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Genki Hikari

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Member since: Sat Sep 24, 2022, 01:06 AM
Number of posts: 1,766

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Luckiest Music Generation: Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

A song that needs a good sound system or headphones to pick up all its nuances. Getting high to it adds another dimension to the experience.

For about a three month stretch in 1979-1980, my brother's live-in girlfriend would start her weekend by putting the album on the record player, donning her headphones, and firing up a doobie. Not sure why that album every Friday, but that was her thing.


And for those who find such things interesting, the original music video for Tusk:

Sound quality isn't bad. Just not all that great.

Luckiest Music Generation: INXS - The One Thing

So I'm at home one Saturday morning in 1983, I wake up hungover from a party the night before, and not sure if I'm alive or dead. The only positive is that it's Saturday, and, for once, I'm not scheduled for my retail hell job. I decide that since it's noon or close to it, maybe I need to get with the living. I brew up some coffee, fire up a Marlboro 100 (I know, nasty habit), and turn on the TV in my bedroom. American Bandstand is on. Crap--Not this nonsense. Wait. It's Rate-a-Record, and I need the laugh of seeing if the cliche tradition of the "can't dance to it" standard would hold.

I don't remember if it were the first or second song played, but one of the Rate-a-Record tunes that day was "The One Thing" by INXS, an entirely unknown group at the time, at least in the US. I thought the song was better than anything AB usually played during this era, but of course the two nitwit raters hated it and gave it super-low marks. "Can't dance to it" scored again!

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and I was again sitting before my TV hungover with a smoke and a cup of coffee, but this time as I took a few minutes' breather before having to go to work. AB is on again, and, lo and behold, what comes on during the regular part of the show was this tune. Dick Clark had the decency to announce that the song had tanked on Rate-a-Record, but was now burning its way up the Top 40. Best laugh I had all month.

Still like the song. Still love Tim Farris's iconic guitar riff. Still ADORE the sex on two legs that was Michael Hutchence (RIP). Still appreciate the video's blatant tribute to the eating-as-foreplay scene from the 1963 film, Tom Jones.

What's not to love, still?

Luckiest Music Generation: The Cars - Let's Go

"My Sharona" and "Funkytown" get most of the chatter when talking about late 1979, but The Cars would have one of their biggest hits then as well.

This played at many a high school off-campus bash, and it seemed like a perfect fit for us at the time, especially if you were just starting your senior year of high school, like I was. Lyrics like "And she won't give up, 'cause she's 17," sort of captured that, "we're about to take on the world," feeling that idiot 17-year-old girls can have when they see their freedom on the horizon.

BTW: RIP Benjamin Orr (lead vocalist/bassist).

Luckiest Music Generation: Tesla - Heaven's Trail

Funny story: I had just bought Tesla's Great Radio Controversy CD, and took it with me for the annual pilgrimage to visit then-in-laws in Sacramento. My brother-in-law was checking out my music collection when he came across the CD, and said, "Wait a minute... I was friends with some guys whose group eventually took on that name. Are they the same?"

The photos on the cover weren't much help, but a check of the liner notes had him recognize most of the names of the band members--same dudes from the old high school. The BIL added one funny story about how one of the original members back when they went by the name City Kidd quit, because "those losers aren't going anywhere."

Well, that CD and the heavy MTV rotation said he was wrong, and that the real loser was him.

Even before I knew that I had a connection to Tesla, I considered Great Radio Controversy a terrific album. "Love Song" would make them famous (along with an eye-opening acoustic set on MTV Unplugged), but "Heaven's Gate" is what got people noticing them in the first place.

Like GnR's Appetite for Destruction, Great Radio Controversy is a genuine hard rock album, not the hair band rock that was so popular at the time. Unfortunately, the collapse of the hair band era, post-Nirvana, dragged Tesla down with it, even though they weren't a hair band. The proximity to it through being part of the same era still hurt them, though, and that's a shame.


Bonus: A clip from the original MTV Unplugged episode:

Sorry about the video quality, but it's the best I could find.
Posted by Genki Hikari | Wed Nov 9, 2022, 05:31 PM (3 replies)

Luckiest Music Generation: Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Today is stressful. Time to de-escalate with a beautiful song about how much life sucks, but how there's still hope:

Posted by Genki Hikari | Tue Nov 8, 2022, 03:46 PM (1 replies)

Luckiest Music Generation: Guns 'n' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle

I can't add to any of the discussion about this song or the album it comes from, from either a musical or sociopolitical standpoint. Everything that could be said has been said.

What I will say is that G'n'R were the last dominant rock band of the modern music era. They were the band just about everyone who was anyone was listening to, ca 1987-1990, and with good reason. They had it all: Solid musicians and a soon-to-be legendary vocalist with stunning talent, pretty-boy good looks and the kind of serpentine dance moves that would make parents everywhere hide their daughters.

They were also everything a rock band was supposed to be: Grungy, kinda sleazy and borderline dangerous to be around. They had enough hair to create a toupee factory, wore lots of skin-tight black leather, had massive quantities of tattoos, and didn't hide that they smoked cigarettes and drank to excess. The implication was always there that they were big time druggies, too. It was undoubtedly all old-fashioned marketing, but they were genius at it.

