Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  .This section is about criticism of specific music works and musicians.  Topics include: .  ---  1/24/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  "Bad to the Bone", by George Thouroughgood.  The ultimate macho strut.  ---  04/04/1994

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  "Don't Look Back", by Boston is rock's most optimistic song, which is quite an achievement.  ---  4/4/1999

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  "Rain" by the Beatles.  Finally a happy song about the rain.  Lifts weather related gloom.  ---  09/26/1997

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  "Time Passages", by Al Stewart, on the Year of the Cat album.  ---  10/5/2003

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1950's.  (1) Little Richard.  Little Richard has verve.  ( ) Chuck Berry has nerve.  ( ) Fats Domino is like Little Richards alter ego.  ( ) Ray Charles was a major talent.  ( ) Elvis.  Elvis was a major talent.  Early Elvis bravely crossed the race line.  However, I think later Elvis is overrated.  Elvis is being worshiped.  Worship, in general, is not healthy, even in a religious context.  ( ) Jerry Lee Lewis.  Great Balls of Fire.  ( ) Buddy Holly.  Buddy is a little bland.  ( ) Do Wop music.  Acapella music.  Vocal music.  Beautiful.  Innocent.  Virginal.  Sanitized.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  (1) Beatles.  (2) Beach Boys.  (3) Rolling Stones.  The Rolling Stones built on the work of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  (1) The Who.  Pete Townsend has talent.  (3) Van Morrison.  I was listening to side two of the album "Bang Masters", by Van Morrison.  (2) Cream was a good band.  I am not that impressed by Clapton's work after Cream.  I do not think Clapton is the greatest guitarist ever.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Aretha Franklin.  Aretha Franklin, in the 1960's.  Powerful.  Soulful.  A liberated woman.  An empowered African-American.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Burt Bachrach and Dione Warwick.  Do You Know the Way to San Jose.  Sort of cool.  Sort of pop.  Complex, challenging musical orchestration.  Sophisticated.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Folk rock.  Pete Seegar.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Grateful Dead is happy music.  Grateful Dead is soma music.  Grateful Dead music does not confront, neither in the lyrics nor the music, the problems of the world and the pain caused by the problems of the world.  Grateful Dead is not really rock, blues or jazz.  Grateful Dead is primarily country rock.  I am not a fan of country music.  ---  10/29/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  James Brown.  James Brown's made music in the mid 1960's that still sounds fresh today.  His band was tight.  James Brown influenced a lot of people.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Jimi Hendrix.  Are You Experienced, by Jimi Hendrix.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Motown.  Motown was a type of soul.  Holland, Dozier Holland were super songwriters.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Much sixties rock has an raw, unpolished, under-produced sound.  Likewise, the lyrics are somewhat coarse and unrefined.  Some call it garage rock.  Many of the early songs were about having fun.  (1) Wild Thing, by the Trogs.  (2) Wooly Bully, by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.  (3) Louie, Louie, by the Kingsmen.  (4) The Zombies are underrated.  (5) Girl, you really got me, by the Kinks.  Ray Davies and the Kinks crafted some prototypical rock guitar riffs.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Phil Spector and the Girl Groups.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  Roy Orbison.  Only the Lonely, by Roy Orbison.   There is something earnest about the music of Roy Orbison.  Roy Orbison is a person not afraid to emote.  There are hints of Hawaiian-Japanese cowboy ukulele music in the music of Roy Orbison.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1960's.  The Grateful Dead.  Criticism of the Grateful Dead.  The Grateful Dead is happy music.  The Grateful Dead is escape music.  The Grateful Dead is Soma music, meant to pacify.  The Grateful Dead is not thinking music.  The Grateful Dead does not make a social statement.  There is a limit to how much "relax and feel good" music I want to hear.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Bruce Springsteen.  Jungleland, by Bruce Springsteen.  Thunderroad, by Bruce Springsteen.  Bruce Springsteen can be nostalgia-rific, sentimental, and romantic.  Bruce idealizes blue collar, small town America.  Bruce romanticizes the love affairs of high school sweethearts.  Its a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Disco.  Disco was dance music.  Dance music is usually sort of mindless, but it does make your body move.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Funk.  Funky Fresh is a lovely paradox.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Led Zeppelin.  There is a brain behind the music of Led Zeppelin, but not behind the lyrics.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Pink Floyd.  Time, by Pink Floyd.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Punk.  Punk was mindless rebellion.  Sometimes a person is in the mood for a little mindless rebellion.  But I wouldn't want to live there.  Sex Pistols.  Ramones.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Reggae.  Reggae is a music of active political resistance.  Reggae is also a music of stoner hedonism.  To fuse activism and hedonism in one music is an achievement.  Listen to Bob Marley.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Soul.  (1) Stevie Wonder.  (2) Al Green.  (3) Marvin Gaye.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Southern rock was reactionary views set to rock rhythm.  Much like, even worse, Christian rock is reactionary views set to a rock rythmn.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Superfreak, by Rick James, is a major hit that is early hip hop.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  The 1970's was the apotheosis of rock music.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1970's.  Tom Petty.  American Girl, by Tom Petty.  Sometimes, when you are a fresh, idealistic teen, you have a vision of true love, and you just want to get laid.  That's a good thing.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1980's  Euro-synth-romantics.  The 1980's were a difficult time for rock, what with the synth-driven, European, romantics.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1980's.  Hair metal.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1980's.  John Cougar Mellencamp.  John Cougar's project seems to be to try to validate, vindicate, celebrate, small town, rural America, that is, if you can look away from the bigotry, racism, intolerance, anti-intellectualism, backwardness and religious fanaticism that is in America.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1980's.  Rap.  Hip hop.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  1990's.  Grunge.  Nirvana.  Soundgarden.  Flannel shirts.  No big hair.  No neon spandex.  I can get with that.  Grunge was an improvement over what was happening in the 1980's.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bjork on Charlie Rose.  I don't always like to hear her sing, but I love to hear her talk.  ---  8/3/2001

