Just listening

I don’t like some of the lyrics and messages in album American Teen by Khalid (but I do like some), but I listen to it because it is good production quality. A bottom line for me rating something is what it’s saying and if it jells, but if that does not work, appreciating something for its production is why I may listen.

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American Teen

The debut urban contemporary album American Teen, by eighteen year-old artist Khalid, has good production values, but except for the tracks Young, Dumb and Broke and Angels, it may not have enough oomph to hook one in. An interesting, thoughtful expose of teen life, with some material that may be off-putting to some, but rather low-key and too involved to be background music.

Response: Off-putting. Experience negative, virtue overall negative with some positives.

 

Should there have been The Road to Hell?

Pop folkster Chris Rea’s The Road to Hell caused at least one person to ruffle his feathers. “Don’t listen to it,” he said.

I know why. It’s in the title. He probably hadn’t listened to the album himself, but he took an educated guess. The Road to Hell would be song after song of abject depression that bogged one down. I bet that’s what he thought. It’s the only explanation I could find for rejecting the album from the outset.

I listened to it again today because it was Chris Rea day at my listening post. I have five of his albums and I listened to two.

Rea, Chris (1)

Chris Rea (Pictured) in later years still playing riveting guitar.

 

Rea started in the business in 1978 and nabbed a Grammy-nomination with the song Fool (If You Think It’s Over). His debut was well-received then followed by many albums in workmanlike fashion over five decades.

One of those other albums was Water Sign (1983), gentle, easy listening and occasionally rock-filled. Sometimes it rose above a general steadiness and laid-backed sound.

Six years later out came The Road to Hell (1989) which was Rea’s most ambitious of the decade.

It is an epic album of riveting guitar moments and ideas about the state of the world and where we are going. Will the world find the exit from the path of destruction?

There’s a song about the “evil” television news and then one about finding the rainbow and the album ends on the note ‘Tell me there’s heaven’. No doubt evidence that The Road to Hell isn’t thoughtless AC/DC.

Back to the original question: should there have been The Road to Hell? To answer that question, one has to ask why this is a question. And ask what purpose does the album serve?

The album is a problem because there’s a natural reluctance to embrace an album about hell on earth and the everlasting hell. But I think many potential listeners to The Road to Hell aren’t embracing hell by listening to this album.

They are seeing what Rea sees, a world that’s gone to the dogs and if what we do on earth will have eternal consequences.  Are we all destined for eternal hell since hellish destruction marks much of the earth? Where’s heaven?

Heaven seems to be the great secret that hell on earth covers up. The Road to Hell takes us to the point of needing heaven in a world going to hell.

Hence it serves a purpose—one may just find a better reason to live because of finding the heavenly—and done in an original and bold manner that rivets the ears in place.

My response: Better one. Experience generally positive, virtue okay to good.

The short stuff is a dead end

It occurs to me, in a moment of reflection, that the many times I submitted to various publications over the last few years–the faith-based ones and the literary/fiction ones—came up fruitless.

Except a few publications would see my work, but I don’t have the resources for it. Nobody came to my aid this time.

Frankly I’m tired of trying. That means I won’t need to write about my movements in regards to writing anymore. This means this post is my last. But it does mean there are several other blogs I have started last month, where I will be writing.

So long but hello again. I am joining a monastery that has access to the internet and a laptop. There I will be a writer/blogster-writer and chant away.

Repudiate

The word repudiate means to deny, refuse to recognize.

On the news, repudiating often comes in the context of politics and goes like this.

A politician is on the defensive when asked about some controversial matter. “I repudiate that!” the politician says. No, it’s more like, “No comment” or “I deny that.”

The media seems to love politicians using repudiate in terms of “I deny that” or “I refute that”. But no politician actually says “I repudiate that!”. It is too much of a mouth full.

Why is repudiate even in the English language if most people refuse to use it? I think repudiate is mainly used by lawyers in their defense of a client. “He repudiates that!”

But there was a guy I saw on television who used it when being asked by a reporter, “Do you accept the charges against you?”

He said quietly, “I repudiate the charges.”

His comment went viral. Repudiate became a sensation for fifteen minutes. Its fifteen minutes of fame. That’s because hardly no one used the word, but he did.

I guess people still love that underused word very much. Repudiate has that exotic appeal in the right context.

 

 

 

Heavy in small, but memorable, doses

Been a week away from reading anything. Haven’t read Dante’s Inferno for a week. It concerns me because I should be reading something every day nearly.

A week is too long absent from a book. But, alas, there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time to rest from reading.

Predicting in a week I’ll be back to the book and from there on to the finish line–when the book is finished.

Reading books is interesting, but it can also take it out of you. Inferno is ‘heavy’ in the sense it’s about lost souls in hell and Dante is giving a commentary on it. His commentary is sometimes caustic though I know it’s sort of humorous because he meets people he disliked in hell. Dante is also very serious about what’s going on in the underworld–it’s horrific.

Half-finished

At the end of this week I read less of Dante’s Inferno and am listening to music. Inferno is still on my radar to finish because I just want to. I don’t like to say that I finished the book half-way through. That’s not even finishing it. If I stopped reading it, I would become a statistic, the half finishes statistic. Following through on reading the book is a must, but at my leisure.