Tag Archive: classic rock


Janis1

The Forever 27 Club is an organization nobody wants to be part of. So many stupidly talented artists have thrown their lives away and died at young ages because they lost battles to addiction, depression, and their own inner demons. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and others that aren’t as well-known. Of course, another one of the most famous members of that particular club is classic rock/blues legend Janis Joplin who’s ferocious voice and pure, raw talent helped to define an era. Listening to Janis Joplin sing is the act of experiencing honest and overpowering emotion, and this is coming from someone who’s always found her to be one of the more over-rated stars of the classic rock era. 1974’s documentary tribute to the late icon, Janis, made me appreciate her talent more than I had in the past even if its structure is a little disjointed and unfocused.

Never incorporating typical documentary narration, Janis looks at the life of Port Arthur, Texas, born Janis Joplin through rare concert footage as well as archival interviews that no one has probably seen since they aired on TV forty years ago. You also get some more personal peeks into Janis’s life such as her 10th year high school reunion (she would be dead less than a year later) as well as some studio rehearsal. And, with the concerts, you see several wonderful performances in Canada. You see her truly legendary performance at the Monterrey Pop Music Festival as well as one of her songs from the original 1969 Woodstock (most of those performances have already been well-chronicled in the Woodstock concert film). And along the way, you get a picture of how sad Janis was beneath it all.

Janis2

I would say that somewhere around 75% of the film is concert footage so if they chose bad performances, the whole movie would crumble. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. While the performances in this film don’t quite match the level of classic concert movies like Stop Making Sense or Woodstock, it’s still an awesome showcase for Janis Joplin’s goose-bumps inducing voice. In fact, my only complaint about the performances of the film is that my favorite Janis Joplin song isn’t one of them (“Me and Bobby McGee” which is a studio version heard over a photo montage at the end of the film). When Janis sings and she’s really grooving on a number, it would give me chills. And, I was also pleasantly surprised by how good her backing band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, was at laying down a psychedelic groove. If you can’t tell, I miss psychedelic rock.

My only real complaint about the film (other than the fact that there was nothing absolutely perfect about it like Stop Making Sense) was a series of structural complaints. If the movie wanted to be a concert film, it should have been a concert film. If it wanted to be biographical, it should have been biographical. If it wanted to be both (which is clearly what it was trying to do), it should have done a better job of balancing things out. As I said, roughly 75% of the film is concert footage and it makes all of the interviews and found footage seem so awkward when it finally does show up. It certainly doesn’t help that none of the archival footage seems to add much to the audience’s understanding of Janis. Though there is one segment where she’s on a talk show talking to the host after an awesome performance where you find out that despite her clearly sad interior, Janis also had a wicked sense of humor.

Janis3

I’ll keep this review short cause I’m still really buzzed on cold medicine. And I have no idea when I’m going to feel any better. Hopefully tomorrow. I especially hope that I’m feeling at least somewhat better tomorrow because I have an Ingmar Bergman movie to watch from Netflix, Through a Glass Darkly, and clearly I want to be in my best frame of my mind to watch something from the great masterful Swede. Anyways, if you’re a fan of Janis Joplin, this will be a fun look at some footage of her performing that you may not have seen before. If you’re not a Janis fan, you probably won’t need to go out of your way to watch this particular film (which is currently available to watch instantly on Netflix), but for fans of classic rock and one of the great blues singers of the classic rock era, Janis is worth your time.

Final Score: B+

 

TheBeatles1

This is going to be the 1000th post I’ve written for this blog. I’ll likely write a post this evening or tomorrow commemorating that milestone, but I wanted to ensure that the actual 1000th post was for something significant. Had I not checked the administrative page for this blog first, I wouldn’t have even realized it. And this post would have been a review of the absurdly god-awful 2012 adaptation of Les Miserables (but that review will get put up later). Thankfully, I kept that from happening and instead it can be what may possibly be my favorite song from my favorite band of all time. I’m going to be seeing Paul McCartney in a month at Bonnaroo (something that I am inexpressibly excited for), and although I’m fairly certain that I won’t be fortunate enough to hear this song, simply being in the presence of the man who wrote so many of the greatest songs of all time will certainly suffice.

BruceSpringsteen1

I’m going to keep this post short. I’m not in the best of moods right now, and so, why not pick one of the angriest songs off of Bruce Springsteen’s last album, Wrecking Ball, to describe my mood. I have to be vague about why I’m so furious right now, but readers don’t need to worry. I’ll be fine. Actually, picking this song is probably me being at least mildly evil, but I don’t care. Everybody has a limit. I reached mine.

 

FleetwoodMac1

So, I’m going to see Fleetwood Mac in concert tonight. To say that I’m stoked for this would be quite the understatement. Fleetwood Mac has been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid. In fact, along with the soundtrack to Grease, it’s one of the first CDs that I can remember my family owning. The other first CD that I can remember from my childhood is more embarrassing and is a story I’ll wait to share for another day. In high school (back before the ages of smart phones with music in them), I would use my CD player/alarm clock to wake up at 6 AM for classes (I still don’t know how I managed to do that), and for a good two years, Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits album was what I woke up to every day. It was always “Rhiannon,” which, while a great song, is not the best song to energize one in the morning upon further reflection. Anyways, if there’s one song I absolutely need to hear tonight, it’s “Dreams” from their classic 1977 album, Rumours. It’s my favorite Fleetwood Mac song (along with “Little Lies” and “Gypsy). Anyways, I hope tonight’s show is good. My sister and I have floor seats .Should be a lot of fun.

