Lou Pickney's Online Commentary
Medley Of Music
August 26, 2005
There are a couple of music notes from the past week or two that I've failed to mention. First off, I heard "My Doorbell" by The White Stripes on 97X last week, which was very cool and a good sign. I really hope that the song was released as a single and that the airplay wasn't a one-off. I love that song. It really should've been the first single off their new CD, and the fact that it wasn't was baffling to me. But it's not my band... or my record label.
Also, Fiona Apple's third CD is going to finally be released by Sony. They redid some of the songs and added a few tracks to the list, but the CD is essentially the same. I'm not sure what songs were tinkered with, but I really hope that the leaked version of "Please Please Please" was left alone. That song is amazing, and it's right up there in quality with the hits she had on her first CD. The interesting thing about her is that I saw her open for the Counting Crows in Nashville in 1997 shortly after she hit the big time, and she played most of the material from her CD, just her on her piano. Her politics are whacked, and in front of a microphone speaking her mind (think award show blunders) she's a wreck, but when it comes to singing and playing jazz-style piano... I could listen to that all night. She has a real gift for it.
Oh, and if you want to talk about hot, the video for Fiona Apple's "Criminal" is a perfect example of how a woman can be seductive and sexy without being sleazy. It warrants mentioning.
By chance I discovered some music this morning by a singer who goes by the stage name of Princess Superstar. She had a hit song in the UK two years ago called "Bad Babysitter", which is an entertaining song if you like humor-rap. She can spit lyrics with amazing speed, and she's vulgar as hell, which has drawn her comparisons with Eminem, but I like her music. Princess Superstar has said in interviews that at first she didn't like those comparisons (which is insane, in my opinion), though she said she's gotten past that and is glad to be compared to someone with lyrical skill versus, say, Jessica Simpson. It's unclear if she'll ever hit the scene big here in the United States, but if she ever performs here in Tampa (which, to my knowledge, she never has), I'm there. Incidentally, she's not an Eminem rip-off; she started in 1996, created her own record label, and is a great example of how the do-it-yourself approach can work. That approach is hard as hell, to be sure, but she has earned a degree of success with it.
A few other notes: there's a writing contest on journalspace.com, so I created a spot on there, tampa.journalspace.com, and wrote a poem (called Declined, Goodbye). It's a somewhat clichéd scene (the engaged couple breaking up in a nice restaurant), but it just flowed from that mysterious place that creative writing sometimes comes from. It's not perfect by any means, and really I could go back through and smooth out some rough spots, but apparently people were able to find it right away. With the positive feedback I received, I decided to leave it as-is. I found some old poems on my computer that I wrote circa 1997, but they all seemed quite passé to me (and wow, I'm finding all sorts of words to use the "é" key for in this paragraph), so I wrote something new. I should write more, not to earn plaudits, but because I enjoy it.
Also, the brilliant Bill Simmons used the phrase "Upper Decker" in his latest column (about his Top 40 fantasy football players of 2005). My bro Matt e-mailed me tonight to point this out. Longtime readers of this site might remember that the Upper Decker was mentioned (and explained) on here in great detail in the April 15, 2003 column (which, as it turned out, was my final visit to Starkville, MS). Has it really been nearly 2½ years since then? Wow, time flies. But the point of this is that it we might have finally reached the point where the Upper Decker has finally crossed the threshold into the mainstream vernacular. If so, it's a watershed moment in modern American linguistics.