Monday, October 19, 2009

Mark's Listening Post 10.19.2009

Well, new music for me, anyway...

I've got tickets to see John Fogerty next month. Very excited about this, as I've always loved Creedence, and I was a huge fan of his 2004 album, Blue Moon Swamp. Well, despite my intentions to keep up with his records after that wonderful album, I fell behind. I've been trying to catch up a bit before the show.

Revival is John Fogerty's latest non-cover album release, from 2007. It was marketed as a "return" to the CCR sound. I find this a little silly, as I have always found Fogerty's voice and songwriting the core of the "Creedence sound," so, to my ears, it was all over his solo releases. It is clear that Fogerty decided to mine some of this nostalgia right off the bat, from the title of the album, to track 3 "Creedence Song," he's obviously aiming to take back his legacy after years of legal manuvering with Fantasy Records over ownership of his catalog, and then settling and re-signing with them.

I'm a fan, and this album does capture the range of Fogerty's skill, from 60's-style acid rock ("Summer of Love") to straight-up country ("Don't You Wish it Was True"). He's also off on a political tear, and I have to be blunt, it's just as pointed and damning, but without the sly pop showmanship of Springsteen's Magic. (My pick for the most artistically satisfying attack on the Bush administration put to record.)

Pearl Jam is now without a record label, and the result is Backspacer, released exclusively via Target stores. Now I can hear you out there, all you 90's flannel-wearers who hated Ticketmaster because Eddie Vedder told you to, the calls of "sell out" are starting to come. Check out the very first comment in response to Rolling Stone's Review. Yet again, I'm struck with this new hatered for anyone who simply tries to make a living via their art.

This is, of course, incidental to the album itself.

Backspacer is a really, really fun album. I've been on and off the Pearl Jam train about a dozen times. I loved Ten far more than Nevermind, or any other 90's "grunge" album, except maybe the Soundgarden catalog. I kinda fell off after that, I remember ejoying Vs., but then slipping away. I'd hear singles and really enjoy them, but would only fitfully get re-connected with the band.

All that being said, I think "The Fixer" may be my favorite Pearl Jam track ever. This is a powerful, driving album. Eddie and the boys came to rock, and just get down to business. Hell, at first I thought "Gonna See My Friend" was about a sexual encounter...Upon reviewing the lyrics, nope, drugs. The music is so bouyant, I actually thought they'd finally got around to a song that was simply about meeting up with a girl for a little horizontal mambo (Sorry, Eddie). Not that I think that music is better if it's "fun," but it's nice to see the band crank for 37 minutes, and leave you feeling exhilerated.

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