Playlist for the pandemic -- we screwed up phase

So COVID-19 reveals are on the rise, the world is frying, while society drowns in unemployment, racism, police violence and predatory neoliberal economics and the best we can do is CHOP. We will need music to cope with such a situation. I'll post a diary about the situation later.

This is what's on my playlist. In the list I will cite the album and then a good song within the album.


Anomie Belle -- Sleeping Patterns

This was Anomie Belle's first (2008) and best album. Anomie Belle is an artist from Seattle who can do anything and everything. It combines her clever multiinstrumentalism with thoughtful lyrics and electronic collage. It stands up under repeated listenings. Do not know what she's doing these days, though it's clear that if she wants to do it, it will happen.


Bruce Cockburn -- Stealing Fire

Portions of this album were inspired by a trip to Nicaragua during the early portions of the post-revolutionary period there, before it all turned sour, and to Guatemala after or maybe even during the genocide. This album is from 1984. There's plenty of Bruce Cockburn, more than thirty albums, very much Canadian, mystic Christian, leftist. Somehow this one made it to my list in this historical time. He's still alive and playing guitar far better than most anyone. I remember encountering this album as it was played by some rather do-it-yourself hippies living on the east slopes of the Cascades in Washington state. Electricity was their luxury.


Jefferson Airplane -- Crown of Creation

It's not really meaningful to compare this (1968) album to anything else Jefferson Airplane ever did, before or afterward. It doesn't harmonize like "Surrealistic Pillow" nor is it fizzy like "After Bathing at Baxter's." Nor does it alternate anthems and mellow stuff like, I don't know, any number of subsequent albums. This album appears as a sort of after-record of an acid trip that went in a different direction, an experience that only happened once. It contains Jorma Kaukonen's most profound song ("Star Track") and Marty Balin's artistic peak ("If You Feel"). It has Grace Slick singing a song David Crosby did with the Byrds but which they didn't release ("Triad"). It imagines nuclear war. It's one of this group's best albums in a lot of ways some people won't point out because they wanted something else. Paul, Marty, and Spencer passed away; Grace is painting; Jorma and Jack are a blues band.


The Beatles -- White Album

This was the Beatles' attempt at an album with some political content, though it comes off really gracefully. There's something really high-powered about this one and about the second half of "Abbey Road," though if you really want to listen to the product of extensive Beatle fidgeting, there's always the song "Strawberry Fields Forever," John Lennon's creature, on the "Magical Mystery Tour" album. The second half of this album, corresponding to the second vinyl disc, is especially pertinent in this time and space for its emotional resonances. John and George are dead, Ringo is still fun, and Paul gave away a ton of wealth to some woman named Heather Mills.


Joni Mitchell -- Dog Eat Dog

Joniphiles don't always think much of this album, since it's more rock-and-roll than the Joni blend of jazz and meandering observation that was previously stretched out until it became "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter," her double album of 1977. I don't particularly care. This one is from 1985 and is bitter and sometimes profound, but not as extremely so as her final album "Shine." Poor Joni is in bad shape these days, but slowly recovering, or at least that was what I heard last.


Pink Floyd "Animals," Roger Waters "Amused to Death,"

These are both pretty much Roger Waters albums; the Pink Floyd album "Animals" (1977) is Waters' inspiration with a lot of really important and quite phenomenal David Gilmour work on the song "Dogs." I like the Roger Waters tight, poignant insights about capitalism. The other album is fantastic and is from 1992. Nobody else would name an album after a Neil Postman book. I have no idea what the folks who attend his enormous concert spectacles think about his material. I might later add the more recent album "Is This The Life We Really Want?" to the playlist. Waters is still alive, still doing good things on the Internet.


Peter Gabriel -- "Us"

Peter Gabriel was the lead singer of the art-rock band "Genesis" before he quit in 1975 and developed a solo career. His first four solo studio albums are all of a piece; they're sonorous and sensuous and symphonic and the lyrics are ponderous. He deserved all the reverence he received from the Seventies and Eighties versions of me and from those whom I knew. The songs in his later albums have more of a beat; the best of those later albums is "Us." I listened to "Us" through early Ph.D. school, 1992 and 1993. I can't really bring myself to care about Peter Gabriel stuff that came afterward -- it's like, as an art-rock kind of guy, his older version has earned the right to be preserved in amber and installed in an imaginary museum.


What I really want to do is compose a song of my own with the general theme: "If we were in Europe this would be over by now, but we're not, so it isn't." I'll call it the "COVID-19 Blues" or something like that.

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Cassiodorus's picture

but not the whole album --

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

magiamma's picture

Right. LOL. Had a friend in the early sixties that wrote a song called the dextromethorphan hydrobromide blues.

have a good one (and maybe tell me more about what you meant in you comment in hot air please).

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

good buncha musicians you have here.

Workin at the corona wash blues

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k9disc's picture

It's been on my playlist for a while now. It shows quite a few of the "screw ups".

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Cassiodorus's picture

@k9disc and watch out!

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

k9disc's picture

narrative perspective.

Each scene lays out a "screw up".

The Biolab and her escape. The huge Wuhan social conglomerating buffet. The talking into Winnie the Poo's ear (Xi) - planning the response. Tedros and Xi walking her into the world - the hush money in tedros' pockets - I'm sure the purple dangles have meaning. Her masquerading in the military. The quarantine centers stuffed full with her leaving quarantine and hopping a plane. Shaking hands with world leaders... It is very smart and historically accurate, IMO.

I think it is far more than a perverse glorification. That said, I do feel a bit guilty about liking it and being affected by it.

@Cassiodorus

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Pluto's Republic's picture

...is filled with thoughts. New thoughts. Heard things I didn't know I knew.

Thanks for posting it.

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Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

— Martin Luther King

Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic that is simultaneously thoughtful and volcanic...

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

Pleased to see Crown Of Creation make the list. Lyrics straight from John Wyndham's The Chrysalids, with his permission.
"You are the crown of creation
And you've got no place to go.
Soon
you'll attain the stability you strive for
in the only way that it's granted
in a place among the fossils of our time."

I learned to read on sf. One of my favorite books was the John Wyndham Omnibus: triffids, kraken, chrysalids. Written in the 50s, it featured polar icecaps melting, London flooding, genetic engineering (and orbital weapons) gone wrong, nuclear war, and xristian fundamentalism ("thou shalt not suffer a mutant to live"). One young girl in The Chrysalids had six toes and was condemned to death. I graduated straight from sf fan to freek. Thrilled with Crown Of Creation and Blows Against The Empire, which featured a long list of sf writers as a dedication.

I've been car-caravan marching about black deaths in custody since April (stay encapsulated, flash lights and honk horns, signs on car), and cranking that title song on the car radio. Someone else was doing the same with "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

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If I'm wrong, it's the first time I'm happy to be confused. -Don Van Vliet

Cassiodorus's picture

@pindar's revenge That's something Paul would do. Paul, rest in peace.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus
Good sign on a car:
"CAPITALISM NEEDS RACISM"

Time to tie it all together. Racism, capitalism, the ravaging of the planet that hurts the poorest worst.

It bothers me to be losing many of our best. Some to just age, but lately many to this avoidable raging pandemic. Stoked by vanity and plundered by opportunists.

Yes, RIP Paul.

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If I'm wrong, it's the first time I'm happy to be confused. -Don Van Vliet