Magazines Are Toast

They keep going out of business.

I resubscribed to “Automobile,” then it went under and they gave me a free subscription to “Motor Trend”‘s website, that’d be like “Rolling Stone” going under and then getting a free subscription to “Hit Parader,” WHO CARES?

But the two automobile magazines were owned by the same company. “Time” isn’t even owned by “Time” anymore, ditto “Sports Illustrated.”

I’m a magazine freak, I have more subscriptions than anybody I know. But not only do magazines keep biting the dust, like “National Geographic Traveler,” they’re reducing frequency. “Sound & Vision”…who knows how often it comes out anymore. “Ski,” same deal. They all keep reducing the number of issues you get per year. “Entertainment Weekly” is now monthly, I kid you not.

So, I certainly am not re-upping my subscription to anything other than “The New Yorker,” which will survive. As for “Vanity Fair”? There’s nothing in it anymore, the new editor has totally missed the mark, and she’s had the gig for over a year. As for Graydon Carter’s “Air Mail,” you want me to pay how much to read online?

And speaking of reading online, I finally bought into Apple News+. I didn’t previously because I get all the magazines in their physical iteration, and it’s much easier to read paper than on my iPhone (or iPad). It’d be one thing if these magazines were customized for online, but…you read ’em and you’re reminded how they were not that good to begin with. Used to be writing was scarce, now we’re inundated with so many links we don’t even want to click through. That’s the dirty little secret, you can send your links, but no one’s gonna click through, unless you’ve established credibility, which is damn hard to establish. And, once again, just because YOU’RE interested, that does not mean I will be interested, or your friend will be interested. Recommending is an art. That few are skilled in. But it gets no respect, because it doesn’t pay well, and if it’s not extremely lucrative, the best and the brightest don’t go into it.

So I signed up for AppleNews+ because to renew “New York” magazine would be seventy bucks a year, and AppleNews+ only a hundred and twenty. And a couple of years back “New York” switched from weekly to biweekly. And “Rolling Stone” is now monthly. Is anything monthly even relevant anymore, in a world where what happened this morning is already old news tonight?

So, I finally decided I wasn’t gonna pay for “New York,” I got it for Frank Rich and the occasional insightful article. That’s another thing about me, I don’t need to read a magazine from cover to cover, if I get a few good articles, I’m satiated. Then again, magazine subscriptions used to be cheap, before advertising went to the web, now they’re a serious commitment, and most people don’t want to make that commitment, and honestly, most of the magazines are not worth it.

So, Covid-19 is gonna kill the magazine business. There’s little advertising today, and who knows when it will rebound, and most of these magazines were barely staying alive anyway. We want information, but we don’t want it irregularly and late.

And so many of the brand names have taken a hit. I used to live for “Newsweek,” but other than the name, the magazine is not the same.

And to tell you the truth, with the plethora of information online, it’s clear that most of the writing in magazines is substandard. Yes, “The New Yorker” has good writing, a cut above, but most of it is flat, in “The New Yorker” style, there’s little excitement, little YOWZA, which is why Tom Wolfe excoriated it. And frequently, “The New Yorker” gets it wrong if it’s something you know about. But it’s head and shoulders above the rest. The rest read exactly like they are, an assemblage of freelance stuff that was mediocre to begin with and was edited down to further blandness.

As for photos? There are already too many photos online!

You can’t be nostalgic for the past. There might be a small business in the past, but that’s not where people are going. Didn’t we learn this in the transition from CDs to files to streams? Hey, still got those old LaserDiscs?

So what we’re seeing with Covid-19 is an acceleration of decline, a speeding up of disruption that might have taken years otherwise.

In other words, a lot of what is eviscerated should be. You might miss them, but really you’re missing what they once were. As for “Sound & Vision”… “Stereo Review” and “High Fidelity” merged and then they merged them with a video magazine and now there’s almost no music…I’m not in the market for a projection TV, I don’t want to build a home theatre. But the magazine is chasing customers down to irrelevance, it’s sad.

So a writer in the “New York Times” who excoriated screen time did a mea culpa this week. Even Walt Mossberg went back to Facebook. Digital is the way we connect today. And it happens via screens. And magazines don’t work well on screens. Hell, it’s taken newspapers years to figure out how to display their stories online, what to focus on, do you scroll down or click through. Magazines missed this step and now they’re hopelessly behind.

Do I miss the days of spending hours reading “Rolling Stone”?

Of course.

