What’s Up (6/16/14)

Thoughts from the train: I dress for work by trial and error. I put clothes on and say “fuck that” until I don’t anymore, and then catch whatever train suits me. Today’s outfit is a white polo with pink khaki’s, so we’ll see how that flies. I honestly think that’s okay to wear at work, and if not… Well, they say to dress for the job you want, right?

Eventually a whole post needs to be written about this but, I have serious issues about Game of Throne’s fourth season. Honestly, when it’s usually the defining thing about the weekend, that it ranked as less fun than playing Superman 64 on Saturday night really speaks volumes about the show’s failures. These failures are really specific to book-readers, though not specifically to book purists. See, I like the changes they make from time to time, but when the changes go nowhere or serve to undermine characters or the speed of the plot – I just have to throw my hands in the air and call bullshit.

It was a great finale; not as great as it could have been, and I enjoyed my espresso and sambuca more than watching Arya sail into the most disappointing black screen ever.

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Michael Bolton’s “The One Thing” (1993)

Remind me never to accept music review suggestions based on pure dare and absurdity. Sure, reviewing two Michael Bolton albums as a tribute to Game of Thrones sounds funny until you’re actually doing it. That being said, lets dig into Bolton’s 1993 release, “The One Thing.”

I cannot review an album in a vacuum, all past musical experience heavily impacts the way I think about what I’m listening to in the present. Having only listened to Michael Bolton’s “Time, Love & Tenderness” (1991) two days ago, listening to “The One Thing” (1993) is just insufferable. I don’t care about how nice Bolton’s voice is, not as long as I’m just listening to more of the same. A song from “The One Thing” is only distinguishable from a song on “Time, Love & Tenderness” in that you might notice that there’s more guitar, or you don’t hear those really cheesy keyboard presets. And there are songs on “The One Thing” that sound exactly like songs that Bolton released two years prior.

I could forgive the musical similarities between the albums if only there was some sort of lyrical/thematic evolution in Bolton’s songs; but there isn’t. “The One Thing” highlights an apparent problem with Bolton and the “adult-contemporary/love-song” genre, for me at least: if the one thing you do well is sing love songs or pseudo-inspirational garbage, then I’m going to stop noticing or caring about your talent and tune out. Like Bolton, I’m not made of steel – and I can only endure so much before I crumble. Like “Time, Love & Tenderness” it’s hard to say that “The One Thing” isn’t okay, but after consuming two hours worth of Bolton I can say without a doubt that I can’t stand it anymore – and that’s not okay.

Carla Bruni, Pool Parties, and an Injection of Jade.

I never thought that Christiane Amanpour would be the one to introduce me to new music I would enjoy, but that’s exactly what she did when she had Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni on to discuss her musical life and the duties of a First Lady. I’m listening to Carla Bruni’s 2013 release “Little French Songs” and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, it’s been a pleasant and catchy listen. A far departure from my only previous experience with French solo artists; Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni sings light, carefree songs – a welcome reminder that the French language isn’t just for dour songs.

I don’t want to spend too much time writing about how great it is to be back home, but last night’s shenanigans deserve to be written about in some capacity. Just being with friends I haven’t seen in a long, long time, having great long discussions and getting things off our chests – just relaxing as much as humanly possible, it’s what I need. Thanks to all for coming, hosting is its own reward.

Finally, I’m happy to announce that a full year after I started writing 1990’s music reviews I will come back full-time from  my hiatus. The Jade Decade is back and every Tuesday and Thursday I’m going to be writing reviews of 1990’s albums, with the intention of exploring a decade of music – not mining nostalgia and writing about albums I listened to while growing up. This week in honor of Game of Thrones Season Three: I’m doing a double dose of House Bolton. That’s right, I’m reviewing Michael Bolton’s 1991 release “Time, Love & Tenderness”  followed by his 1993 release “The One Thing” in honor of the house with the sharpest blades, House Bolton.