Fogie’s music rant

I’ve rediscovered two solid CDs from the ’80s: World Party’s Goodbye Jumbo and Living Colour’s debut, Vivid. (Living Colour has reunited; their new one is on my Christmas wish list.) Both CDs are full of memorable songs.

World Party, which had a minor hit in Way Down Now, combines a Beatlesque sensibility with a New Wave vibe. Most of the songs are full of hippie optimism or relationship trouble, but the lyrical peak comes in a stirring putdown of theocracy called God On My Side. (See lyrics excerpt a couple of entries ago.)

Living Colour deserved more acclaim in its time. While rappers claimed to be the “CNN of the black community,” Living Colour backed up its incisive commentary with a blazing guitar-bass-drums approach. (That’s not to say the band turned its back on hip-hop; in their later releases, they blended some rap elements very well.) They lighten things up with a couple of amusing looks at relationships, and they have the best Talking Heads cover ever recorded in Memories Can’t Wait.

One thing these CDs have that most of today’s releases do not: Almost every song is memorable for one reason or another. I wouldn’t devote time every day to listen to a song like Living Colour’s Funny Vibe, but a couple of lines will pop into my head every once in a while.

I might be romanticizing the past a bit — I do remember back when I was buying tapes that I’d often have one side of good songs and one side of filler. But then there were CDs like these and the occasional entry that made an artistic statement as a whole, like Fishbone’s The Reality of My Surroundings, which sounds like a guided tour of a neighborhood by a bunch of witty guys who occasionally talk two or three at a time and have a great drummer.

You see where I’m going with this. Downloading sucks.

Sure, it’s great to go out and legally download some one-off song from an inconsistent band. But when I hear that we might be returning to the days when “singles” were far more important than “albums,” I worry that we’re losing a valuable form of artistic impression. Seriously.

(Incidentally, most music critics argue that Sgt. Pepper was the release that cemented the album art form. Perhaps so, but I’d argue that Revolver is better as a whole.)

I’d be inclined to wind up on these kids who spend all their time online with their blogs and downloads, but I’ve noticed that many of them tend to be Guster fans, so I can’t complain too much.

Accidental headline du jour

From Yahoo Sports: “Yanks to introduce Sheffield Wednesday.”

The background, for those needing: You may know that the Yankees are signing free agent (former Brave) Gary Sheffield. The headline refers to a Wednesday press conference. However, there’s also an English soccer team called Sheffield Wednesday. Now you get it.

The added twist: The Yankees have a marketing agreement with Manchester United, an English soccer team just a bit bigger than Sheffield Wednesday. (Manchester United is the former club of David “Bend It Like” Beckham, and Parminder Nagra looked cute in their jersey.)

Correcting the sports pundits

Issue 1: The BCS. My, sports writers have short memories. In 1990, they gave Colorado the “national championship” over an undefeated Georgia Tech team even though Colorado … (a) lost a game, (b) had another game gifted to them when the officials mistakenly gave them five downs in the final seconds, (c) had another game somewhat gifted to them on an iffy clipping call in their bowl game. Are we really expected to believe that this “system” is better than what we have now?

The other point the pundits forget: Southern Cal is No. 1 for one reason … their loss came a couple of weeks earlier than LSU’s. That’s it. They’re even more arbitrary than the computers. The writers would have you believe they spend 50 hours a week breaking down game film from every team in the Top 10 to determine which team actually plays the best. It doesn’t happen.

Issue 2: The Orioles. No, Miguel Tejada’s signing isn’t going to be enough to lift the pitching-shy Orioles over the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East. But it’s a nice start, and you never know when a good team might go astray and leave a playoff spot open. And as the Marlins proved by winning two World Series championships before their first division title, getting in the playoffs is everything.

A better question: Where are the pundits (I’m looking at you, Mr. Boswell) who said the Orioles were intentionally sabotaging their own team to keep baseball out of Washington? Hello? Anyone?

Issue 3: Matt Millen and the other “f-word”. Dude needs to be fired, right now. The Around the Horn and PTI guys who defend it as mere locker-room banter need to reconsider the circumstances. That’s hate speech, plain and simple. And remember how the usage rules for the “n-word” changed when locker rooms integrated.

Issue 4: Spurrier. Not a great fan of the guy since he left Duke for an alleged university I won’t name, but he deserves to stick around. How good was Bill Parcells his second year?

On shaky ground

I’ve said before that the current president, who believes himself to be called by God to serve at this time, might want to reconsider after seeing the weather in Washington over the past year … floods, a couple of feet of snow, a hurricane, etc.

Now we’ve had the ultimate in unusual Washington phenomena … an earthquake.

Anyone know preventive action I can take against locusts?