Rihanna Turns Down The Super Bowl

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Maybe music is driving the culture again.

I’ve been addicted to the Saudi story.

It’s still not at the top of the Fox News website, nowhere near. Instead you’ve got gossip and anti-Democrat memes. How’s a poor boy to find out what’s going on in the world?

By listening to pop stars.

And ironically they’re all women.

First Taylor Swift, whose previous idea of weighing in was criticizing boys who could not bite back publicly. Suddenly she does a 180 and takes a stand.

Now we’ve got Rihanna. Now that the right wing press is saying the controversy is over, that NFL ratings have recovered, one of our biggest pop stars is adding gas to the Kaepernick fire, keeping it alive. Way to have a backbone, way to stand up for what you believe in, way to impact the narrative, the aforementioned culture.

And what you’re gonna hear is the right wing screaming that she should shut up and go back to where she came from, which in this case is Barbados, but her birthplace does not prevent her from having an educated opinion. And why is it the Republicans keep being anti-immigrant while their children embrace the aliens? This is the same kind of hypocrisy that has these same children embracing African-American culture while their parents are racists and vote against their own interests. Just because parents are dumb, that does not mean children should be too. Hell, these same children are rejecting religion, check the statistics, and in these troubled times I’m willing to give up my faith as long as everybody else does too, what are we living in the Middle Ages, the time of the Crusades? We’re still fighting wars over religion? How antiquarian.

But it gets worse Dick Cheney. This is when the past comes back to haunt you. You endorse torture in Guantanamo and then what are you to say when enemies torture us? You don’t have ground to stand on. Furthermore, America used to be the world’s cop, and the world’s higher power, the arbiter of right and wrong. But now the Supreme Court is biased and far from impartial and our President is so busy alienating others in the name of “America First” when the truth is we live in a global economy and if you think otherwise, be prepared to pay $2500 for a flat screen and two grand for a mobile phone. Then again, the chief economist is a TV star, just like the President.

And it all comes down to money. Yup, we’ve got to stay on the Saudis’ good side when a mere pop star who lives on the whim of the people is willing to take a stand and in the process alienate potential customers. But what a beacon! If you don’t take a stand, no one can bond to you. Rihanna went from cardboard personality to 3-D instantly. She’s thinking about it, she wants to do what’s right, as opposed to all those pop stars who took the cash to play for dictators.

And of course if you comb through Rihanna’s history I’m sure you’ll find flaws, contradictions, but the truth is she is not running for office and she’s not a politician. Real people make mistakes, change their opinions, as opposed to Kavanaugh who could not own up to the fact that he liked to drink in school, sometimes to excess. Lying about it is like Justin Timberlake throwing Janet Jackson under the bus after the exposed titty at the Super Bowl. Timberlake claimed innocence, Les Moonves had a vendetta against Jackson, he truly hurt his career.

But now women are doing it for themselves.

We’re sick of old white men telling us they know better. About women’s bodies. Paying fealty to a racist leader who most people hate.

Meanwhile, Nike takes a risk with Kaepernick and sales go through the roof.

You see people want something to believe in. And they were going along somnambulantly for too long. Then Trump woke them up. And those who triumphed based on sleepiness don’t like this, they don’t like people taking action, so they resort to character assassination as opposed to arguing on the merits.

Come on, without African-Americans, the NFL folds. But the leaders of the league, afraid of the President, unlike Taylor Swift and Rihanna, have the players working on Maggie’s Farm. Sure, it’s good money, but should you be treating people like slaves? How about a little dignity? And football players have a lot more impact on the populace than faceless politicians… They keep on wanting to keep athletes and musicians down, as if their vote wasn’t as important as those of the corporatists.

It’s a new day.

That’s right, we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969, but it’s BACK!

There’s something here, and it’s becoming very clear.

Women have a voice. And they’re sick and tired of being told it’s not truthful, that they run on hormones, that they shouldn’t make as much, that they should stay home and raise babies.

And in an era of whacked economics, where the corporations get richer and the people get poorer, people with some money are standing up for those who don’t have it.

The right wing keeps talking about freedom?

What freedom is that? To kill one of ours on foreign soil and get away with it?

To take away health care from our citizens?

To lower taxes so infrastructure fades? To demonize taxes so our nation goes bankrupt? To let fat cats cheat and pay no taxes at all?