But we don’t even live that way anymore, we have so many other distractions, and I’ve got to ask, what do most of these nincompoop musicians have to say anyway, other than promoting themselves.

Magazines are inherently general, and we no longer live in a general world.

But it’s not only magazines, more will go.

Silos

Last night John Oliver did a whole segment on OAN.

You know OAN, that’s the news network that sends reporters to White House press conferences who ask sycophantic questions.

Oliver is very good at his craft, and despite working from home, with no audience laughing, his zingers hit just as hard (and I’ve got to credit his crack writing staff too).

So I’m watching this, laughing at the inanities, relishing in the takedown, and then I realize…IT’S NOT GONNA MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!

It’s not left or right, it’s silos, and there are a zillion of them.

The world is having a hard time adjusting to what technology has wrought. Many of us are still experiencing future shock. And the only difference between the oldsters and the youngsters, who grew up in the internet era, is the youngsters accept that that there are too many outlets, too many interesting things to know all of them.

This is unfathomable to the oldsters.

First, they grew up in a three network world. Everybody literally knew everything.

And then HBO seeped into the cable world. You were hip if you knew “Dream On,” the first HBO series. “The Sopranos” blew up the paradigm, everybody knew it. And now I won’t say everybody knows nothing, but I will say everybody knows a different thing.

This is not a judgment on the quality. There’s a lot of great stuff you miss, some forever, some you discover maybe years later.

As for recommendations?

We ignore them, unless they’re from trusted sources. And your best friend might not even be a trusted source. It has to be someone who has recommended material up your alley before.

And there’s lowbrow and highbrow. Never mind different genres. Mindless and intellectual. And if you dig down deep enough you can find your stuff, but you might not find like-minded people, you might feel like you’re out in the wilderness alone.

Kinda like when I listen to XMU on SiriusXM, the “college” station. I’ll hear something great, and then I’ll wonder, am I the only one listening to this, am I the only one who knows this? After all, it’s not in the Spotify Top 50, you can’t even find it in the genre playlists, and there are so many playlists that honestly, you ignore almost all of them and just cherry-pick what you want to hear or don’t listen at all. But no one even talks about this, the streaming services and the media keep lauding the ever-shrinking in impact Top 50. But really, we live in a Top 2000 world.

And I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. And the streaming giant’s paradigm is to promote its new shows on the home screen. And now it seems like there’s a new show every day, and a lot of them are interesting, but there’s no way I can consume all of them. Meanwhile, being a fan of “Ozark” and “Money Heist” and “Babylon Berlin,” I’ve got to catch up on those first. And “Fauda” is coming back this month, and “Bosch” too.

So I’m buried under product. And this is product I’ve got an affinity for!

Every day people e-mail me their recommendations. If it’s got less than 80% on RottenTomatoes, I ignore it. If it’s got over 90%, I’m intrigued. There’s no such site for music, but there should be. It’s not volume of listens, but whether anything is any GOOD!

But my big point is that in the old days it was all about crossing over, building your brand to ubiquity, to the point where everybody knew about you, whether they liked you or not.

Even the Kardashians… If they started today, they’d be a footnote. But they started in an era where basic cable still meant something. Now, basic cable is gonna expire, supplanted by streaming services, of which there are a plethora.

So, you grow your audience and grow your audience and then…

That’s all there is. There’s no crossing over. You are who you are, that’s it.

And for those playing the fame game, those in the Spotify Top 50, they get streams but they have no careers. They’re one or two hit wonders and then they disappear. But they get ink, from an antiquated media still living in the last century.

Kind of like newspapers. They’re dying with no advertising. The latest advice from insiders? LET THEM DIE! It’s a bad paradigm, don’t try to prop it up.

Kind of like physical bookstores. They’re time-stamped. But a small group of people can’t stand their evaporation, so they constantly rally around them. Kind of like record stores, do you really miss them? Would you rather have record stores or all of recorded music history at your fingertips for $10 a month? Oh, I’ll get e-mail from people, I always do, telling me EVERYTHING is not available. Well, everything was not available in physical retail, no way. And these are the same people propping up the souvenir shops selling vinyl records today. It’s nostalgia, with no impact on the mainstream, but you constantly read about it in the mainstream press, it’s a feel-good story, but most people don’t read the mainstream press, and at best they end up with misinformation. Streams are net income. Physical they always tell you about the gross. And I won’t go all economic on you, but the bottom line is very few vinyl records are sold and they don’t make that much money, however acts can employ them as the equivalent of merch.

