Joup Confessions… Alan Parson’s Eye in the Sky

Alan ParsonsI love Alan Parsons Project’s Eye in the Sky. I mean, really truly love it. Not in the way I love Sticky Fingers, or the second side of Down on the Upside, or the new Afghan Whigs record, but I love it nonetheless. It’s not something I can listen to often – probably because it sometimes induces narcoleptic seizures in me, many of which are followed by or experienced alongside dry mouth, diarrhea, really brutal rashes that resemble K.D. Lang profile. Sometimes these rashes occur on my stomach and then I scratch them and my abdomen bleeds and the friction from that can sometimes – TMI I know – cause prolonged erections, fits of rage or thoughts of suicide (it’s kinda nice when those three all occur at once because it feels like the description I once heard a homeless man give of a party he attended in 1985 at George the Animal Steele’s house, a party where there were people dressed in and snorting copious amounts of denim, staples, vanilla extract, Monster energy drink, Gordon’s fish sticks, and raw, smashed unsalted peanuts. Smashed like with a ball peen hammer.

Endless Loop: Tarzan Boy (A Joup Confession)

baltimoraHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora

I spend so much time riffing on the pop culture of the old days, living in the proverbial nostalgia bubble of college, or high school, or middle school, that I’m constantly neglecting what came before all of that. Elementary school baby! I’m talking about the 80’s pop gems and pop turds that I rocked on my Walkman on family road trips before I turned 10. The stuff I loved because I didn’t know any better. The stuff I still love now even though I do know better. I’m talking about Baltimora’s 1985 Italo-disco, new wave hit “Tarzan Boy.”

Joup Confessions… Billy Joel’s The Stranger

BJMy first experience with Billy Joel’s 1977 album The Stranger was most likely in my parents’ old Chevy station wagon, late 70’s or very early 80’s (if my memory really does go that far back). I Love You Just The Way You Are would have been a staple on the easy listening station that they listened to while we drove here and there with me and my then infant sister in the backseat. That station made my life a living hell and really, it’s kind of amazing that I love music as much as I do when that was one of my earliest, most sustained introductions to it. To this day I still feel pangs of car sickness if I’m relegated to the status of a backseat passenger, all because of Lite FM and the shitty California Laurel Canyon ‘movement’, the Carpenters, Dion Warwick and their peers. That was Lite FM’s bread and butter. Funny then, that this particular song, and the particular era of Mr. Joel it belongs to escaped my wraith and years later so endeared itself to me. Truth be told I’m not really sure how I happened to own the album, on vinyl. Somehow one day I just magically found The Stranger in our record collection, as if it had always been there.

Joup Confessions…

xanaduFact: I have never actually sat down to watch the roller skating musical fiasco that is 1980’s Xanadu.  I have seen bits and pieces and scenes from it, often with my older sister, years and years ago, but I have no real recollection of anything other than light and colors flowing behind roller skating muses.  I understand that the film is supposed to be an abysmal mess, but I like to remember it as a soft-focussed, neon-tinted piece of 80’s kitsch.

Joop Confessions…

Christopher_crossI can’t claim to dig an entire record by Christopher Cross, probably not even all of his singles. However, there’s a handful of this guy’s music that, when time and space are properly aligned, I dig. Part of this is no doubt nostalgia. Part of it though is that I think Cross’ brand of Adult Contemporary-meets-Pop Rock wasn’t so much the former at the time but the latter. I’m pretty sure that when this guy was releasing music the term “Adult Contemporary” didn’t even exist. I think it was eventually made to accommodate Cross and his peers. This particular strain of rock is very much where a certain niche of “artists” in the early 80s headed after Michael McDonald segued out of The Doobie Bros. and hit it big making slightly atmospheric soundtrack music for aging hippies seduced from their thoughts of changing the world by thoughts of changing their income tax bracket by glombing onto the watered-down trappings of the “New Age” (or as I like to call it “Failed Hippy”) movement. You know New Age- that sinister pointlessness that, for a certain demographic in the early 80s replaced taking acid and holding sit-ins with taking cocaine, moving to New York City and selling candles and cassettes containing mantras. ALL of that baggage appears present in Christopher Cross’s music, but the funny thing is, after hating this for most of my life I’ve subsequently found, not so much a redeeming quality to it as an interesting musical archeological imprint from it.

Joup Confessions…

Skid Row FrontOkay, this is a big one.

First, I completely agree with Tommy from last week’s inaugural Joup Confessions… column when he said he doesn’t enjoy things ironically. To quote Mike Patton and the Dillinger Escape Plan, irony is a dead scene. You own it or you toss it, one or the other. And with that said it should be clear that when I say when the time is right I enjoy me the HELL out of Skid Row’s eponymous debut album from 1989 I fuckin’ mean it!

 

 

 

Joup Confessions…

chicagoI do not care for enjoying things ironically, whether it be music, film, or so on. If something is bad…it’s just bad. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it. Maybe it’s unintentionally hilarious. Maybe it takes you back to younger years. Maybe you just don’t care what I think, or anybody else for that matter. If it makes you feel good, then there’s no guilt in it. There are no guilty pleasures.

But there most certainly are shameful ones.

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