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan raised the expectations of the listening public in terms of the quality and quantity of work he produced.  The typical music business formula is to include only one or two hits per album, and only one or two epiphanic lines per hit song.  Bob Dylan started releasing albums that were chock full of hits, and he started writing songs that were chock full of epiphanic lines.  ---  6/9/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan, the music.  (1) The music of Bob Dylan is not infinite iterations of twelve bar blues.  Dylan seldom does wrote imitation.  Dylan transmogrifies more than he imitates.  (2) Dylan likes exploring the roots of American folk music.  He doesn't often do the "latest sound".  He doesn't often do world music sounds.  ---  6/9/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan, the voice.  Some people object to Dylan's voice.  Some people say its not a nice voice.  Its not a beautiful voice.  In Dylan's defense, there is a tradition in folk music of the nasal twang.  And there is a tradition in folk music of blending words together, in order to emphasize the music over the words, the opposite of enunciation.  And who says everyone's voice has to have a white bread quality to it?  White bread is boring.  Dylan is sourdough, or jewish wry.  ---  6/9/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan, the words.  Dylan likes to do character studies.  One of Dylan's methods is to introduce odd characters by name.  ---  6/9/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  (1) Inflationary views of Dylan.  Dylan is as good as Shakespeare.  (2) Deflationary views of Dylan.  Dylan is marginally better than, or only as good as, his singer-songwriter peers, like Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, etc.  ---  7/15/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary theory of Dylan.  (1) Should you listen only to Dylan?  No.  (2) Should you make sure to include Dylan in your listening?  Yes.  ---  4/4/2007

