Apr 23 2016

Scandalous

Adel Gabot

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11:32AM

One last thing about dear departed Prince.

You may think I’m an odd duck for this, but to me, Prince’s best song is not I Would Die 4 U, When Doves Cry, Kiss or even the iconic Purple Rain.

For me, his best song was this virtually unknown one he wrote for the soundtrack of the 1989 Tim Burton film Batman called Scandalous.

Few people remember it, or I think even heard it, it’s so obscure.

It’s part of an album of songs Prince wrote for the movie, and it’s separate and distinct from the original soundtrack album written by Danny Elfman. It’s just nine tracks all in all.

Most of the songs Prince wrote were hardly included in the film, and just a few snippets were incorporated into the film, notably The Arms of Orion, and a bit of Partyman and Lemon Crush. I think Batdance was in the closing credits.

I don’t even really remember hearing Scandalous in the actual film, save for, I think, one or two lines. I’d better rewatch the movie and make sure.

Batman was an interesting film, but it didn’t really capture my idea of the hooded hero. I bought the CD in 1989, thinking it was the Danny Elfman album, and was at first unpleasantly surprised. But as I continued to listen to Prince’s tracks, I grew to like them, particularly Scandalous. (I bought the Elfman album eventually, but it’s long forgotten now, unlike Prince’s.)

I don’t know what it is about the song, but it somehow spoke to me, with its haunting refrain and arresting verses, and I grew to love it. Yes, I love his other mainstream hits of course, but nothing matched Scandalous, at least for me. Prince’s tortured yet elegant falsetto and the repetitive slow rhythm caught my ear.

I think it’s fantastic, and an underappreciated and underrated gem from the man. That’s why I’ve played it several times since yesterday, the day of Prince’s death.

And I guess, why I will continue to play it intermittently for years to come.

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EDIT: April 24, 11:25AM – I watched Batman again, and I was wrong. It wasn’t Batdance at the end credits. It was actually the entirety of Scandalous, right after Elfman’s Main Theme that played through half the credits. Hmm. Memory can play strange tricks on you.  27 years will do that.

 


Apr 22 2016

The Artist

Adel Gabot

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3:17PM

Prince died today. He was 57.

He was found unresponsive in the elevator in his estate, and, well, there you go. He’d been feeling ill on and off the past couple of weeks, and he’d even had to go to a hospital mid-flight on his jet. But they let him go after three hours there.

I guess his time had simply come. But too soon, man, too soon. He was, to put it mildly, a living legend.

Now he was gone.

He was most in vogue during my budding career as an FM DJ in the late 80s, and continued to peak towards the end of the century and the beginning of this one.

I remember playing I Would Die 4 U and getting caught up in the wonder and magic of the song, and wondering, who is this guy?

In honor of the man, I’m playing him non-stop today on iTunes Airplayed on my Apple TV and home theater.

So long, man.

Prince Rogers Nelson, 1958-2016.


Dec 26 2015

A somewhat amusing Beatles aside

Adel Gabot

thebeatles

7:42AM

Beginning 12MN Chrismas Eve, The Beatles‘ entire oeuvre was made available to freely stream over most of the internet’s music services and other digital venues, and was made available for sale to most of the net’s music stores (with the exception of Google and Amazon) to be sold tinge, or song-by-song, instead of the by-album paradigm some holdout artists still insist on.

Finally! This is a great Christmas gift, as an acquiantance of mine said over Twitter, for oldies and oldies song lovers like me.

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You might remember me writing about Rubber Soul recently on this blog, and this development seems appropriate and timely in light of that. The Beatles have long been reticent and insistent that their work not be sold piecemeal, but now it seems they’ve had a change of heart.

Bravo, Apple Records! It sure took you long enough.

Oddly enough, this reminds me of an amusing incident a long time ago, when I was just beginning my career in FM radio as a disc jockey, back in DWRK-FM 96.3. (I was sidetracked into this work while waiting to get started on my dream career, which was to be a bestselling novelist.)

I took out a Beatles greatest hits album (I forget which now) and put it on the turntable and cued it to a song which I thought was Paperback Writer. Then, I went on the mic and said, “Coming up, a Beatles song that talks about what I would like to be when I grow up.”

On the other end of the commercial break, I played the song, and it turned out to be… Girl.

It took a long time for me to live that down.

