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, June 11, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 11, 2021

 


[Dreaming in Blue] -- Last week, this blog featured Synchronicity (1983), the final studio album Sting recorded as a member of The Police. So, why not follow that up with Sting's first solo record, The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)? In early 1984, breaking up a popular rock band at the height of their commercial success, and shortly after a record-breaking tour, probably didn't seem all that logical. And when The Dream of the Blue Turtles debuted in June 1985, lots of fans probably wondered why Sting had traded rock'n'roll stardom for a jazzier sound. Perhaps they did not realize, or recall, that all three members of The Police had jazz backgrounds. In fact, Stewart Copeland first saw Sting when the latter was performing with a jazz fusion outfit in Newcastle. 

But Sting didn't want to necessarily make a jazz record as his first big solo outing. No, his "intention was to use musicians who had the finesse of playing jazz, but to make music without that label" (UCR, June 2015). And so, he recruited a brilliant set of musicians -- Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), Omar Hakim (drums) and Darryl Jones (bass) -- to create an album that was not stifled by what he viewed as the restrictive format of pop or rock. If the five singles and a handful of Grammy nominations (scroll down to 1985 here) are any indication, he succeeded. So, let's revisit this record which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year. 

Also, after the past year of virtual gatherings, does that first video (for "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free") make anyone else think of Zoom backgrounds? 

FlashbackThe Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)



Track order in the embedded playlist...

Side one
1. "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"
2. "Love Is the Seventh Wave"
3. "Russians" Sergei Prokofiev, Sting
4. "Children's Crusade"
5. "Shadows in the Rain"

Side two
6. "We Work the Black Seam"
7. "Consider Me Gone"
8. "The Dream of the Blue Turtles"
9. "Moon over Bourbon Street"
10. "Fortress Around Your Heart"


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, June 8, 2021

The New Mutants - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

I didn't know what to expect at all. Brainwise said it was in the X-Men franchise and that it might be a horror. I saw that it was PG-13, so how much horror could there really be.

Well, there were scary things for sure and some shocking things too but I guess I think of gore with horror and I would say this was more mind horror and less gore but I was perfectly ok with it and it didn't scar me or anything, which is good overall.

I didn't know any of the characters and I might say I am not sure I still do. I felt like the movie makers had lots they wanted to show but didn't know how to put it all together so they did the best they could to put the pieces together to make a movie. Now, mind you, I didn't hate the movie at all and I might even watch it again if it were to come up but it is certainly nothing I will rave about. 

The actors did their job and I did care about them and would watch more if made, but if they don't make any more movies about them, I will be ok too. I don't feel I wasted my time watching the movie and we did say that we could always turn it off if we didn't like it but we watched the whole movie. I realize these are not glowing endorsements and if you are not into the X-men franchise I would definitely tell you to skip it.

Along those lines I like the X-men but this pushed the far boundaries of their tales and I did not know the characters or story lines at all. So I think if you know the X-men well you might like this more as you would catch the themes, stories and characters and may have more invested in it. Again though I didn't hate the movie but I could have liked it more for sure :)

2 paws

Friday, June 4, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 4, 2021

 


[A connecting principle] -- Earlier this week, I saw a Facebook post about Synchronicity, the final studio album from The Police. According that particular write-up, The Police released this album on 6/1/1983. I thought, "Perfect! There's my topic for this week's Flashback!" However, in compiling notes for my own post, I found that other sources, Wikipedia and AllMusic among them, list 6/17/1983 as the release date. Either way, this album hit the charts 38 years ago this month. But if you're interested, the band's own website lists 6/1/1983 as the release date, so I could just as easily say the record came out 38 years ago this very week, if I wanted to be that much more topical (or synchronous, I suppose). 

Anyway, after spending most of 1982 on non-Police endeavors, the band reconvened to hammer out the details of their next studio record. The three of them had outlines of roughly 20 different songs. After their usual battles, they pared the list down to 11 tracks. This tally worked out to their typical balance of songwriting credits -- one Copeland song, one and a half from Summers, and the rest by Sting, who was largely regarded the best songwriter among them. As such, according to Summers, there were "hardly any broken hearts" over the final song selection. Synchronicity (1983) was named after Arthur Koestler's book, The Roots of Coincidence, which mentions Carl Jung's theory of Synchronicity. This was The Police's most successful album to date, spawning four hit singles and winning a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Early in the tour, just before playing to a crowd of 18,000 in New York's Shea Stadium, the band realized that things couldn't get much bigger. According to Sting, this was "the beginning of the end." Well, I guess if you have to end a musical collaboration, you might as well go out on a high note like Synchronicity, quite likely as close as a group can get to a perfect record. And because I truly believe Synchronicity is nearly perfect, I have to feature all 11 tracks for this post, right? Right! 

