Nick Cave really makes marriage sound like a life sentence with no chance of parole, although, by all accounts, he has a lovely one himself. Well, for many people, that’s exactly what it is. For anyone who looks at ideal models of romance and sees a life-sucking bottomless void, Nick Cave is your man, your guy, your guru, your creep at the door. He’s your ringmaster of why everything is bad and wrong. And that, perversely, makes the dark nights a little more comfortable, if not brighter.
Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt was one of my favorite records from last year, and I think that it’s going to be a keeper. You can say, derisively, that Moby’s records all kind of sound the same, which, well… yeah. Nobody wants him to make a hardcore punk rock album. We want him to keep making atmospheric dreampop about aesthetically pleasing lite sadness. Because I really honestly cannot get enough of this ethereal moodiness.
No one ever did psychedelic epics quite like Pink Floyd. Which amazingly, they managed to successfully do long after the ‘psychedelic’ descriptor fell out of style. From ‘psychedelic’ to ‘progressive’ to infinity, as they say. Pink Floyd distinguished themselves in the 60’s, when everyone was competing to see just how long of an extended Moog solo they could get people to sit and listen to. By the end of the 80’s the ideals of psychedelia and the ambitions of prog were on no one’s mind, but Pink Floyd was still selling out stadiums, and all despite their own internal rancor and legal wrangles.
David Bowie imagines himself as the world’s weirdest lounge act, complete with a satin suit, and campy covers of decade-old pop hits. It felt like quite a novelty and it still does. There’s some suspension of disbelief required, watching a vermilion-haired alien croon about chasing some Earth-dame as if this rock messiah would stoop to the childish dating rituals the original McCoys song was referring to. Tongue-entirely-in-cheek of course.
Today’s mood is the hypnotic electronic goth music of ThouShaltNot. It’s more nighttime or rainy day music, but I find it quite relaxing without being overly gloomy. My inner goth kid, meanwhile, wants to be entertained by something besides the same five dead bands from the 80’s, so if anyone wants to play “you wouldn’t have heard of them”…
Sarah Vaughan strikes a mood. Vaughan had a voice like silk and satin, and she made everything she touched sound refined. So, she could almost be singing about herself, for she was an icon of sophistication in her time. The refinement must always be tinged with melancholy, implying that it has been gained at great cost, for otherwise it wouldn’t be anything more than a pose.
I’ve discovered that I really like the Alan Parsons Project’s early-80’s synthpop, because it blends right in with today’s synthpop. I mean, I knew who Alan Parsons was, but I never allowed myself to enjoy his music more than a little bit, because it felt like ‘wimpy music’ for a snobby teenager with weird and specific standards of cool. But what comes around comes from somewhere, so they say, and even though not a lot of people would point to Vulture Culture as a seminal work of great import, I guess it was more influential than I thought. It sounds pretty on-point, now that music that sounds like this is widely popular again.