Lips' Embryonic appears to be due out on 13 October. I squealed a little when I learned that. ...Well, okay, not out loud, but I did on the inside.
Jeff Lynne, Checkerboard Nightmare

So, my spiffy all-new layout:

great layout, or best layout ever?

I did do a lot of messing around with the color scheme from the original. Might yet mess around with it some more, I dunno.

In my Journey Through the Works of Bob Dylan, Part the Umpteenth: It's either gonna be Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks next, I think. Might even go nosing around in thrift shops for some vinyl copies, too, just for fun. I prefer CDs and such for convenience, but I do have a turntable set up and what I like to think is a moderately respectable collection of records. (My mother even gave me her copy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I shall treasure it always.)

Incidentally, the first thing I ever played on it was a single of Lay Lady Lay with Peggy Day on the B-side. And once I found a Goodwill with a massive selection of Bob Dylan records--perhaps someone had gotten tired of theirs. I find it hard to imagine at the moment, but theoretically that isn't impossible. Guess which ones I picked up from that? If you guessed "she completely overlooked the really awesome ones and went for Nashville Skyline and At Budokan* like an utter, utter dork", you guessed correctly. And now I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't grab what I definitely remember was a vinyl copy of Blood on the Tracks...

*My only defense was that double albums were being sold at the same rate as single albums, so I thought I was getting a deal.
  • Current Music
    Bob Dylan - Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35