And small acts can sell to a dedicated fanbase.

At least they’ve got a dedicated fanbase.

But their fanbase won’t expand that much. Kind of like Kickstarter, no band ever broke from the site.

Patreon is all about your own little niche.

So, we’ve got reality, and systems that don’t comport with reality.

We’re inundated with TV shows when we can only watch a few.

The mainstream media is interested in movies, an antiquated format, as opposed to TV, so they review films and not TV shows, leaving readers in the wilderness, having to forage alone.

The mainstream media is interested in the horse race of charts, or the niche product that they can champion that no one else will, but if you don’t fit into either of those buckets, you’re SOL.

But we all have the tools. They came with the technology. The building blocks. We can all build it. But will they come?

Probably not.

P.S. Here is the link to last nights OAN segment. That’s right, you can watch for free on YouTube that which is on the pay service HBO, that’s how hard it is to reach the audience!

OAN: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Right Now

Everybody’s freaking out. And it’s not about the coronavirus, but the government.

If you’re intelligent and informed, you’re staying at home, wearing a mask in public, doing your best not to catch the virus. But every day there’s more governmental insanity and you get scared for your future.

It was never like this, even in the heyday of Nixon.

Well, Nixon could send you off to battle, irresponsibly, for a war that could never be won. But now Trump is putting your life at risk and everybody feels powerless.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The nuclear codes, the button, that’s what we were all worried about. Everybody said there was only so much damage Trump could do.

They were wrong.

It comes down to the courts. They’re gonna lean right for the rest of your lifetime.

And it comes down to credibility and the rule of law, they’re now meaningless, out the window.

Now when I went to school we had fire drills, and nuclear drills, even though we subsequently learned hiding under your desk was not going to save you.

Now schools have active shooter drills. The thought of a gun on campus? Never crossed our minds. Boys had cap guns, and maybe BB guns, and if you went to camp you could shoot a .22, but most people didn’t own guns, you had a hard time finding someone who did, at least if you grew up on the east coast, in the suburbs, where I did. But now, gun sales are through the roof. Think about that, why? These people are obviously expecting bedlam. We had bedlam in the sixties, riots. But they were over race relations. What kind of riots are these people preparing for? Ones in which the rule of law is out the window and it’s every person for themselves?

So, they blew the testing. Today Newsom apologized, said it was on him, even though really it’s on the federal government, and if anything Newsom should be lauded for shutting down California early, at least compared to the other states. But the right now controls the narrative on California, it’s a state where real estate is through the roof and homelessness is rampant and taxes are out of control, so whatever California does is written off as insane and inapplicable, truly.

But Trump has never apologized, nor owned his failures. And if you’re paying attention, all you can see is incompetence. I’ve never met a person like this in my life. Maybe, just maybe there was someone in school or in Boy Scouts who was power-hungry and crazy, but we quickly cut them off at the knees. Meanwhile, Trump keeps gaining more power.

Yes, he missed on testing. Yes, he missed on self-quarantining. Yes, he missed on masks. But now that the government is finally getting up to speed on masks he refuses to wear one. Isn’t this just like the people refusing to stay home, refusing to stay off the beach?

And there’s that insane governor of Georgia, insisting the beaches stay open. Why? You read about those Texas college students who went to Florida for spring break, there were 70 and 44 came back with the coronavirus. What part of “infectious” do people not understand?

And then there’s “exponential.” We’re seeing that right now, in NYC, and also in the country at large. But New York is Cuomo’s fault. Yes, I know your head is spinning. Cuomo did not invest in ventilators and all those elite New Yorkers were asking for it. Read the right wing press, it’s horrifying.

Kind of like Hannity insisting Cuomo give patients chloroquine.

This was started by a doctor in France, Didier Raoult. But the truth is there were only 24 patients involved and they had mild symptoms when they started treatment. But do you know who is to blame that everyone is not taking chloroquine? THE JEWS! I kid you not, it’s a conspiracy! Big Pharma is controlled by Jews and chloroquine is not patentable, so they’re preventing its distribution. And Jews in the government are trying to kill off the elderly. You’d think I’m making this up, but it was in “Le Monde.”

But Trump isn’t quoting the progenitor, he’s quoting a doctor in New York who seems to have pulled his statistics out of his rear end. Isn’t that what they teach you in high school biology, the scientific method? But there’s no science anymore, just emotions, facts are irrelevant, if Trump says there’s a cure there must be.