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary views of Bob Dylan.  (1) Bob Dylan is over-rated.  (2) Many of Dylan's lyrics are filled with excessively vague word associations that do not have much meaning upon close inspection.  The meaning that many people get out of Dylan's lyrics is, in many cases, the meaning that many people read into or put into Dylan's lyrics.  (3) Dylan's views on life are not particularly cogent nor inspiring.  (4) Dylan's musical abilities are often derivative of old forgotten folk songs, and as a result his music may only seem new and different.  ---  7/19/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary views of Bob Dylan.  (1) Is Dylan all that one needs to listen to?   No.  (2) Is Dylan the "best"?  No.  (3) Can there be a "best" in art?  No.  ---  7/15/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary views of Bob Dylan.  (1) Not every song that Dylan wrote was exceptionally good.  Some of Dylan's songs, either lyrically or musically, were duds.  (2) Dylan occasionally wrote fluff lyrics that some fans are intent on reading deep meaning into.  (3) There are a number of musicians who, on their best days, are as good as Bob Dylan.  For example, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison.  ---  7/22/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary views of Bob Dylan.  Did Dylan say everything?  No.  Dylan may have said some things that no one else said.  Dylan may have said some things better than anyone else did.  But Dylan did not say everything.  Much is left to be said after Dylan.  ---  12/21/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Deflationary views of Bob Dylan.  Did Dylan say it all?  No.  Should we listen only to Dylan?  No.  ---  7/2/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  It seems to me like Dylan was trying to make his voice sound like a harmonica, and trying to make his harmonica sound like a voice.  ---  08/24/1994

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  Pro Dylan.  Did you ever try to write a poem?  Did you ever try to write a piece of music?  Did you ever try to match your poem to a piece of your music?  Try it some time.  Its not easy.  Its like acting, in that it looks a lot easier than it is.  ---  7/2/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Bob Dylan.  What can one say about the music of Bob Dylan?  I like the longer songs like Visions of Johanna, Changing of the Guards, Idiot Wind and Tangled Up in Blue.  What can one say about the words?  What can one say about the music?  What can one say about the voice?  Listen to Bob Dylan.  ---  9/12/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Captain Beefheart.  One of the principles of Captain Beefheart's music seems to be that life is too short, and music is too valuable, to spend an entire song repeating the same melody and rhythm for the entire song.  Its more interesting to change the rhythm and melody every four bars, or every two bars, or even every bar.  And thus one gets songs whose rhythm and melody are constantly changing.  Its interesting.  Its challenging.  Its good music.  Also, its too boring to have all the instruments playing the same melodic or rhythmic phrase at the same time.  Its more interesting for every instrument to play a different melodic or rhythmic phrase.  So the full effect is every instrument playing something different every few bars.  (2) Often the changes or variations seem to have a logical, almost mathematical, relationship.  The change may be the same phrase played upside down or backwards.  Also, just like modern poetry does not have to rhyme, modern music does not have to rhyme.  ---  4/11/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Chicks who rock: Aretha Franklin.  Janis Joplin.  Joni Mitchell.  Chrissie Hynde.  Joan Jett.  Liz Phair.  PJ Harvey.  Annie DiFranco.  Alanis Morisette.  ---  1/4/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Droning tunes:  The Cult, "Sanctuary".  The Doors, "The End".  Led Zepplin, "Kashmir".  Led Zepplin, "When the Levee Breaks".  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Great pop rock: Journey.  Cars.  Cheap Trick.  ---  9/10/1999

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  History of music.  What we see, when looking at the history of American music during the 20th century, is a huge achievement by African-Americans.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  I think Neil Young's best work is his acoustic, old timey stuff.  The sweet, gentle, simple, sad songs of lost loves, and friends lost to drugs.  "Needle and damage done", "I believe in you".  He captures the lonely west.  After the gold rush.  ---  01/12/1997

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Iggy pop.  Alice cooper.  Ramones.  Bowie.  I am like them.  Not a dead head.  ---  04/01/1994

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Island tunes segway:  Margaritaville.  Montego Bay.  Thunder Island.  ---  3/28/2004