To spread falsehoods so that they can win and we can lose?

No, those days are through. They woke up the sleeping giant.

And you know how this works. The complacent suddenly take action. The misinformed question their preconceptions and change their opinions and…

One individual can change the course of history, never forget it. That’s how we got the Arab Spring, look at the work of Steve Jobs.

America is a tinderbox. We’re sick and tired and we just cannot take it anymore. We’re sick of being oppressed by those with a smaller constituency, who do not have our interests at heart.

They may have the fat cats, but we have the entertainers. And no matter how much they denigrate them, the truth is that’s what Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson are, entertainers, it’s the same damn world, and the truth is ours are more powerful with a much greater reach than theirs. And expect blowback, all the right wing does is work the refs.

But can they win the game?

Maybe not anymore.

We will see.

Steve Lukather-Sirius XM TODAY!

That’s right, Luke, Lukedaddy, majordomo of Toto, guitarist extraordinaire, player with everybody from Ringo to Boz Scaggs to Michael Jackson to…

Now if you know Luke, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he’s open and honest, and sensitive to put-downs about Toto. But now that Weezer has covered “Africa” the band is finally getting the props it always deserved. As Luke would say, is it a crime they can play?

He’s also now the band’s manager and has tales…

Luke’s a great hang, tune in at 7 PM Eastern and 4 PM Pacific on Volume 106, and reruns and on demand on the Sirius XM app!

Marie Davidson “Work It”

Work It – Spotify
Work It – YouTube

This would have been a smash on the ROQ of the 80s. Back when the weird was purveyed and embraced, when music heads were still the hippest in the world.

And in that bygone era, KROQ embraced a Kraftwerk tune, “Pocket Calculator,” and suddenly the act blew up in America. Now they’d had a hit nearly a decade previously, but “Autobahn” was seen as a novelty track, back when Mike Oldfield cut a record that was two sides long and built Virgin Records, not long after Jethro Tull did the same thing. But Tull’s “Thick As A Brick” was an extension of what Ian and the band had done before. “Tubular Bells” was brand new, and when the voice came on to announce…

Sure, “Tubular Bells” blew up because it was in the “Exorcist,” but I bought it before that, because of the reviews and…

I must admit, I found Marie Davidson’s “Work It” in the “New York Times.” That’s right, I rail all the time that their reviews are meaningless, and I still believe that, with too many tracks, but I’m stone fried, after being in three countries in three days, I flew from Toronto to New York today and was at Sirius for hours recording and I got to the apartment and was sitting on a pile of e-mails and…

I just couldn’t focus. There’s so much happening, so much I want to write about. I walked around the corner to buy some sustenance and when I came back I was catching up with the newspapers online and that’s when I discovered “Work It.”

The rest of the cuts in the “Times” playlist were not as good. Some were laughable, like the St. Vincent track, but that’s modern music, certain acts are championed and others are ignored.

And Marie Davidson comes from Montreal. Far from the beaten path. In Canada you can be an artist, in the States you’re a vehicle for exposure and cash. In the States you don’t focus on the art, you focus on the commerce. And if, by chance, you focus on the art, you keep bitching that you can’t get noticed or paid. But in Canada, the government helps you out. And you can be known in Canada, but can you cross over here?

Some do.

Now first I was hooked by the sound. You might dismiss it as EDM, but you’d be missing the point. This is not mindless drivel made to dance to, not that all EDM is, but if you paint the whole electronic scene with a broad brush you’re gonna miss this, and what you’re missing is a hypnotic groove, and that’s the essence of great music, that which has your head nodding involuntarily, your whole body shaking and then Marie says…

You want to know how I get away with everything?
I work.

Whew! I thought this was an instrumental tune. And then I get this viewpoint and attitude.

There’s this image that all women are snowflakes, but the truth is they just want to be free of abuse, to pursue their life’s desire.

So Marie is talking and you’re locked into the groove and then…

How does that feel, tell me how does that feel.
Is sweat dripping down your balls?

And then she laughs!

You’re drawn down the rabbit hole, the music is no longer background, you want to get to know this woman, WHO IS SHE?

But if you look up pics online you don’t find someone showing skin with surgical enhancements, rather she looks like someone in your French class. Proving once again, it’s not what’s on the outside, but the inside.