And the person holding power over Cuomo is Jared Kushner, who made one of the worst media deals of all time, buying the “New York Observer,” overpaid on his family’s one big real estate deal and this is the guy managing the operation, one whom we did not even elect?

And then, in the midst of all this, Trump fires the intelligence community’s inspector general, because he forwarded the whistleblower complaint that ultimately got Trump impeached. Who the hell is gonna blow the whistle in the future, who is gonna stand up to Trump? Not even Fauci can, really, no one can!

And it gets worse and worse. There seems to be a Trump connection in the firing of the of that aircraft carrier captain trying to get attention for the coronavirus outbreak on his ship. The cover is he wasn’t following the chain of command. But the chain of command wasn’t responding and the sailors were all getting infected. Didn’t we used to applaud initiative in America, didn’t we used to laud mavericks?

So, you obey the rules until the ruler changes them.

And you’ve got the left saying the election will happen and if Trump loses he’ll leave because that’s the law…SO WHAT?

Meanwhile, the right doesn’t want voting by mail, doesn’t want any change because they’re afraid too many people will vote and they’ll lose! Their whole campaign is based on voter suppression.

I don’t care if you agree with me or not, I don’t even care if you’re a Trumper, science knows no bounds, you’ll wake up when the virus hits your neighborhood, maybe even your family.

But that’s not my point.

Let’s say a Democrat gets elected. Let’s say Biden. Do you think the 30%+ who are Trumpers are just gonna roll over and accept this, even if both houses of Congress turn blue? No way!

As for Biden, he’s got so much dirty laundry. Today Sarah Silverman retweeted news video from 1988 about Biden’s plagiarism: bit.ly/2wifauM Do you think the right is not going to harp on this?

Our country is so broken it’s nearly unfathomable.

We can’t agree on the facts, Kellyanne Conway says there are “alternative facts.” This used to be funny, but not anymore.

And Trump plays favorite with states, you’ve got to be nice to him or you don’t get supplies to combat the coronavirus.

And it doesn’t stop there, Trump excoriates corporations too, even when they’re doing what he’s asking them to!

So what happens now?

Some people will recover, some people will die, and at some point in the future we’ll go back to business as usual, even if it means more people dying.

And the believers in Jesus will try and pray the virus away, but even Rod Dreher in the “American Conservative” said no smart Christian would jump into shark-infested waters and that “all of us lock our doors at night, do we not?”

But reasonability has gone out the window.

And politics is a team sport. If Trump was convicted at the impeachment trial, the Republicans still would have held the Presidency, but it’s equivalent to the police blue line, cross it and you become a pariah.

But, once again, the he-said, she-said is no longer really that important. What we all can agree on is we’ve got a President who acts on whims, denies what he just recently said and demands total fealty, cross him and you’re done. Is this the country we want to live in?

But the right says the Democrats are so evil they cannot hold power.

Meanwhile, if you want an abortion, go to the back of the bus, we’ve got to focus on Covid-19 patients first. But they also have closed down abortion clinics and said you can’t get an abortion after a certain point in your pregnancy.

And then they say college campuses are bastions of liberal ideas, that they’re filling the younger generation’s heads with falsehoods and this must be stopped.

What they’re really saying is education, thinking for yourself, must be stopped.

The right is fighting on every front, and the left doesn’t understand this.

So, if Trump gets re-elected, and this could happen, what will the left do? NOTHING!

But if Biden wins…

Hold on to your hat.

Strange Days

I bought it the day I went to see “Last Summer” with my mother at Fairfield U., it was a screening with Frank and Eleanor Perry in attendance. I remember Frank saying they only used source music, that there was no score. And I was instantly wowed by Barbara Hershey, I didn’t seem to remember her from “The Monroes,” and honestly I didn’t quite get the rape scene at the time, this was before the #MeToo movement, this was before I was sexually active, this was long before we knew that Richard Thomas would become famous as John Boy and that Bruce Davison’s hair would go prematurely white. And when the web exploded, certainly after the year 2000, I looked up Catherine Burns, I always want to know what happened to people. Not much in her case. But checking up on Wikipedia just now I found out she died a year ago, of a fall and cirrhosis…when the spotlight fades and you get old do you turn to alcohol?

That’s one thing that’s not written about, how the older you get, the less you want to go out. You can never drop by. I’m not a big fan of Sebastian Maniscalco, but he does an amazing riff on this:

Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong With People?

(I know you’re inundated with links, but you should really click through on this one, because Maniscalco nails it and you’ll laugh and smile at the same time.)