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  James Brown.  I really enjoy James Brown's music.  James Brown's music is about rhythm.  The rhythm is carried by the guitar and horns.  Its not about melody.  Its not about building a structure, in that there seems to be no introduction, nor middle, nor conclusion.  Its about a groove.  ---  12/16/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Jimi Hendrix.  The first time I heard Jimi Hendrix was in high school.  I had a free class so I went to the music room in the school library.  There I slowly lowered the needle on track one of side one of the "Are You Experienced" album.  The boxy, portable phonograph and the cheap plastic headphones did not take much away from the event.  I had heard a lot of rock music but nothing prepared me for Hendrix.  Are You Experienced was transcendent.  Soulful.  Raw.  Emotional.  I walked out of the room knowing that music, indeed life, would never be the same again.  ---  7/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Joni Mitchell.  Blue, by Joni Mitchell is an awesome album.  Blue is as big an album as Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.  One can discuss the lyrics, the music, and even the timbre of her voice.  (1) The voice.  Sometimes ethereal.  Sometimes chirpy.  Sweet.  Pure.  (2) The music.  Complex structure.  Soaring melodic lines.  (3) The lyrics.  Feminist in that she speaks as a woman, truthfully, of her real self.  ---  1/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Joni Mitchell's music is complicated.  (1) Joni Mitchell writes complicated melodies.  It is difficult to predict what note Joni will sing.  In a good way.  (2) Joni Mitchell uses complicated chords.  Joni uses a lot of jazz chords.  (3) Joni Mitchell uses complicated arrangements.  For example, albums like "Court and Spark" show sophisticated orchestration.  (4) Joni Mitchell writes complicated lyrics.  Joni's lyrics explore complicated subjects using complicated literary techniques.  (5) Joni Mitchell can be complicated and difficult.  Joni Mitchell is sophisticated and mature.  Joni Mitchell probably feels at home in France.  Viva la France.  Viva Joni Mitchell.  ---  12/15/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Joni Mitchell's voice.  (1) Joni Mitchell's voice is so pure you can use it to pulverize kidney stones.  (2) Joni uses a lot of slides in her vocals.  Sort of like slide guitar.  (3) Joni Mitchell has incredible vocal range.  ---  12/15/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Leonard Cohen is a buzzkill.  ---  9/22/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.  The sound is lean, austere, western, i.e. beautiful.  Beautiful voluptuous women with high cheekbones.  Tall lanky men with rugged jaws.  High plains, high mountains, open vistas, far horizons, free space, wild.  Like my mind, thought, and writing.  Timeless, formal, classic, clean lines, and pure (not poor) spirit.  Pureland Zen.  ---  04/01/1994

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Nostalgia rock.  ( ) Night Moves, by Bob Seegar, is a nostalgia-rific hit.  ( ) More than a Feeling, by Boston, is a nostalgia-rific hit.  ( ) Thunderroad, by Bruce Springsteen, is a nostalgia-rific hit.  ( ) They are nostalgic to begin with, and as time goes by they become more nostalgic.  Nostalgia is a calmative, a sedative.  ---  11/20/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Robert Johnson's, "Hell Hound On My Trail".  ---  9/7/2003

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Soundgarden is my band for the Nineties.  ---  01/23/1997

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Stevie Wonder: "Superstition".  "Higher ground".  "Living just enough for the city".  ---  03/08/1997

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  The most philosophical rock and roll songs.  Time, by Pink Floyd.  Time, by Chambers Brothers.  ---  08/24/1994

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  The song Wild Horses by the Stones.  Western cowboy rock music (slide guitar and yodeling).  Not California, but Nevada, Montana, Wyoming.  This is my specific philosophy.  The environment I miss dearly.  It came to me in a song.  ---  11/06/1993

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Thelonius Monk.  Charlie Parker and John Coltrane play fast yet recognizable music.  Monk is an oddball, a space shot, who eventually convinces you of his argument.  ---  7/8/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Three songs.  Year of the Cat.  Time Passages.  Walking in the Park and Reminiscing.  ---  4/23/2002