All that aside, what I remember the most about G'n'R during this time period was an incident with my mother and then-toddler son. Mom inflicted herself on me with an extended visit in the fall of 1989. My son and I picked her up at the airport, and, of course, she couldn't wait to tear into me about something--anything. She chose how I was playing "that music" with my son in the car, probably the local FM rock station.

I rolled my eyes, and decided to really freak her out.

"Hey, kiddo? What do we think of Guns 'n' Roses?"

Instantly, a 2 y/o fist pumped the air and he let out an Axl-worthy "Hunh!" grunt.

I was never so proud of him in my life. Anytime I hear or think about G'n'R, this is the image that immediately pops into my head. Even now, my son loves to tell people this story, with a laugh at the end about how his mom made him a headbanger at an early age.

He did that fist pump because he had heard Appetite for Destruction so many times that he knew when he was hearing G'n'R from the first few chords of any song on the album. All I had to do was put AfD on the CD player or into my car's cassette deck, and, as soon as he heard the opening riff, especially for "Welcome to the Jungle," he was pumping the fist and head-banging along.

I am not musically talented. His father had pretensions of it, but didn't have any more talent than I did. Somehow, we got a musically gifted child out of the deal, and I firmly believe it was because my son literally grew up with me playing all kinds of music around him for nearly every waking second we were together. He's proof that the kind of music that trains the ears into musical talent doesn't have to be rarefied classical or jazz, but can be grungy, hedonistic hard rock. Of course it can be the "good" stuff that fosters musical talent, too, but what really matters is the exposure to the acoustic landscape, far more than what's playing.

Anyway, here's the song announcing that G'n'R and Appetite for Destruction were not the same old thing we'd heard before:

Posted by Genki Hikari | Mon Nov 7, 2022, 09:14 AM (1 replies)

Luckiest Music Generation: Stevie Wonder - Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing

No matter how much praise Innervisions gets, it still remains underrated, somehow. Every track is a masterpiece of musicianship, songwriting, arranging and production. Back in the LP days, I used to flip it over--over and over again, because it takes an astounding number of repeat plays to get tired of it. With CDs, now I can simply push the repeat disc button, and not have to leave my sofa again.

I could have picked any of the big three singles to represent the luckiness of what we could hear on the radio back in the day, namely the most famous track, "Higher Ground." Instead, I'll stick with the underappreciation theme to pick "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing," because it always seems to get lost in the shuffle when talking about the genius of this album.

So here it is, and I hope it brings everyone as much joy as it always does me:

PS: One of the great joys of my life was introducing my then-teenaged son to this album, and how he collapsed onto the floor and started crying at the sheer musical perfection of Innervisions. The next day, I couldn't find the CD where I'd left it. About 20 minutes later, I heard the distinctive sound of him tapping at his digital keyboard when I passed his room, and went in to check on him. I could hear this song coming out of his headphones as he was teaching himself how to play it.

I wouldn't see that CD again for about three weeks.

Posted by Genki Hikari | Sun Nov 6, 2022, 09:36 PM (1 replies)

Luckiest Music Generation: Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl

It seems like a standard rock song, but when you listen more closely, you hear weird things going on, like the two-part harmony in the verse lines, and that relentless dual guitar riff that seems to sound the same for the entire song...but doesn't, not when you listen to it closely. This duality seems to be a nod to the off-kilter love song lyrics, sort of an "inner-outer" voice thing about what he's thinking versus what he's saying (or not) regarding the mysterious girl, but what do I know? Maybe I'm overthinking that.

My son the music genius guitar junkie told me when we were listening to "Cinnamon Girl" one evening that Neil Young used a particular guitar tuning here that was in some of his other songs, too. I'm a dolt about music theory, so he commended me for picking up on how "Ohio" was one of those songs. It just has the same guitar "feel" to it, to my ears. The real musicians here can do the explaining for how that all works.

Anyway, here's the song itself:

Luckiest Music Generation: Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen

It's about death--John Lennon's, and then her uncle dying of cancer only a few weeks later.

And it's all awesome, from one of rock's most distinctive vocalists.

Posted by Genki Hikari | Fri Nov 4, 2022, 10:52 PM (3 replies)

Luckiest Music Generation: Rush - Free Will

Note: I've moved this to the proper forum before I got smacked around for posting it in the wrong place.


My hearing seems clear today at last, so I'm back, at least for today.

A discussion about non-voters made me think of Rush's "Free Will," in particular the verse, "If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

By not voting, they're still voting. For the status quo. What's ironic is that they're the very ones who whine the loudest about how nothing ever changes, it's all bad--well, that's because you kept voting for it to stay the same...by not voting, you fricking nitwit!

Anyway, here's the music:

This is the album cut, not the radio version, but sometimes this full length version got on the local Top 40 station. Usually when it was that part-time DJ you just knew was a long-haired stoner.

You didn't have to see him.

Posted by Genki Hikari | Thu Nov 3, 2022, 04:14 PM (3 replies)
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