There’s this talk about how the older you get you can’t burn the candle on both ends, but I’m not a big believer in this, actually I never liked to burn the candle on both ends, I hate being tired and in a fog. And the concept of people doing coke for days and never sleeping, that doesn’t sound fun to me. Although I do love to stay up all night, but I want to sleep the next day. But the bottom line is older people don’t go out just for the sake of it, they’ll go to an expensive dinner with their friends, they’re just not out at bars hunting for action. My point here being that for many boomers self-quarantining is not the big deal it is for younger people.

Searching for the best night of my life, and to be honest I had quite a few, I imbibed plenty, but then you never scale the heights again and you feel lousy the next day and something happens that makes you give it all up, at least that’s what happened to me. I never loved the taste of alcohol, I never hungered for a beer, but if you wanted to have fifteen and seek the aforementioned best night of your life, I was the person to call.

Also, the funny thing is the more money people have, the more worried they are about costs. Kids’ll pay fifteen bucks for a watered-down drink before adults will, but I’m digressing.

I instantly became a huge fan of the Perrys, that’s what happens when you see someone live, same deal with a good band, and went to see their next flick, “Diary of a Mad Housewife.” That’s the one that starred Carrie Snodgress, who went on to live with Neil Young. I knew who he was singing about in “A Man Needs a Maid.” That’s when music and movies were intertwined, not by soundtracks, not by financial impact so much as being on the bleeding edge, the essence of the cultural zeitgeist. You’d go to the movie and come out numb. Like after “The Last Picture Show.” Maybe the last time this happened was in ’79, with “The Deer Hunter,” now you leave the movies and want to get a meal, after all, the empty calories on screen don’t fill you up.

I probably would not remember the day I bought “Strange Days” if it didn’t coincide with the “Last Summer” screening. My mother made me go. My mother is a culture vulture. Staying home was never in her playbook until now, contradicting what I said above, there are always exceptions, but in today’s gotcha culture personal police are constantly informing offenders of exceptions, as if they denied the essence of what was said.

So I’d taken the VistaCruiser in the afternoon to buy the album.

But I’d had very little time to play it.

I’d skipped “Strange Days.” I went straight from the debut to “Waiting for the Sun” and “The Soft Parade.” I might be the only person who liked “Soft Parade,” the critics hated it and have been piling up on it ever since. Of course, the hit was “Touch Me,” which I never loved, but I could not get enough of “Runnin’ Blue” into “Wishful Sinful,” and what came next, of course, was the title track.

When I was back there in seminary school
There was a person there
Who put forth the proposition
That you can petition the Lord with prayer
Petition the Lord with prayer
Petition the Lord with prayer
You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!

People used to quote this to me all the time. But no one has recently. It’s like everybody’s lost their energy to be clever, to connect through art, the oldsters are all about possessions and lifestyles, where they are on the socioeconomic ladder, even though they professed they all wanted to be in it together back in the sixties. That’s the biggest change I’ve seen, income inequality. There are certain things people can do that others will never be able to. Like in the “Times” today, they talked about two girls taking the same class at Haverford. One was sequestered at her parents’ mansion in Maine (and it is a mansion, at least for a second home, you can see a pic here:

College Made Them Feel Equal. The Virus Exposed How Unequal Their Lives Are.

and the other was working her parents’ food truck in Florida.

Now after being excoriated by the critics, the Doors went back to basics on “Morrison Hotel,” but they didn’t get as much ink, and this was before every burg had its own underground FM station, when most people only heard the hits.

And then Morrison died, and critics have been piling on ever since, but they all seem to agree the last album, without Paul Rothchild, “L.A. Woman,” is really good.

Now I never ever hear anybody talk about “Waiting for the Sun” these days. However, “Love Street” epitomizes the sixties more than all those documentaries, it sounds like it was cut in L.A., with sunshine and opportunity, which is why everybody wanted to move to California, they wanted to be free.

But you hear even less about “Strange Days.”

Until now.

1. “Strange Days”

This was no “Break On Through.” “Strange Days” was not a Stones album opener, at best it was an introduction to what followed. It was good, but it was not spectacular, it was not something your friends had to hear when they came to your house, which was a regular activity when we all had different albums and played them for each other.

2. “You’re Lost Little Girl”

Dark. Sure, the Doors had radio hits, but it was their darker material that bonded their fans to them. Hit music today is not dark. After all, when you construct a song by committee no one opens a vein and admits their flaws and foibles, in a group you want to fit in, and you might be able to call yourself a “geek,” but “loser” has never come into favor.

