Friday, February 13, 2009

You're So Pedestrian

Yup. I'm officially a Lilly Allen fan now. But I should qualify that -- I'm a fan of her second album, not her first.

When I started hearing about her a couple of years back, I got a sense that I'd probably like her. But that first album just didn't do it for me. I've always had an aversion to ska, and that album was drowning in it.

The new album, however, is super bouncy. It's as if Lilly relocated from Jamaica to Northern Europe. Gone are the wobbly bass lines, replaced by lively keys and sprightly beeps. And maybe that's why it reminds me of Saint Etienne and Annie. It also reminds me of Kate Nash at times. (Funny how Lilly helped jump start Kate's career by linking to Kate's Myspace page. And then they had a spat, as if they were schoolgirls with a crush on the same guy. Now, Lilly sounds like Kate, instead of Kate sounding like Lilly. Strange. Might they start eating at the same lunch table again?)

I was at a Banana Republic over the weekend when I heard this catchy tune. I was surprised that BR was playing a song I liked that I didn't already own. (They tend to have a pretty good soundtrack going, actually. Saint Etienne and Phoenix seem to be staples.) If I had been at, say, anotheroom, I wouldn't have hesitated asking the bartender for the name of the song. But there was no way I was going to concede defeat by querying a BR clerk. I was troubled that the decision could mean that I'd never figure out the name of a song that I rather enjoyed, but I was prepared to live with that. Lo and behold, I wasn't punished for my stubborness! Lilly was on the Today Show Tuesday morning, and she performed the song I heard at BR -- "The Fear."

Man, that would've been damn shameful going up to a BR clerk to ask about a Lilly Allen song. Fortunately, I walked away with my dignity and still got the track name.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pick up your wedge and push, damn it!

I'm thoroughly annoyed by the announcement that Gregg has withdrawn his nomination as Commerce Secretary. It's not that I'm a Gregg fan; it's that he shouldn't have been nominated in the first place.

Perhaps this will finally make Obama realize that bipartisanship has no inherent value; it’s only meaningful if it achieves an optimal result. Nominating a fiscally conservative Republican to head the Department of Commerce at a time when virtually every credible economist agrees that massive government spending is in order? As ill-advised as it was bold.

He knows what needs to be done. He has majorities in both chambers of Congress. He (hopefully still) has a vast amount of political goodwill with the American public. So he ought to quit bending over backwards trying to demonstrate how nicely he’s willing to play. Just do what needs to be done and let the results speak for themselves!

It bewilders me why he’s acting infinitely more timidly than Bush -- a man who declared “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it” after prevailing with the slimmest of margins.

You’ve earned a big huge wedge, Obama. Now start using it! Geez! We don't need Kumbaya; we need action already. I hope he doesn't end up as a classic case of someone trying to please everyone who ends up pleasing no one.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The desert beckons, and we answer!

Woohoo! I thought our Coachella days had come and gone, but we're off to the Empire Polo Grounds yet again!

My music buddies and I went to Coachella in 2005 and 2006. We had expected to make Coachella an annual reunion. But those intentions hit a snag the last couple of years because the Coachella organizers put together some lackluster lineups. I mean, Prince as a headliner? What the hell!

But it seems they've gotten the crapitude out of their system. Can't wait to be back in the valley, watching some of my favorite bands perform on a stage inset between two mountains, with the sun setting in the background.

Maybe Johnny Marr will show up for an unannounced Smiths reunion? Yeah ... it's a delusional thought, I know. But life may be just about complete if that were to happen.