Phil (of Running The Voodoo Down) asked his reader’s to answer a series of questions and post them in his comments. I thought they were interesting enough to share with my readers and to make the same request to fill up my comment box. What follows are Phil’s questions and my answers:
1) What song or album did you have to listen to multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it
Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies. Ended up being my favorite Kinks album, but it didn’t sound like anything I liked about the Kinks.
2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Sex Pistols. Wonderful product, horrible music.
3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another song within a song
AC/DC – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. I still smile when he throws “TNT” and “High Voltage” as possible ways to ff the offending personage.
4) Favorite Stax/Volt song
Only one… today, it’s “Able Mable”. Tomorrow could be “Bootleg”, or “You Don’t Miss Your Water” or a dozen other tracks.
5) Your favorite music video
I haven’t watched many videos since I was a kid, but I still like “Sledgehammer” and maybe “Sabotage”.
6) Nas or Jay-Z?
Nas, but more by default than choice. I’ve always gritted my teeth at Jay-Z’s habit of lazily falling off the beat. If the line you write is meant to fit the rhythm in a tight and meticulous fashion (as opposed to MCs who play off the beat like jazz soloists, working to accentuate their rhymes and flow), then hit the mark. Don’t drift away on the fifth line, never to return.
7) Song or album that, despite being from a genre you don’t typically follow, led you to appreciate that genre’s possibilities
I’m not big on the ambient or post-rock genres, but the MONO/World’s End Girlfriend album Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain is one of the best things I’ve heard in the last six months. Evocative and beautiful.
8) Favorite Rolling Stones song
“Little T&A”, but I’m not much of a Stones fan.
9) The Clash or the Ramones?
The Clash, but the best of both are pretty unimpeachable.
10) What song can make a shitty day seem less shitty?
“Bring It On Home To Me” – Sam Cooke, from Live At The Harlem Square Club.
11) Conversely, what song can make you wish you were deaf, at least temporarily, whenever it comes on the radio/TV/grocery store PA?
“Paradise By The Dashboard Light” – Meatloaf fills me with thoughts of violence, pure white hot rage.
12) Favorite James Brown song
“Licking Stick-Licking Stick”, from Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.
13) Beck or Bjork?
Bjork by a landslide. Excepting Mutations, I could pretty much leave all of Beck’s catalog alone.
14) What is the most inventive usage of a sample you’ve ever heard?
I’m unsure of what is really the heart of this question – I’ve been surprised (say, Timbaland sampling Area Code 615 for Bubba Sparxxx), I’ve been impressed (Paul’s Boutique), but inventive? Maybe the Butthole Surfers with “22 Going On 23” – they took a radio call in help show and made the most disturbing, menacing and dark thing I’ve ever heard.
15) Robert Christgau once wrote that “All good rock and roll risks fascism simply by generating mass energy, and much of it flirts with sexism simply by exploring the music’s traditional subject matter. Sometimes the risks are worth it, sometimes they aren’t.” What are your favorite examples of the former and the latter?
I don’t see any truth in this statement.
16) Favorite Miles Davis song
Not really a fan, but I like some of the late 60s quintet recordings, say “Nefertiti”.
17) Favorite song about comic book characters
18) Betty Davis or Millie Jackson?
19) Your favorite, or most despised, lyrical cliché
People as food stuffs in a sexual way is rather tired.
20) Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction — yes or no?
Yes. Still a great hard rock album, big dirty riffs and Axl as sleaze vs. creep.
21) Favorite Wu-Tang verse
Haven’t cared since 95.
22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
Slade. Nothing quite like them, and they were pretty much solid gold from 71-75.
23) Your favorite rock song to not use guitar (or favorite jazz song to not use piano, or favorite rap song to not use samples/scratching)
Rap song: Devin The Dude – “Brairpatch”.
24) MF DOOM or Madlib?
Better together, like Peanut Butter & Jelly, but Operation: Doomsday is better than the Madlib I’ve heard.
25) Your favorite live album
Sam Cooke – Live At The Harlem Square Club.
26) What alternate take/demo version/remix do you like more than the original version?
Elvis Costello – “Green Shirt (demo)”.
27) Favorite song on which Duane Allman plays guitar
Wilson Pickett – “Hey Jude”.
28) Portishead or Massive Attack?
29) Your favorite Captain Beefheart song title
“I Wanna Find A Woman That’ll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go” from Lick My Decals Off, Baby.
30) As a music fan, what do you want from a music critic, or from music criticism? And where do you see music criticism in general headed?
I want less reviews and more thought. Prior to the last few years, reviews were critical because most music being reviewed the reader would never hear. Now you can sample almost anything, whether through online stores, band or label websites, myspace, etc. I would love to read more criticism that aimed less at telling me what something is (press releases are everywhere, too), but more on why I should listen, how does it succeed or fail, how should I listen to better understand. For example, I’m trying to familiarize myself with metal after a 15-year hiatus; what should I be listening for in the new Neurosis or in Ulver? What was necessary in the 200-word print review seems lazy in the modern world of online media; shorthands like “typical tech/death metal” don’t tell anyone unfamiliar with a significant portion of that genre anything at all – what about it is typical, and what makes it tech/death metal?
This is where blogs and forums become so important. People who have the breadth of knowledge can share that with people who may not, and can do so with only the limitation of their own desire.