There Goes Gravity

I reviewed a memoir by the music journalist Lisa Robinson. She’s had more experience in pop than almost anybody, but spends a lot of time rehashing the same old rock history that has been dissected countless times.

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Apples vs. Oranges

I wrote about the Beatles vs. Stones book for Paste. As I argue here, the whole premise of the book doesn’t make a lot of sense. First, the two bands did different things. Second, the Beatles were unquestionably better than the Rolling Stones in the ’60s. Third, most of the Stones’ best work came after the Beatles broke up. According to the Stones’ manager, Andrew Oldham, when the Stones were recording the song “We Love You,” John & Paul came into the studio and “rescued the record… The two Beatles… picked up the [headphones] and sniffed each other out like two dogs in heat for the right part… John and Paul just glided in and changed a runway into an airplay with wings.”

Double Trouble

I wrote about new double albums from Cass McCombs and Arcade Fire, as well as the double album more generally, for Splice Today. Read the piece here.

Below, an old Cass McCombs song, “County Line,” which leans towards Fleetwood Mac and sleek, country-tinged ’70s pop.

One-Way Discographies

I wrote another piece for the Atlantic on a group of indie-rock bands from the ’80s and ’90s that have re-formed and put out new music this year. Read it here.

Above, the cover of one of the classic ’80s Pixies’ albums. Below, the first Replacements’ song I ever heard, from one of their great albums, Let It Be.

Do You Think I Really Care

“Do You Think I Really Care” comes from Place Pigalle, a four volume Rolling Stones’ bootleg containing material recorded between 1971 and 1981.  Some of the songs are early or alternate versions of tracks that eventually saw the light on official albums, like “Waiting On A Friend” or “Tops,” which appeared on Tatoo You, the last good Stones album (most, if not all, of it was culled from previously unreleased demos and outtakes, sometimes from as far back as 1972). “Do You Think I Really Care” was recorded in Paris in 1978 during the sessions for Some Girls, the last Stones session to produce truly great songs.  But for some reason “Do You Think” didn’t appear in 1978, and it was never released afterwards.  Perhaps the Stones thought it was too laid back for the fiery Some Girls, which worked hard to prove the Stones could still produce something artistically relevant in a world dominated by punk one hand and disco on the other. But it’s hard to make that case, since that album contained a Temptations cover and an extremely slow-rolling piece of country.  At any rate, “Do You Think” should’ve landed on something official.  It shows the Stones unleashing their loosest, grooviest country-rock, with a steady chug shooting off ribbons of slide guitar. It would’ve made Keith Richards’ former friend Gram Parsons (dead of a drug overdose in 1973) proud.

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