Now you’ve got to know, these records used to have a place in the firmament, not only with Kraftwerk in the eighties, but Frank Zappa in the sixties and… We were enthralled by experimentation, people testing limits, it reflected our society, music fans, the youth, were all about having the music set them free and take them on an adventure. And believe me, “Work It” does, it’s like going inside your iPhone and meeting Siri in person.

And “Work It” is not the only good track. Nor the only track with lyrics that’ll have you going HUH?, and thinking about what it all means. It’s like going to a museum, but in this case the museum comes to you, a safe, sacred space where all the usual precepts don’t apply and people can be humans and explore.

Now I only discovered this tonight, I’ve got to go deeper, and I want to, Marie Davidson’s “Working Class Woman” isn’t one and done. It’s just like the way it used to be, but without being retro.


“Working Class Woman”

Rock Or Hip-Hop

My Uber driver was a rapper. Told me about signing with a production company, going to SXSW, buying his beats online.

So I told him to play me his tracks. Not bad, but a lot of references to other rappers and a lot of profanity, not a lot of substance, but is this the new rock and roll?

Everybody had a band back when. And most of them were terrible. But people dreamed, and got fulfilled, as their lives fell into place and the goal became hazy and then drifted into the distance.

But many still play and they all go to shows.

And when he dropped me off the driver told me he was a liquor salesman with three kids and that’s when I realized, it was a hobby.

But we all need something to keep us going.

That was the debate last night at the initial Lefsetz vs. Flom show. Rock versus hip-hop.

Did you read the WSJ article about live grosses?

“Hip-Hop Is Huge, but on the Concert Circuit, Rock Is King”

(Behind a paywall. Information is not free, and those who pay are the best informed, proving once again we live in a two-tiered society.)

It’s a bit apples to oranges. There are not enough heritage hip-hop acts. And Jay Z sells out stadiums, albeit with Beyonce, then again, hip-hop has been around for thirty-odd years, so…

Then a member of the audience brought up country, which bridges the gap. Turns out there are two country radio stations in Boston, and never forget this is where Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation started, at Gillette Stadium.

And if you’re anti-hip-hop you’re a racist.

And the right keeps appropriating old rock tunes to make its points, now Prince’s estate wants Trump to stop using “Purple Rain.” So what is going on?

I don’t know.

But one thing’s for sure, no sound is dominant today.

An ex-Berklee student, a young woman still in her twenties, loves Petty and the classics. Went to see Flo and her Machine and complained the songs on the latter albums are inferior.

And listening to the rapper’s tracks in the car one thing was for sure, the beats were good.

And our school music programs are inferior and it costs nearly nothing to rap. Beats are free online and all you need is a computer, you can even do it on a smartphone.

Then again, the School of Rock people were there last night and they now have deals with Mike Caren and Lollapalooza. Is this the future of performance rock?

And no one in the industry will take responsibility. At this point, the majors labels are all hip-hop all the time, being the sheep that they are.

And streaming companies take no responsibility in breaking outside acts. There are no unknowns on their homepage. We used to rely on radio to break acts, is this now streaming’s responsibility?

And we used to have a new sound every three years, and now we haven’t had a new sound this century.

And just like in politics, the two sides have contempt for each other.

Then again, one of the biggest acts is Ed Sheeran. How come we don’t have more of him? Same deal with Adele, not a difficult formula, great singer with great songs, but all the majors keep purveying is hip-hop.

And has it all shifted to live anyway? Is it truly about the show, the experience? And, once again, there rock is triumphing. As the WSJ article says, Drake does four MSGs and Phish does seventeen. And I won’t say there are more Phish fans, but it appears they’re more rabid. What does this mean?

Maybe hip-hop listeners are more fans of the genre than any specific artist.

Maybe it’s the same Phish fans going to every show.

It’s not as simple as young people wanting a new sound. Boomers never listened to Perry Como, abhorred Frank Sinatra until they embraced him decades later. But so many hip-hop fans love AC/DC and…

And it’s nearly impossible for rock acts to fly up to the top. We’ve got Imagine Dragons and Dave Grohl. And Grohl’s songs aren’t even that good. And then there are acts like Tedeschi Trucks which don’t fly on the mainstream radar but tour incessantly and just made a deal for residencies in New York and Chicago.

And the vaunted festivals are good for promoters, but don’t break acts.

We are in a position of transition folks, and change always comes from the bottom up. What will it be?