Flashback: The Police, Synchronicity (1983)



Here are the tracks embedded in this week's video playlist (which is your favorite?):
  1. Synchronicity I
  2. Walking in Your Footsteps
  3. O My God
  4. Mother
  5. Miss Gradenko
  6. Synchronicity II
  7. Every Breath You Take
  8. King of Pain
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Murder by Numbers

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, June 1, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

 Dangrdafne review:

I could not have have picked a better day to finally sit down and read this book: Memorial Day. I feel as though I fully honored the millions of people who have given their lives for our freedoms by reading this book today. And what a glorious book it is.

I finished it speechless and crying. I impatiently waited for this book from Madeline Martin but it was worth every second of the wait. Her writing and story telling are impeccable. I could see every moment of the book in my mind and while some of it I wish I couldn't, that means it is a great book. 

It is a story about World War II with incredible historical accuracy but it is so much more than that. It is about friendship, family, love, honor, compassion, loss, strength, the love of books and women who defy all the odds. It is truly a remarkable book. As I wrote to Madeline after I finished the book, "You touched a part of my soul that has been quiet for a long time." 

I kept writing down passages I liked until I realized I was writing most of the book. But I know it was going to be good from the very first page and this line, "...and gave a freshly applied vermillion smile." What a perfect description!! I feel like every word was perfectly chosen and held more meaning that I could even glean from them. I just really fell into the world and it is very hard leaving it now.

It also seems like a book appropriate for the pandemic. The themes at times were very similar and the teachings from WWII could certainly apply to 2020 and 2021. There are so many pieces of the book I want to share with you but it would most definitely take away from the beauty of discovering it all on your own.

All I can promise is that it is worth your time to read this book and relish in its beauty. To all my friends who love books, please, please add this book to your 'to read' list to read next. I can not recommend it enough. "One book at a time."

4 paws and a tail

Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 28, 2021


[Memorial Top Ten] -- Monday, 5/31/2021, is the last Monday in May and is therefore the date on which we observe Memorial Day here in the States. So, as of today, many are in Memorial Day Weekend mode. Looking at the weather, there might be fewer cookouts in this particular area, but grilling isn't the primary function of this holiday weekend. Of course, remembering 1980s tunes isn't the primary, or even the tertiary, function of the holiday either, but we on the Bookended crew have to work with what we've got. 

Anyway, back in 1981, Memorial Day was Monday, May 25. So, that year, the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend was Friday, May 22. And while I could have looked to see what records were released just before the holiday weekend, I figured it might be more of a treat to see what was aleady topping the charts as of the end of that week: Saturday, May 23. These would, of course, be the songs blaring from many a radio at more than one point that weekend. Fortunately, I was able to get the top ten list from both Billboard and Top 40 Weekly. And I compiled them into a YouTube playlist! 

Do you know what song topped the Billboard Hot 100 this holiday weekend in 1981? Maybe even more important, do you know which of these tracks still rank highly in my list of all-time favorites? 

FlashbackBillboard Hot 100, Top 10 for May 23, 1981 



Counting down from #10 to #1, here are the songs that are embedded in the video playlist:

10. “Watching The Wheels” — John Lennon
9. “Too Much Time On My Hands” — Styx
8. “Sukiyaki” — A Taste Of Honey
7. “Living Inside Myself” — Gino Vannelli
6. “Take It On The Run” — REO Speedwagon
5. “Medley” — Stars On 45
4. “Angel Of The Morning” — Juice Newton
3. “Just The Two Of Us” — Grover Washington, Jr.
2. “Being With You” — Smokey Robinson
1. “Bette Davis Eyes” — Kim Carnes

And 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!

Note: Image of the 5/23/1981 Billboard Magazine is from WorthPoint.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 21, 2021


[Dregs of the Earth] -- Tomorrow (May 22, 2021, as I write this) -- would have been my father's 75th birthday. I say "would have" because he passed away due to complications with his second bone marrow transplant eight years ago. Some of you may recall reading updates about Dad's final journey, which started around the middle of March 2013 and ran through to his death on May 4, just a few weeks shy of his 67th birthday.