I bought “Strange Days” in the fall. The days were getting shorter, and when it’s dark outside, it’s the more personal, darker tracks that resonate.

3. “Love Me Two Times”

Don’t trust the statistics on this. The web will tell you that this made it to #25 on the singles chart, but you never heard it on AM in the New York area. Oh, you heard it on FM underground radio, but that was not for everybody, certainly not yet.

And listening right now on the Genelecs, via Amazon Ultra HD, I’m stunned how good this sounds. That changed the music, the poor reproduction methods that started to become de rigueur in the nineties, when suddenly a boom box was a stereo. And now reproduction is so bad, through tiny earphones, that the bass is emphasized in recordings and all nuance is lost. So, even if you want to take a lot of time to make an exquisite sounding album, almost no one is ever going to hear it that way.

4. “Unhappy Girl”

We were unhappy. At least I was. There was no web, there was no way you could connect with like-minded people all over the world, instead you were either popular or you were not. And if you weren’t, you spent a lot of time in your home, listening to music, fantasizing, dreaming, that you were in the bar with Jim encountering an unhappy girl, thinking that the two of you would connect.

5. “Horse Latitudes”

Huh?

No one else was doing this. And since we played these albums from beginning to end, we knew it. It seemed like artists testing limits, something that is not part of the mainstream today.

6. “Moonlight Drive”

The sixth song on side one, which was actually a lot at this time, people had started to go down to five. Sure, you could make a double album and have almost sixty minutes of music, but this was long before the seventy-odd minute CD era when there was too much music to digest, the single-oriented web is a reaction to that.

A good track, that once again, made one think of Los Angeles, after all, we’d seen enough movies of this.

And now, I’m gonna do what Deep Purple did when I went to the Wiltern to see them perform “Machine Head” in its entirety, I’m gonna flip the second side and save the best for last, as Vanessa Williams sang. You know, when the snow comes down in June. Actually, I’ve seen that, and if I ruled the world it would happen every year. I loved this song so much, I taped it from MTV so I could hear it whenever I wanted to, this is what you used to do before the internet. And last year I had dinner with Ms. Williams and she was so forthcoming and open, most celebrities are on guard, but if they feel simpatico, they’ll open up and tell you anything. You see artists are a tribe, and even though most people love the work, they don’t truly understand those who made it.

4. ‘When the Music’s Over”

A poor man’s “The End,” at least that’s what it seemed like to this listener, even though my understanding is its creation predated the issuance of the initial LP. I liked “When the Music’s Over,” but it seemed pedestrian compared with “The End,” it didn’t quite resonate the same way.

3. “I Can’t See Your Face in My Mind”

Dreamy. Part of the album, but not really memorable.

2. “My Eyes Have Seen You”

It struck me back then how there were two songs in a row about seeing, didn’t offend me, but I just thought there was somebody involved who would nix this. Did you read the obits of Bill Withers? Columbia told him how to do it, so he just stopped. Another reason why today’s era is better than the old one, however we do have miles to go to coherence.

1. “People Are Strange”

Once again, don’t trust the stats. They say “People Are Strange” made it to #12 on the singles chart, but the truth is most people didn’t hear it until FM rock radio was ubiquitous, then it became a staple, maybe played infrequently, but enough to the point everybody knew it.

People are strange, definitely, but not as strange as the era we’re in.

We don’t know if we’re gonna live or die, whether to be on total lockdown or ease the rules just a bit, whether only old, infirm people will die or it could happen to anybody. There are no answers. We’re used to answers, look at the web, you can look up anything! But when it comes to Covid-19…

One thing is for sure, we were unprepared, and the virus is still ahead of us, we’re still trying to rein it in, get control of it. Meanwhile, people are still denying it’s a big deal.

It’s eerie, just like this song, just like “Strange Days” itself.

That’s why “Strange Days” endures, it’s strange and a bit distant itself. I can’t name another album that sounds like it. If they were looking for a hit single, they were so far off the mark it’s funny. I mean the next album had “Hello, I Love You,” which seemed to be a blatant attempt for radio attention, with an interesting sound, but vapid lyrics. And, unlike anything on “Strange Days” it was in your face. Hits grab you immediately, get stuck in your brain but never migrate to your soul. It’s the album cuts, that which is left of center, that resonates and changes your life.

So, “People Are Strange” has been running through my brain every day for weeks.

But I don’t think I’m the only one.