I think of Gary Numan as an icon of early 1980s new wave, so it was a really pleasant surprise to find out that not only does he have a new album and video out, but he’s been very active in the last 37 years since “Cars” hit the U.S. charts. Even better, those years look to have been really good to the man, creatively and otherwise. I admit that mentally I’ve had Numan kind of locked away, preserved in a lucite box where skinny ties and Moog synthesizers will always be cutting edge. Numan, apparently, wasn’t willing to stay in that box.
So, the Trump years begin. Whatever I think of it, one of the most vile human beings ever to come out of the United States is now president.
The first few hours brought us instant elimination of the LGBT page and other issues from the White House website. It’s tempting to chalk it up to the sheer incompetence of Trump and his staff; after all, putting up a new website takes a lot of coordination and effort. However, the Trump team apparently had their shit together enough to make sure that Melania’s jewelry line got promoted on the site — at least, until the media started to call them on it.
Stop Making Sense is one of my favorite albums and concert movies EVER. Listening to the album got me through more shitty data-entry gigs with my sanity intact than I can possibly count. “Life During Wartime” remains one of my go-to songs when I’m depressed. I’ve been known to sit at cafes in Berkeley, listening to that song over and over again. Along with URGH! A Music War, the concert film is one of the best artifacts of 1980s New Wave. The Talking Heads were New Wave at its peak, and Stop Making Sense is the Talking Heads at their peak, on their very last live tour.
I started thinking about queer country music last week while making my way through the new album by Parker Millsap, The Very Last Day. I’ve been taking my time with the album as I usually do, and it took me a while to realize that one of the songs, “Heaven Sent,” is so queer that it doesn’t even bother hiding it.
Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care a lot about that may not necessarily have serious implications for politics or social justice. Although any day is a good day to write about our passions outside of social issues, we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun.
After writing about depression and music today, I thought that the first Frivolous Friday would be a good opportunity to show off the lighter side of my musical tastes. Here’s a selection of seven fun, frothy songs to close the day out.
The following goes into pretty heavy detail about my own decades-long issues with depression and a song that’s about violent domestic abuse.
One of the things that I want to do with this new blog is to start talking about music, and its place in my life. I’m not particularly interested in music reviews: One way or another, the intent of music reviews is to tell you whether an album or song is “good,” according to critical standards. Implicit is the idea that there’s some mysterious, objective standard to separate the crap from the good stuff.
It’s true that I can’t resist the occasional mean-spirited potshot at Nickelback or the entire genre of Christian rock, but for the most part, I long since gave up on the idea that there’s an easy, bright-line distinction between the good music and the bad music. That’s an idea better suited to 20-year-old hipsters who use bands to define their social cliques. I’ve long since left behind my 20-year-old hipster phase, and I’m glad of it.
What I’m more interested in is writing about music and its role in my life. These pieces are less about telling readers which music they should load onto their phone or Spotify playlist, and more about writing a personal biography of how certain songs have affected me over the years.