Summertime Sadness

March 30, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

Summertime Sadness (by Lana Del Ray) (written by Lana Del Ray and Rick Nowels; released June 2012)           [As Miranda famously said, “the end of summer is like someone dying.” This elegiac fable of doomed, dying lovers is brilliant and beautiful, a kind of pop “Gloomy Sunday” with an Ennio Morricone-spaghetti-western feel. Sensational.] x

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More Than Naught

March 25, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

25 March 1977: Stiff Records release Elvis‘ first single, the incendiary Less Than Zero, a bitter snipe at British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. This was the song he famously terminated early on ‘Saturday Night Live’, since it would have gone over American heads at that stage (later he uncorked a ‘Dallas’ version of the song, with lyrics more suitable to U.S. audiences). It was described variously as “a trebly hybrid of ska and garage punk“* and “a crunchy anthem to nothingness.“** Elvis thinks it might have been the song he was playing when he was arrested for obstructing a footpath and ‘causing…

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Béla Bartok

March 25, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera |

Béla Bartok (25 March 1881 – 26 September 1945) only wrote one opera (as did Beethoven) but it was a beaut.  Bluebeard’s Castle (1918) was based on the grim fairy tale by Perrault about the Duke with skeletons in the cupboard (literally). It’s a timeless theme of wiles, deceit and blood-letting that has attracted our interest as a trope previously. In this operetta however, there’s no bloody chamber but a lot of nasty foreboding, atmospherics created almost solely by Bartok’s spiky music.  Instead of being a killer, he’s a collector.  His (apparently complicit) former wives have, according to Bluebeard, “gathered all my riches….

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March 21, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
ABBA at Madame Tussauds (picture by Danny15)

ABBA at Madame Tussauds (picture by Danny15)

Waterloo (by Abba) (written by Stig Anderson, Benny Andersson and Bjorn UIlvaeus; released March 1974) [This Troll-rocker is sensational, almost too good for Eurovision, which it blitzed in April 1974, even beating our own ONJ. It gets into your head like a gummy-bear dream and stays. And weren’t they all great? Two naughty boys and two lovely lasses, from Sweden by way of Eden! We miss them.] x ABBA’s production values are superb, elevating their bubble-gum pop to another level. The lyrics are fairly infantile but somehow, it all works.  Clean and crisp, unlike the battle from which it…

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Chuck’s off to the Promised Land

March 19, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
Chuck_Berry_1957 (1)4

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) Goodbye Charles!  Millions will miss you. Will your great spare style and R ‘n’ R, R & B songs come back in style? You never can tell. x

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