The growing global anti-war movement means that great anthems of hope and inspiration, which celebrate the joy of mass resistance, can be recorded. . .The great thing about having big names produce music for a mass movement is that it takes them down off their pedestals and away from the trappings of glamour. And we don't feel like passive consumers in awe of fame--rather we sense that we matter and these people are just contributing towards our own strength, which we gain from the movement. Ginger Tom's 'Hey Hey USA: How Many Children Did You Kill Today?' was in a sense written by all of us who have marched and chanted over the last 18 months. . .
I'm sure it's just as good as it sounds.
The Nation plays sprawling Mudhoney to the economical Nirvana of The Socialist Review in an entire issue devouted to "The Power of Music." Sounding an especially creaky note, guest editor Ann Powers lauded a group at a Seattle protest who "traded acerbic raps above swirly guitar solos and some deft conga maneuvers," while an editorial asked us to "turn up the volume, you may hear the politics." Oh, where's the mute?
The rather weak record (ahem) of politically informed music reviews makes World magazine's "Bestsellers" column (which predates Slate's similarly concieved "Number 1" department) a welcome surprise. The music coverage is by Arsenio Orteza, and its presence in the evangelical rag (edited by the man who coined the phrase "compassionate conservatism," no less) is surely meant to serve as a guide to wary parents. He also provides some of the best short-form music writing since Spinal Tap was downed with just two words.
On Ry Cooder's latest cultural tourism export:
Ideal incidental music for a hard-boiled detective B-movie set in Havana.
On Joseph Arthur's Redemption's Son:
Definitely above average as Christ-haunted albums go.
Granted, it's sometimes hard to tell if you're reading absurdly dry wit or just bonecrushing humorlessness, but who cares what the motivation is when you're treated to such excellent eviscerations of flavor-of-the-moment types like Sigur Ros:
With turgid, title-free songs almost entirely bereft of melody and eerie, meaning-free singing almost entirely bereft of human characteristics, this album constitutes an extraordinarily ambitious exercise in pretentiousness, leaving one little choice but to conclude that it exists mainly to prove there's (still) a sucker born every minute.
Can I get an "Amen"?