 

 


Dec 5 2015

Rubber Soul

Adel Gabot

Rubber_Soul

1o:52PM

It’s the 50th anniversary of The Beatles‘ album Rubber Soul, and social media’s going apeshit over it. Some call it the greatest album The Beatles ever made, and some call it the most overrated album of all time, so we’re getting all sorts of feedback/tributes/condemnations.

I have a slightly different take.

I remember first encountering it as a child, when my late Ate Beth, a cousin who lived next door to us, played it constantly for a what seemed like years when it came out almost 50 years ago. I recall wandering into their house and wondering what that racket was coming from their stereo. It was a wonderfully mixed racket, to be sure, but as a precocious kid just getting his first taste of pop music, I wasn’t sure what I was listening to. I could actually hear it all the way back in my room in our house next door, so loudly Ate Beth played it.

Rubber Soul was the album that definitively began the career of The Beatles as a pop icon. It was their benchmark, and all modern pop albums can be dated to pre-Rubber Soul and post-Rubber Soul. It was the first album of theirs that didn’t even have the band’s name on the cover. It was a critical success, and a monster hit in the UK and the US, and set The Beatles on their way to be musical legends.

But truth be told, The Beatles didn’t really make an impact on me, and I was only marginally aware of Paul, John, George and Ringo in the most peripheral way possible.

I would eventually grow up to be an FM radio deejay and become an expert in pop music, but The Beatles would just be a distant and faraway influence on my musical tastes. Later on in life (after my 20-year stint in radio) I would accumulate some of their “Best Of” albums and grow to like and appreciate their music, but I never really listened to Rubber Soul again.

At least until a couple of days ago, when curiosity about all the fuss about a 50-year-old album tweaked my interest, and I downloaded a copy and installed it in iTunes.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I knew almost all the songs on it, and I could actually sing along to them. I must have unconsciously learned all the songs, soaking in all that third-hand listening all those years ago and my formative brain imbibing the songs deep down in the recesses.

Michelle. Norwegian Wood. Nowhere Man. Drive My Car. Girl. In My Life. I’m Looking Through You. You Won’t See Me. Christ, the list goes on. Now, I don’t know if this is the greatest Beatles album made, or the most overrated. All I know is, it’s been the bedrock of my musical tastes all this time, and I didn’t even know it.

So here’s to Rubber Soul, a classic on its 50th anniversary!


Nov 25 2015

A quick review of Adele’s 25

Adel Gabot

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10:42AM

Other than the fact that just an e separates our first names, there’s nothing really that singer Adele Adkins and I have in common. Wait, no. There’s also the fact that I enjoy her music as much as she does singing it.

Adele’s 27 now, but she names her album 25 (after her first two—19 and 21), because I guess that’s the mental age where she was at when she made it (she’s got co-writing credits on every track). She took a long hiatus from her career, got married and had a child, and she’s matured a lot. But largely, Adele’s still the same—the strong, booming voice that perfectly suits the angst of her general persona.

I’ve been listening to 25, her third album, since it was released last Friday (along with the whole world, I guess) and I’d like to put my two cents into the mix.

25 is classic Adele. Still the same old girl singing about heartbreak and whatnot.

Some of her songs have a little more upbeat quality to them (in a manner of speaking), but haven’t entirely lost that morose, sad touch to most of the tracks. That much is kinda new. Her debut single, Hello, which was a massive hit from the first day it was released as a preview track from the album, is one such song.

But the more “happy” tracks are few and far between though: Send My Love, Water Under The Bridge and Sweetest Devotion are just a hair more uptempo than a classic Adele song, but still they sing of heartbreak and sadness. One of the other tracks, River Lea, posits that it was something in the water that caused the trouble, which is a playful notion, considering.

25 is composed of 11 tracks, and all of them are pure Adele, which is to say, really beyond fault. They are all good, although with repeated playing they sometimes create a generally dreary and introspective atmosphere. Which is still an Adele trademark, to be sure.

Right now, she’s currently on a whirlwind promotion jag, creating an Adele at The BBC special, appearing on American talk and variety shows and a guesting on Saturday Night Live this past weekend (somehow her isolated vocal track on Hello leaked on the internet, and it just showcases her pure vocal prowess, more than anything).

If you care for good music at all, Adele’s 25 is one of this year’s must-have albums.