Music

Adventures in Listening: Grandpa Simpson finds a new musician who can stay on his lawn

Okee dokee folks… Most of you know I’m a “get off my lawn” type of guy, and age is finally catching up with my attitude. I will be turning 60 this year — yikes! In general, I don’t find a lot of new mainstream music that I like. I make an exception for local music; that is about the only place I hear anything interesting going on.

Recently I shocked myself by not only liking some new music, but by buying the CD! Admittedly, this artist is not new to a lot of younger folks, but she is new to me. I learned about her when PBS News did a year-end music retrospective and played about 10 seconds of a song that, to me, sounded a lot like Canadian songstress Kathleen Edwards, whose come-out-of-retirement release, Total Freedom, was the only CD I’ve purchased in the last few years.

The performer was Phoebe Bridgers and the song was “I Know The End.” I found her Seth Meyers performance of the song on YouTube and listened to it over and over and over again. I really loved this song so I listened to Bridgers’ album, Punisher. My first impression was “eh.” “I Know The End,” was different from the version I was used to from the Seth Meyers show, and I didn’t care as much for the album version. But I forced myself to listen to the album again and found another song I liked: “Graceland Too.” I was up to two songs that I liked out of the 11 on the disc so I kept listening. I test drove that CD on YouTube for almost two months.

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Then I found her Saturday Night Live performance on YouTube and watched it several times. While I like both of the songs that she played — “Kyoto” and “I Know The End” — I thought the performances were weak. Her band was lacking and the violin player — YIKES!, find the note!

Now let’s get to the part of her performance that caused controversy: the attempted guitar smash at the close of “I Know The End.” I have read so many comments about this on both sides and think it’s amazing that something stirred up so much discussion. I found it to be contrived and unauthentic. In general I think any guitar smashing post Pete Townshend (The Who) is dumb. Pete originally did it when his guitar hit the ceiling of the club the band was performing at and it cracked the neck. He got pissed and smashed it. The crowd loved it so he kept it in the act and destroyed a lot of good guitars. But it’s been done to death; enough already. Phoebe needs a good band and should focus on her music because it’s good. At least the SNL stunt got her music more attention. The kid’s got a fu-cha!

Anyway, my point to all of this is, I bought the actual, physical CD and I like it! Give new music a chance.   

Local musicians are still dealing with the pandemic and I interviewed a few of them about it. Check it out at motifri.com/pandemicmusic2021. That’s it for now, thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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