Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 23, 2022


[Love Over Gold] -- Forty years ago this week, Dire Straits released their fourth studio album, Love Over Gold. With only five tracks, it still clocked in at just over 40 minutes of music. That was due in large part to the band's longer form songs: The opening track, "Telegraph Road," is nearly 15 minutes long as it weaves through history to provide an object lesson in overdevelopment and exploitation. Even the shortest song, the single "Industrial Disease," is 12 seconds shy of hitting the six minute mark. At a time when radio formats and record execs pushed artists to make songs that were short and snappy, or even short and sappy, this record was an outlier. 

And it ranks as one of my favorite records from the 1980s. 

Guitarist Mark Knopfler is in full control of his instrument, ripping blistering solos and squeezing out languid riffs with equal fervor. He was also in full control of the studio, Love Over Gold being the first record on which he possesses solo credit as producer (in collaboration with Neil Dorfsman as recording engineer). 

Only two singles were released. First was "Private Investigations," which peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, but did not chart in the US. There were two versions of the song: the album version was 6:45 long, while the single edit was trimmed to be barely under six minutes (5:51). The second single was the highly humorous "Industrial Disease" (British slang for work-related illness or disease), which did chart in the US, reaching #9 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart as well as #75 on the Billboard Hot 100. One could make the argument that "Industrial Disease is a prequel of sorts for the band's 1985 (and MTV) hit, "Money for Nothing." 

Regarding the title track, "Love Over Gold," it seems to me that this record was a statement of art over popularity. At least, that's what I make of the final verse of that song:
It takes love over goldAnd mind over matterTo do what you do that you mustWhen the things that you holdCan fall and be shatteredOr run through your fingers like dust

Let us know what you think. 

Flashback: Love Over Gold (September 24, 1982)




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Lightyear

 Dangrdafne review

I was really looking forward to watching Lightyear. I love the Toy Story movies (although truth be told we still have not see #4). I always thought my toys were alive and would do things when I wasn't looking. So the movies always fed my childhood dreams.

I like this clever take on an origin story for Buzz Lightyear. Seems very meta or something. I definitely enjoyed reading all the trivia on IMDB after the movie. Pixar loves their hidden "Mickeys". 

If you enjoy Toy Story or Pixar I recommend this movie. My absolute favorite part of the movie was Sox, the cat. Like Goose in Captain Marvel, he is a critical part of the movie. I also just think he is soooo adorable and hilarious.

I wish I hadn't read some of the reviews of this movie though. I don't understand why people just can't watch a simple animated movie and enjoy it. Not every movie will be award worthy or perfect. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie overall and I am glad we watched. Moreso than our last one, Thor: Love and Thunder. 

The movie is funny, heartwarming, clever and fun.

3 paws

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 16, 2022


[40 Years of Dreaming] -- I know Kate Bush was recently in the news when her 1985 single, "Running Up That Hill," was featured in the hit series, Stranger Things. But this week's flashback is going to wind back to three years prior to "Hill"'s release. In fact, we're winding back to 40 years ago this week, when Kate Bush released her fourth studio album, The Dreaming. A "theatrical and abstract piece of work" (AllMusic) that was equal parts fan favorite and commercial failure (Pitchfork), The Dreaming is considered one of Bush's most experimental recordings. As a product of English art rock, The Dreaming plays in the realms of the fantastic, with witches and otherworldly lovers appearing in equal parts as protagonists and objects of, well, fascination. But it's a grounded and focused fascination, driven by layered synths, echoed choruses, fretless bass, and piano. And, pushing the experimental aspect of the record, the instrumentation also features the use of mandolins, uilleann pipes, and didgeridoos. 

Despite the record's seeming (or declared?) uncommercial nature, The Dreaming peaked at #3 on the UK album chart, and it also squeaked into the US Billboard 200 at #157. The album spawned five singles: "Sat in Your Lap," "The Dreaming," "There Goes a Tenner," "Suspended in Gaffa," and "Night of the Swallow." I alternate between "Suspended in Gaffa" and "Sat in Your Lap" as my personal favorites. Then there's the title track, "The Dreaming," with its themes of empire wreaking political and environmental violence; it rates as a close second, at least for me. I also very much like the album's closing track, "Get Out of My House." Inspired by stories of isolated madness (like Stephen King's The Shining), it's pretty much a Gothic horror story masquerading as an avant-garde song. You'll have to let me know what you think of it, but you have to admit that it's an appropriate track to consider as we enter the spooky season.

Perhaps The Dreaming was too experimental, or even shocking, for audiences in the early 1980s. Hence the mixed critical reception it received at the time. However, I notice this record has gained more favorable reviews over time, and maybe there's a wider audience for it now. Stranger things have happened in a record's history, eh?

FlashbackThe Dreaming (September 13, 1982)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder

 Dangrdafne review

I was really looking forward to this movie the other night. I had heard some not good things but I try to not let it get to me and form my own opinion. Well, after watching it ... I wasn't thrilled with it and I am sad for that. 

I think the first two thirds of the movie was meh and the last third was good and more like the Thor movies I like. It all just felt a little frenetic, thrown together and it spent more time on trying to get ideas into the movie rather than things that served the story.

