Guilty pleasures

Hey, I’ve been dealing with a lot this week. Forgive me if I’m watching American Idol and Bands Reunited.

Actually, given my slightly perverse interest in band histories, the Reunited interest isn’t a surprise. I find something inspiring about seeing the creative process survive every sort of obstacle — fragmenting relationships and drug-induced haze in music, natural and manmade disaster in History of Britain, and oppressive bureaucracy in journalism.

Bands Reunited has had all sorts of nice surprises. Who would have guessed that the members of Romeo Void would be so likable? Or that the bassist for A Flock of Seagulls would be such a bon viveur, capable of melting the ice between two estranged brothers? Or that Frankie Goes To Hollywood wouldn’t go through with it … OK, I could guess that one. They were a studio creation, plain and simple. Doesn’t anyone get suspicious when a band has two singers, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, but the music is all synthesizers, all the time?

My American Idol phase will be brief. I’ve found that I like the audition phase. It’s fascinating to see 19-year-olds with severe attitude problems brought crashing to earth. (A bit like the NBA draft, isn’t it?) And I can’t help rooting for some of these people, especially the borderline people who win over Randy and Paula.

I’ll skip the rest, though. I don’t listen to any of that stuff when the pros are doing it, so why would I listen to the Idol contestants?

The return of hyperintellectual record reviewing

I’d have to listen to the whole album to see whether I agree, but as someone who spent half of his high school years reading the brilliant musical analysis in Musician and Rolling Stone magazines, it’s nice to read something like Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s essay on Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf.

Side note: Between this and a couple of Primus reviews at, I’m convinced that King Crimson exists only for the purposes of being listed as an influence. Yes, I like my fair share of progressive rock, and I’m a fan of a couple of Crimson songs. But basically, they stink. They’re the kind of music you listen to in high school to act like you’re cooler than everyone else because no one else can bear to listen to it. (OK, the kind of music I listened to …)

&*^$!! this! We’re going to Florida

A lovely layer of snow has covered the region, which would be nice except that it’s also still really, really cold. The wind chill these days reads like a GPA.

We’re also hoping to have all three of us in decent health one of these days. Brendan, whose official diagnosis was an RSV infection, is doing better and is phasing out of his nebulizer treatments. Jen is still a little congested. The newest irritation came on Saturday, when I developed heavy nausea with a low-grade fever. At one point, I thought I might be pregnant, but that’s not physically possible. (Besides, it wasn’t morning.)

So we’re staying home today and hoping to resume normal life tomorrow.

iTunes update

Downloaded tonight:

  • The Cars, Since You’re Gone
  • ZZ Top, La Grange. I’m just jealous. I’ll never have the right mix of alcohol and talent to play a groove like that or a drum fill that clever.
  • Spinal Tap, Stonehenge. Sadly truncated in the movie.
  • Filter, Hey Man Nice Shot. Special request.
  • Adam Ant, Goody Two Shoes. If writing a good pop chorus were easy, I’d do it.
  • Thompson Twins, Love on Your Side. They actually had a couple of decent songs, and this was the best. Great interlocking keyboard parts in the verses; nice contrast in the chorus.

Simpsons, Jonatha Brooke, Howard Dean

Gotta clean out my notes:

  • ESPN’s new “Page 3” could be yet another step in their delusional mindset that anything with an ESPN brand is a gold mine, but I like the greatest Simpsons sports moments list.
  • Jonatha Brooke has one of the sweetest sites on the Web, and she’s using it to release her new single. It’s good.
  • I don’t know what to make of Howard Dean. He seems dangerously unhinged at times. At other times, he makes so much sense that I don’t care if he wanders the streets of Washington screaming at people in his spare time. The lucid Dean is on display now in Rolling Stone.