RIP, Tom Petty

October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017



The pop scene moves at blazing speeds nowadays, what with the instant gratification culture of the internet, the social media news cycle, etc. So timespans of only a few years begin to feel like decades stretching forwards and back toward infinity. 2013 feels like a life cycle ago, but it was practically yesterday. Time is a flat pancake, is it not? I discovered a lot of new things in 2013, because that was the year I listened to the radio a lot. So when you discovered the same things two years later, I can confidently say that I’ve known about those things for ages, just ages and ages, like eons of geological time. Ahem.. I was listening to Chvrches before they became well known. Four years ago. Do you know how many fruit flies have lived and died in that timespan?

Reckless Driver

It’s a PSA! It’s educational, it’s a warning. It might be a satire of the particularly 80’s trend for cheesy PSA’s. It’s Timbuk 3 and it’s all of those things. Timbuk 3 is the cult 80’s band that everybody needs to know about, but nobody does. They might be remembered for having one popular hit song, which satirized the 80’s glaringly misguided sense of optimism. What makes their small output still relevant is their clever and sardonic writing. Some things are forever marked as products of their time, whether it’s bad production decisions or too-pointed cultural references, but big issues don’t change much, and the human condition changes not at all. Driving poorly, for example, is forever.


Supergroups don’t work. Because of clashing egos, incompatible schedules, wildly differing lifestyles, and the unbearable weight of expectations. Mostly the last one though. Supergroups don’t work because they don’t end up being more than the sum of their talented parts. The Traveling Wilburys remain the greatest supergroup to ever have come together, probably because they weren’t very ambitious. They didn’t try to outshine their collective legacies. How could they? They were George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, plus a couple of other guys. They were just good buddies who wanted to make a record together, and that alone made them more than the sum of their parts. Because, when it comes down to it, in the cutthroat ego-driven music industry, not very many projects are actually motivated by fun and camaraderie. The Wilburys made something special – a fun record made by friends having fun. Ambition is the destroyer of fun, as is hype. Friendship is magic, you guys! D’awww.

Rain Street

Enjoy a taste from the last ‘real’ Pogues album. Maybe you didn’t realize that the Pogues continued trying to be a thing after Shane MacGowan left – and they actually made at least one pretty good record without him. But it wasn’t quite the same. Didn’t quite have the same fire. He may have been an unsustainable frontman, but he was a complling one. I can’t say that Hell’s Ditch is up there with the classic stuff, but I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s more woozy than fiery, but it has atmosphere. The whole point of a Pogues album is to disabuse you of the idea that Irish music is supposed to be relaxing. This is only halfway to that.