I don't mind a humorous Thor but it has to work for the story and most of the humor just didn't work for me this time. Something was off. I also felt like some information was missing. How did God Killer figure out his end game? Brainwise filled in how it might have happened but it certainly was not in the movie.

The music was awesome! Guns N Roses used to perfection.

My biggest question is ... why Russell Crowe? Oh my that casting just did NOT work for me and what was up with the accent. I just didn't get it or understand. 

I'm grateful that the movie was only 2 hours long but honestly they should have made it longer and filled in the missing information... and removed some questionable humor. 

 The death and love themes saved this movie from being 1 paw from me.

2 paws


Friday, September 9, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 9, 2022


[Signals] -- 40 years ago today, Rush released their ninth studio album, Signals. As a follow-up to the highly successful and well received Moving Pictures (1981), the new record was ... let's just say it was ... unexpected. Although Rush had been integrating synthesizers as early as 1974 (2112), and had progressively changed over the course of eight studio albums, the heavier use of electronic instrumentation was too much of a change for some longtime fans. And because Signals' new arrangements and influences came at the seeming sacrifice of Alex Lifeson's guitar work, some fans and critics were at odds with this record. Rolling Stone panned it as a boring technological morass. AllMusic retroactively praises it. 

I grew up in the 1970s but I came of age during the 1980s. So, I was able to take Rush's changes in stride and even embrace them. For me, Signals represents a delicate balance between synth-driven aesthetics and hard rock grooves. Speaking of grooves, how many other prog-rock artists were playing with reggae ("Chemistry" and "Digital Man") or collaborating with an electric violinist in the early 1980s? Maybe some more obscure acts were willing to experiment like that, but I'd wager very few platinum-selling artists at Rush's level were taking those risks. 

And it was a successful gambit. Signals peaked at #1, #3, and #10 on Canadian, UK, and US album charts respectively. Before the end of the year, the album would go platinum (i.e., it sold one million copies in the United States). Those sales were, no doubt, spurred by the chart success of "New World Man," Rush's first single to crack the US top 40 by peaking at #21. It remains the band's highest charting US single. The album's second single, "Subdivisions," peaked within the top ten of two US charts: the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 and the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This semi-autobiographical tale of social stratification has become something of a signature song for Rush. Wikipedia lists "Countdown" as Signal's third and final single, but elsewhere I see it listed as the B-side for "New World Man." Whatever its release status, "Countdown" was inspired by the band's opportunity to watch a shuttle launch as VIP guests of NASA. The song's other claim to fame is as a wakeup song for astronauts during STS-109, the last successful flight of the Shuttle Columbia

My favorite tracks are "Chemistry" and "Last Exit" (the latter tune featuring the aforementioned electronic violin solo). 

FlashbackSignals – Rush (9/9/1982)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 2, 2022


[The Fad is the Flag] -- Embracing elements of both new wave and early industrial music, Frank Tovey (9/8/1956 - 4/3/2002) was an electronic musician and vocalist based in London, England. Starting in 1980 and continuing through early 1984, Tovey performed using the name Fad Gadget, releasing four studio albums under that moniker. Then, from late 1984 through 1992, he released another six studio albums under his own name. This week on the Flashback, we revisit Fad Gadget's third studio release, Under the Flag, released 40 years ago this week on 9/1/1982. 

Tovey had become a father shortly before recording Under the Flag, and he was reportedly afraid of the world in which his newborn daughter would grow into adulthood. He channeled those fears and anxieties into writing ten songs for what amounts to an almost concept album. I mean, at least the opening and closing tracks, "Under The Flag I" and "Under The Flag II," are thematically connected through their lyrics about a British man with a newborn baby during the Falklands War. I suppose it's up to the listener as to whether tracks 2 through 9 maintain a cohesive narrative about the fledgling father. Other reviewers say it's a bit of a mixed bag. But I would counter that, in tone and feeling if not lyrically, the entire album does convey something of an individual's defeatist attitude toward what was then the present day (i.e., the early 1980s), as well as a hint of nihilism for what days may yet come. 

Yeah, totally not applicable to the early 2020s, eh? 

Anyway, give it a whirl. My favorite track is "For Whom the Bells Toll," one of Under the Flag's two singles, the other being "Life on the Line," which is also a good listen. But the other track that, for me, is a close second, if not equal, to "For Whom the Bells Toll," is "Plainsong." It might throw you a bit in the beginning, but stick with it. Trust me.

And do let me know what you think of this coldwave offering. Is it synthpop or futurepop?

FlashbackUnder the Flag (September 1982)




That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Encanto

 Dangrdafne review


What a glorious movie!

So lush, beautiful, happy, celebratory, deep, true to life and wonderful. 

I have recently admitted I’m not a huge animated Disney movie fan. This one bucks that trend. I bopped along with every song. I laugh, I cried, I cheered, I identified waaaay too much with these characters. 

Luisa’s song, Surface Pressure, may be one of my favorite Disney songs now. Just perfect! And a touch too true to life and on the nose for so many women and people overall. 

I highly recommend this movie to have a little Disney therapy and to dance and hum along for some great fun. 

4 paws