Although he is physically gone now, Dad was very much alive in the 1980s, and ever ready to help me with my musical appreciation. I'm sure he was at least slightly worried that I would be hopelessly lost to new wave, heavy metal, or synthpop. He wanted me to be grounded in the classics (er, classic rock) and jazz. And genres that incorporated elements of jazz (jazz fusion, world music, etc.). Of course, Dad loved bands that straddled both the classic rock and jazz genres. One such band was Dixie Dregs

They released nine studio records, four in the 1980s. And their first 1980s release was Dregs of the Earth (1980). As AllMusic muses in a review of this record, the Dregs "must have been an awfully tough band to market back in the day." I mean, what with "Dixie" in their name and their obvious country influences stirred into a stew of jazz, blues, funk, prog, and more. You can hear the southern influence in tracks like "Road Expense" and "Pride o' the Farm." "I'm Freaking Out" blends jazz and prog, at least I think so (particularly with the organ riffs). But then there's "The Great Spectacular" that straight up rips the roof off your car, even if you don't have a convertible! It's certainly one of my favorite Dregs tunes. And it was one of Dad's faves, too.

Happy birthday, Dad. I'm enjoying this record once again in your honor. 

Flashback: Dregs of the Earth (1980)



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, May 18, 2021

Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Disney Plus

 Dangrdafne review:

First statement, I love Anthony Mackie... as Falcon ;)

I also love Sebastian Stan as Bucky/The Winter Soldier.

Put them together and Dangrdafne is a happy TV watcher.

I will admit that when this series started I was not as into it as I thought I would be and we even paused it numerous time to talk about other things. But half way through something changed and suddenly I was fully involved and when it was over I was greatly impressed with the story and I loved how it all tied together.

I was impressed how it wasn't just a superhero show and it wasn't about fighting just a villain, it was about fighting racism and supremacy of all kinds. I found myself sympathizing with the "bad guys" and villains and wishing everyone in the world would watch this show if for nothing more than just Anthony Mackie's final monologue. It was true brilliance and so many could learn from it. This show hurt and it should. People should have to look at themselves and question their motives, their ideals and how they interact with our human beings on this earth. That is a tall order for a TV show but this easily met that order and exceeded it.

I am glad we watched it over two days and not over the six weeks that the show actually ran but it did allow for one spoiler for me and I am pretty sad about it. I won't post it here but I am hopeful there will be some other reason or outcome for this item as it involves one of my favorite characters. I was also spoiled by a casting but since I am not well versed on Marvel history I did not know what it meant... and honestly I still don't LOL.

If you love the Marvel Universe, this is a MUST watch. If you want to learn more about the human race, this is a MUST watch. The acting is well done, the story is interesting and timely, the music and action are impeccable and it is part of the history, current stories and future telling that we all have come to love in the Marvel world.

4 paws

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 14, 2021


[Take a Walk on the East Side] -- In May of 1981, a mere four decades ago as I write this, Squeeze released their fourth studio album, East Side Story. This was the first record to feature new, and brief, keyboardist/vocalist Paul Carrack. Even with Carrack featured on the lead vocals of "Tempted," the band's first hit in the US, and some influence from primary producer Elvis Costello, this record was still very much a Difford and Tilbrook jaunt. I'm calling it a jaunt because, though the usual elements are in place, East Side Story's songs delved into other sounds such as rockabilly, blue-eyed soul, Merseybeat, etc. According to AllMusic, East Side Story is "regarded as Squeeze's grand masterpiece." An I have to agree. The record peaked at #44 on the US Billboard Pop Albums chart and at #19 on the UK Official Albums Chart. The four singles released from this album include the aforementioned "Tempted," the snappy "Is That Love," the mournful "Labelled with Love," and the rockabillesque "Messed Around." All but "Messed Around" appear on Squeeze's 1982 compilation Singles – 45's and Under (well, at least on the US version, but that's a story for another post). All 14 tracks of East Side Story's original release are included in this week's embedded YouTube playlist. 

FlashbackEast Side Story (May, 1981)



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, May 11, 2021

WandaVision Disney Plus

 Dangrdafne review:

Wow!

That is where I will start.

What an incredible story, show, cast, music, visuals, and dialogue about grief.

This post may have spoilers if you haven't watched the show yet. I usually don't have spoilers but I can't not talk about the main point of this show.

