When I think of the life Michael Jackson, it’s hard not to consider him a tragic figure. With the announcement of his death today (at the young age of 50), even more so. But when I consider Michael Jackson, what comes to mind are not the struggles he had in life, not his eccentricities, but some of the excellent music he made. In particular, some killer songs on his albums Off The Wall and Thriller.
I’ve always loved the simplicity and intrigue of “Billy Jean”, my favorite song of his. Thank you Michael, and may you rest in peace.
Rolling Stone was the first adult magazine I subscribed to. I’ve been getting it delivered to my home for over twenty years now. But I let my subscription expire this month, and I’m a little nostalgic about it.
Its musical focus was what first got me reading Rolling Stone — especially the music reviews. Over the years though, they’ve added more features on pop-culture things like fashion, television, and video games. Lately a good deal of their random notes section looks like it came from a sleazy tabloid. Often the music news in the bi-weekly magazine was not news to me. I had already heard about it online. I became less and less interested, and issues would pile up, unread. Over the past few years I wondered why I was paying for a subscription, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to stop.
Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I stepped out of my place about every 15 minutes or so to watch the show. When I was out there I wondered how many other people throughout the ages watched the moon darken with awe, as I was doing. Watching the Earth’s shadow slowly make its way across the lunar surface, I could understand how ancient peoples might start freaking out during such an event. I was also reminded of “Sister Moon,” the title song from Sting’s excellent album, …Nothing Like The Sun (who actually lifted that line from Shakespeare’s My Mistress’ Eyes sonnet).
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the Sun.
My hunger for her explains everything I’ve done.
To howl at the moon the whole night through,
And they really don’t care if I do.
I’d go out of my mind, but for you.
Lucky Dube’s music was just a joy to listen to. His beautiful tenor voice singing along with those reggae rhythms was something special. True to reggae traditions, his songs often had a strong social message, singing against things like apartheid, social injustice, violence and crime, and the epidemic of AIDS. The folks who run Lucky Dube’s website wrote “the death of Lucky Dube leaves a great void in the music industry, as 25 years of music suddenly ends in tragedy.”
I’ve been wanting to replace my old MP3 player for a while now. It’s a few years old, so the features and storage capacity are lacking compared to players on the market now. I decided to give in to my technolust and started shopping around.
Part of me was reluctant to go with an Apple iPod. My old player was from Sansa, and concerns about Apple’s proprietary software bothered me a bit. After reading some online reviews, I decided to try one of the new Sansa models. I was not impressed. The controls seemed clumsy and hard to get used to. I experimented with loading music from my computer onto the player, and that was a clumsy experience as well. So, I returned the Sansa player, and picked up a 4 GB Apple iPod Nano. Wow! What a nice device. Yes that’s right, I am now one of the Pod People.
Today is the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere). Here in Madison it’s been pretty cold and windy. It reminds me of a song written by David Gray, “What Does It Matter,” an outstanding version of which is on Mary Black’s excellent CD, Shine.
What should it matter if the sun don’t rise
Its midnight forever in my Janie’s eyes
What should it matter if it comes on spring
When I’m finding winter in everything
Lived in this cold wind city all of my life
Walking around still looks the same
Same people coming and going
It doesn’t feel right
See it all now
From so far away
All of the wisdom that I held so high
Shining and useless as this April sky
The hedgerows are singing and it comes on spring
But I’m finding winter in everything
So my stereo receiver was suffering the effects of old age, I had some Christmas money in my pocket, and it was time for a new one. After browsing some online product reviews, I had a some specific models to look for. I went to a few electronics stores and found one of the recommended receivers, at a good price. I brought it home and begun the monumental task of unplugging all the components, speakers, antennas, from my old receiver and plugging them in the new one.
I got to the cassette deck. There are a lot of places to plug things in to the back of my new receiver, but where were the ones for the tape deck? There were none. The receiver had no input or output receptacles for a tape deck. That was something I needed to look for while I was shopping???
I recently had the best musical discovery of the year. I realize 2005 is not even half over, but after listening to this discovery over the past week or two I have no doubt it will be my best of the year. No, it isn’t a new band, or a new CD. It’s Radio Paradise, an internet-based radio station.
Commercial free, Radio Paradise is completely listener supported and, in this listener’s humble opinion, very worthy of any support you can give it.