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Tom Waits.  (1) A large part of Tom Waits' music is about theater, carnival freak shows, amusement parks, boardwalks, ticket stubs.  (2) Hobos.  Traveling.  Cigarettes.  Booze.  (3) Blue collar workers, factories, the sounds of machines.  (4) War vets.  Amputees.  (5) Tom Waits is akin to the Beats and to Bukowski.  (6) Planet of the Apes meets Howdy Doody.  Waits probably influenced Tim Burton.  (7) Fascination with the strange, odd, weird.  Dilapidated houses.  Mental patients.  Things that didn't turn out right but are still beautiful.  (8) My view is that the 1980's Waits albums show Waits coming to terms with his childhood experiences and memories.  ---  4/10/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Tom Waits.  (1) Tom Waits' songs know the value of simplicity.  (2) Tom Waits' songs can include a person banging a can, moaning, growling, grumbling.  (3) Tom Waits songs, a man sitting at a bar reminiscing because he either lacks the ability to see the future or he fears the future.  (4) Tom Waits songs, heavily influenced by the blues of Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker.  Can you hear it?  (5) Tom Waits songs.  Decidedly pre-war WWII.  Cloth, leather, metal.  Depression era.  Squeeze box accordions.  Harmonica.  Bowery flop houses.  Alcoholics.  Conjurer of past times and places, like Dr. John.  (6) Tom Waits for you.  Tom Waits for you to sit next to him in a bar.  Tom Waits for you to listen.  (7) Tom Waits songs.  A hobo band that cannot afford real instruments.  (8) Tom Waits songs.  Primitive in all the good senses of the word: raw, elemental, unfettered.  ---  4/4/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Tom Waits.  Banging on an iron pipe.  Banging on a one gallon tin can.  Banging on a thirty gallon garbage can.  Banging on a fifty gallon drum.  (2) Smashing your hand on a brick wall.  Banging your head against plasterboard.  Stomping you foot on a wooden floor.  (3) Unique instruments.  Spare orchestration.  The music is like the lyrics.  ---  4/10/2005

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Top three light FM 70's hits: "Wild Fire", "Crazy Love", and "Brandy".  ---  12/30/1996

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Twenty years later "Disco Duck" sounds elegiac.  Kind of like the class pest who dies tragically.  ---  1/16/1999

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Van Morrison.  Astral Weeks is a very good album.  (1) One of the highlights of the Astral Weeks is Van's voice which is very expressive.  (2) The lyrics are kind of spacey, but that adds to the effect of the music, which achieves a trance-like effect by using longer songs and repeating lines.  (2) The instrumentation is folk acoustic: flute, strings, horns, fiddle, accordion squeeze box, chimes.  The instrumentation, upon first listen, can seem sparse, quiet, low key, but this adds to the gentle feel of the sound, which is almost like the sounds of nature.  (3) Stumbling rhythms are used to give an energetic feel, much like a visual artist may use a shaky line to project a sense of energy.  (4) I think Astral Weeks had a big influence on Bruce Springsteen.  ---  7/31/2006

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  Vocal styles.  Sade seems to imitate the saxophone.  Dylan seems to imitate the harmonica.  ---  03/16/1997

Arts, music, criticism, specific.  ---  What's Good about Yes?  (1) Yes is cool because it's music does not fit into any pre-existing styles.  Yes is not classical, jazz, blues or rock.  (2) Yes spans time.  Yes is like a mix of futuristic Star Wars and old Renaissance Fair.  (3) Songs like "Siberian Khatru", "Perpetual Change", "You and I", "Close to the Edge", "Starship Trooper", "Seen All Good People", "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Roundabout".  Albums like "Yessongs"  (4) Yes music is positive, not depressive.  (5) Yes music gives prominence to rhythm section instruments like bass and keyboards.  (6) Criticisms of Yes.  The lyrics of Yes are way out there, obtuse, almost cryptic.  One can say that Yes is more about the music than the lyrics.  Yes's Jon Anderson might as well be singing vowels.  Perhaps Yes lyrics are trying to be the poetic equivalent of visual abstract expressionism.  (7) That said, Yes music is worth a listen.  ---  9/25/2004

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