DavidBowie2

I reviewed The Perks of Being a Wallflower earlier today (although I’m so much sinus and cold medication today that it feels like that happened weeks ago) and as I mentioned in my review, that movie makes possibly the greatest use of a David Bowie song in a movie soundtrack ever. There is a scene where David Bowie’s underrated classic “Heroes” is playing while Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are driving Miller’s truck through the tunnel into Pittsburgh proper. They don’t know the name of the song (though all of the true Bowie fanatics in the audience do), but they love it. Logan Lerman is stoned and Emma Watson climbs out through the backwindow of the truck to stand up in the tunnel. And there was just something so iconic and triumphant about the scene that more than almost any other moment from the film, it just stuck with me. In a film full to the brim of moments that rang true, it’s sincerity and charm was almost overwhelming. So, I leave you with David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Enjoy. (Aside: this version of the song is about half as long as the studio version.)

PaulMcCartney1

So, they finally announced the line-up for the 2013 Bonnaroo… Let me just say that it’s going to be pretty awesome. I’m not actually sure if the line-up is better than last year, but man, just man. I nearly cried when they announced one of the artists that was playing. Of course, I’m talking about Paul McCartney who is headlining. I’m going to Bonnaroo 2013. As soon as I wake up on Saturday, the first thing that I’m doing is buying tickets. If you think there is any chance that I’m going to miss a chance to see one of the only two remaining Beatles live alongside other artists that I love like The National and Beach House and Tom Petty and Wu-Tang Clan, then you are craaaaaaaaaazzzzzzyyyy. So, yeah, I get to see f***ing Paul McCartney live in about four months and it is going to be beautiful. It’s not one of my favorite Beatles songs (and I’m pretty sure Paul does Beatles songs that he wrote in his live shows), but if there’s an 80,000 person sing-along to “Hey Jude,” I’ll just f***ing weep the entire time. The emotions will be too high. It will be almost unbearable. If you can’t tell, I’m super stoked for Bonnaroo now. Hell yes!

Foreigner1

Can I admit that Foreigner are by all objective standards a pretty mediocre hard rock band from the late 1970s and early 1980s, and that they probably represented everything wrong with the commercialization and “pop”-ification of rock & roll but then also still say that I love the f*** out of these guys. Seriously, I love Foreigner. Put their greatest hits album on and I’m going to sing along and know the words of more or less every song on there. They’re cheesy as hell. The songs are cliche-ridden. They don’t really have a lot of technical mastery of their instruments. They don’t bring anything new to the table. But for some f***ing terrible reason, I still love Foreigner. I have three of their records on vinyl now, and today’s song comes from their hit album 4. Of course, I’m using “Jukebox Hero” because if you’ve never screamed along with this song, you’re lying or you’ve never heard it. Enjoy.

PhilCollins1

So, the other day at work, I bought a shit ton of records on vinyl. Actually not that many. Just six. But some lady sold back like 140 records to our store and she had some really good stuff in there. I bought Prince’s Purple Rain, Billy Joel’s The Stranger and his An Innocent Man, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., Men at Work’s Business as Usual, and Phil Collins No Jacket Required. With that last one, I can finally act out the famous “Sussudio” scene from American Psycho (I’m joking before somebody tries to have me committed). No Jacket Required was a big commercial and critical success for Collins and really marked the beginning of him breaking away from Genesis (although lord knows why he’d want to do that). I’ve always loved the song “Take Me Home” (even when Bone Thugz-N-Harmony used it for one of their songs), and so that’s my Song of the day for today. Enjoy.

 

BillyJoel1

If you don’t like Billy Joel, the only reasonable explanation is false hipster snobbery. He’s one of the greatest American songwriters of all time. At his prime, I’m not sure if anybody out there was better. This particular track, “Tell Her About It,” comes off his seminal classic record, An Innocent Man. I’m not sure why this song is resonating with me right now but I found myself singing it on my car ride home from work today. It’s always been one of my favorite Billy Joel tunes, and for some reason, I’m just really feeling it right now. My original plan had been to use a song from the new Fiction Family record but Billy Joel wins right now. Sing me a song piano man.

 

BadCompany1

Real talk time. As much as I can be a super-duper hipster about my taste in music, I love cheesy 70s classic rock more than I can possibly describe. Like, it’s a bit of a problem. On some level, I think I know that these bands are all sort of terrible and corporate. But, I like them. And I have to blame my dad (in the best possible way) for this shit because I know I wouldn’t listen to these groups if it weren’t for him. And one of those cheesy 70s rock bands that I can’t help but love is Bad Company. Like, yeah, it’s not good, but I love Bad Company and I especially love their song “Shooting Star.” That speaks as much to my love of 70s power ballads as it does to my love of cheesy 70s rock in general. Anyways, this is, for reasons I can’t really explain, one of my favorite rock songs of the 1970s. Enjoy but don’t expect to understand why I do. This is from my vinyl collection off of Bad Company’s 1975 hit Straight Shooter.