Eleven for ‘Eleven (Plus One)


Quickie little post with a drop in the flood of year-end “best-of” lists that will soon be deluging all of us. I don’t do “best-of” lists anymore—they’re silly and divisive—so I’ll just list my favorite albums that were released this year. Most of these may not end up on every “Best of 2011” list but

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Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down


Okay, here’s Track 11 of 12 in my goofy series from the big shebang and money-pit, U2’s re-released Achtung Baby album. It’s a great song, with a gut-slashing blister of a chorus (see the post title above). It’s good advice: I guess we can make this a real post with a quickie bullet-review of U2’s

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30 Songs #18 – Sunset Down: Egyptian Rivers and Other Psychoses


Yes, it’s a stupid pun. No, I don’t care. Denial is a powerful emotion, and I’d guess that it fuels about 80-90% of pop song lyrics out there. So many lyrics seem to be about denying reality in favor of something better, or something (mis)remembered, or something idealized, or any number of unrealistic expectations or

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30 Songs #15 – The Lightning Rod: From Alpha to Omega with a Boss DD3


Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “like a boss,” doesn’t it? One of the most important artistic lessons I’ve learned is that, for creative people, there’s a big difference between a “favorite” work and a “best” work. Favorites are sentimental, subjective, and transitory. Bests are obvious, objective, and permanent. Any creative person will

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30 Songs #14 – Island Fever: Epic Minimalism and Other Contradictions


Trouble in Paradise, Part MCLXVIII. For some reason, one of the most difficult things for me to do as a lyricist is throw the blueprint away. I can do it in almost every other creative project—abandoning something that’s not working is not only practical, it’s necessary—but like other overwrought, self-absorbed people, I’ve had all kinds

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30 Songs #12 – Sweet Oblivion: Enhanced by Extended Epic Endings


Honey White onstage at the Wildcat, Santa Barbara 4/26/04 Honey White’s “Sweet Oblivion” is a simple idea masquerading as an epic song. It was one of several transformative pieces for us back in 2003/2004, when we finally and truly gelled as a band. We also took everything that Honey White had been and blew it

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