Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Eagles - "Seven Bridges Road" (spotlight)

I'm getting tired of having to acknowledge the passing of legends...  Yesterday Glenn Frey, co-founder of the Eagles, died.  The Eagles were so good at the entire Southwest, country-rock crossover thing, they experienced an inevitable backlash -- it became cool to hate them because of their success (and the 70s-era excess they represented).  But the truth is anyone who was raised on AOR (now known as classic rock) stations, as this Gen Xer was,  knows most of their songs by heart.

I'll choose to remember them not for any of the dozens of popular songs they wrote, but for a cover of a Steve Young song, "Seven Bridges Road",  they released in 1980 (from "Eagles Live") as their last single before they reunited in 1994.  For a band that spent most of their time fighting each other, the five part harmony of this mostly a cappella song was a nice metaphor for what they could achieve together. 

Eagles - "Seven Bridges Road"

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie - "Blackstar" (spotlight)

David Bowie died yesterday.  Obviously when an icon of this stature dies it is tempting to recall any of his numerous popular and/or influential works (with "Low" being an example of influential but not really popular, at least by comparison to other works in his canon). 

Instead, I prefer to draw your attention to "Blackstar", which came out about six weeks ago, right before Thanksgiving.  I heard it driving home one night on "Out of the Box" and was struck by the fact that although it was clearly David Bowie, it sounded like classic Bowie but I couldn't identify the song.  And there were modern influences as well, so maybe it wasn't a classic song.  And "Out of the Box" focuses on new music -- was this a re-release?.  Was it another artist ripping off Bowie?  Eventually I was able to shazam the song and learn that it was the title track from his forthcoming LP (which was released just two days before his death).

I texted & emailed with all my music buddies saying "you need to check out this new Bowie song".  The summary of those conversations was how effortlessly it was both modern & classic, seamlessly incorporating the past & present.  And as a bonus, the video was mysterious & freaky.  I had planned to blog about it then, but with the holidays it got delayed.  His illness had not been made public, so I did not realize there was much time left.

So don't just remember Ziggy Stardust and other characters.  Remember Bowie for making engaging, challenging music for his entire career, even right at the end. 

David Bowie - "Blackstar".