ALBUM REVIEW FOR: Listen To Me: Buddy Holly
I love Buddy Holly. When I was a little kid, my dad used to play his songs for me on the guitar, especially ‘Everyday’ and ‘Peggy Sue’. They were such amazing tunes — seemingly simple, yet so catchy — and they always made me happy. The fact that they could be equally enjoyed by a 5 year old (me) and a dude in his 30s (my dad) speaks volumes, I think. As an adult, whenever I’m feeling a little blue I always return to those songs that made me feel such joy when I was young. And Buddy Holly really did write joyful songs. You can hear the enthusiasm and optimism in all of his tunes. Even the ones about heartbreak are strangely (and pleasingly) cheerful, as if he’s saying “well, that’s the way life goes! You win some, you lose some”. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that for someone who was only 22 (!!) when he died, his songs, though straightforward, resonate with an emotional and lyrical maturity that is fairly extraordinary.
So you can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to review Listen To Me: Buddy Holly, a new tribute compilation featuring iconic artists such as Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, and Linda Ronstadt. There’s also newer artists included too, from Pat Monahan to Zooey Deschanel to The Fray and Cobra Starship.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the 16 tracks:
In the days leading up to seeing The Cars I had that same excited feeling I had before seeing The Police. I’ve loved both of these bands since I was first able to buy their 45’s with my allowance money. Now I had the money and means (my bike) to see The Cars play on Friday, May 20th at the Sound Academy in Toronto. I chanced it and did not buy a ticket. It was a Friday night on the first long weekend of the summer — of course I’m going for scalpers. After some haggling I got a $76 ticket for $35, not bad. It was an early start, 8pm — that’s the way I like it nowadays. You have choices after the show — go out or go to sleep.
I love going to reunion gigs. You get a chance to mingle with your contemporaries and relive all the great moments that the band has given you over the years. The first challenge was finding a good spot. I settled in about halfway back from the front near the bar, and there he was: Mr. Rick Ocasek — standing like a statue delivering his beat poet prose. To his left, Greg Hawkes ripping synth riffs that laid the blueprint for New Wave and cut into you, making you question “do we even need guitars?” After a somewhat sluggish version of “My Best Friend’s Girl,” Ocasek dedicated the next song, “Touch and Go,” to Benjamin Orr with Greg Hawkes playing bass. The audience responded with warm applause. I got the feeling we were all thinking about how much Orr is missed, recognizing the loss and pulling for them to play his songs (“Just what I Needed”, “Let’s Go”, “Candy-O”, “Drive”…)
The highlights included “Touch and Go” — going from lonely despair to a clickety clack country ride, “Let’s Go” — with the audience screaming “I like the night life baby,” the condensed pounding of “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” and the trippy, uneasy “Moving in Stereo” (yes, I did think of the scene in Fast Times Ridgemont High). “Sad Song” and “Free” from the new album Move Like This reminded me that they can still craft smooth ballads and angular, bouncy pop songs with equal aplomb.
Was I blown way? No. Did I have smile on my face all night? Yes…and I bought the T-shirt.
everyone knows that rock stars have the best style. they can get away with wearing the most outrageous ensembles (bootsy collins, seriously, wtf) and no one so much as bats an eyelash. i have a theory for why this is the case: a) they don’t have corporate day jobs that require them to wear stuffy work clothes, and b) they are somewhat insane.
our first “spotlight on style” profiles a man who needs no introduction. one of the greatest guitar players of all time, he was also an exceptionally stylish fellow. he fused day-glo psychedelic patterns, boho-esque flowing scarves, and sgt. pepper-style military regalia into one sartorially splendorific mess.
let us examine some of his most flamboyant stylings:
SGT. PEPPER ON ACID:
jimi was clearly a fan of the military jacket, and he rocked it hard, pairing it with skinny trousers & gold medallions:
Author: Charles R. Cross
What’s the Story, Morning Glory: The very sad story of a brilliant, troubled, fragile soul
Who Are You: The reluctant voice of a generation
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy: Surprisingly…no
Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About: Two words — Courtney & heroin
Paperback Writer: The big leagues
Add It Up: Put it on your reading list