Grief

I have never laughed so much at something so depressingly sad. The amount of pain and anguish that Wanda endures is overwhelming and they make sure you feel it in this show. But she tries to deal with it in the only way she knows how... family sitcoms of the 50's through current. What a clever and amazing idea and it is carried out with perfection.

We intended to watch this show over a few nights... yeah, that didn't happen... we watched it all in one night and I am so glad we did. It truly envelopes you and doesn't let go. The story is perfectly paced and put together. There is back story, there is history, there is future telling and there is pain and suffering to the nth degree. I feel so much empathy and sympathy for Wanda. She has lost so much and she just keeps moving...although maybe not always forward but she keeps moving.

Watching how her decisions affect others and how some of her decisions are made for her without her knowing is difficult to watch at times but that is a good thing. It means the show is doing what it should.

I am making this sound like a complete downer of a show but it really isn't. It is a wonderful take on grief and how it can affect someone even someone with incredible powers. Grief doesn't care if you are an Avenger or a superhero. And there is so much joy and laughter in the show too. If you know your family sitcom history back to the 50s you will be treated to the ultimate in honoring the various themes. Be sure to look all around the rooms in each episode and surprise yourself in guessing what show the episode is based on... if you haven't already been spoiled before you watch... we were not spoiled and we had fun picking the sitcom we were watching. We got all but one and we were in the right area for the one we missed.

Elizabeth Olsen has been quoted as saying she didn't want to become an actress at one point and I am forever grateful for whatever changed her mind. To me she is perfect as Wanda and I feel like they have become almost one and the same. Paul Bettany has always had my heart from back in his Jarvis days. He epitomizes Vision and I can imagine no other in the role. Then put Wanda and Vision together and it is a love story to end all love stories. Pure, genuine, all consuming, and truly until death do us part.

I loved this show and I am grateful to the minds who created it. It is truly so clever and detailed and moving and funny. I love that I have these stories in my mind now and can access them when I need a reminder of love or grief. I would definitely watch this again and again.

4 paws 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for May 7, 2021

 


[This Flashback Will Eat Itself, Maybe] -- I cannot truly consider this week's album a Flashback, at least not for me. I discovered it in late 2020 and I've been saving it for around this time of this year. I actually emailed the links and the album graphic to myself (and then I used Gmail's "Snooze" feature to ensure I'd be prompted early this month). But, hey, maybe some of my fellow 80sphiles will recognize this 1989 release, thereby qualifying my latest efforts as a true Flashback. 

Anyway, industrial rockers Pop Will Eat Itself (or PWEI for short) released their sophomore album -- This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! -- on May 1, 1989. That was a mere 32 years ago! Flood, a producer who had worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, U2, and Depeche Mode, was on production duties for this record, the second of three PWEI releases for which he had twiddled knobs and dials. Flood can be credited for pumping up the thick sound on this record, but PWEI themselves also deserve some credit for, as AllMusic reviewer Ned Raggett puts it, their "mesh and mix of U.S. and ... U.K. pop culture in with the metal riffs, disco backing, monster drum stomps, and more." If you're familiar with their influences, you might be able to catch where they ape such acts as the Beasties or Spinderella (I, however, am not as familiar, so I won't even try to point them out). 

This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! charted at #24 on the UK Albums Chart and at #169 on the US Billboard 200. The album's UK success was likely helped by spawning two Top 40 hits (and greater local familiarity, of course): "Can U Dig It?" (#38) and "Wise Up! Sucker" (#41). Oh, and I should point out that "Can U Dig It?" is rife with comic book references, so I'm digging it a little more each time I listen to it, particularly when I watch the music video (which is linked in this paragraph and included in the embedded playlist below). 

So, you tell me: Can you dig this, or should it have eaten itself?

Flashback: This Is the Day...This Is the Hour...This Is This! (1989)



Well, 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, May 4, 2021

Mortal Kombat - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

All I remembered going into this movie was playing the video game a couple of times with a friend of mine over 25 years ago. I remember the two of us going all out with hitting the buttons to just attack over and over and over - even physically pushing each other to help - until one of us would win by chance. I loved it! I miss it! LOL

I really liked this movie. It was a story that you could follow even if you had no previous knowledge of the game or other movies. It was action galore! It was funny. It was poignant. It was ultra violent - like 'oh my goodness I can’t believe they showed that' violet. It more than earned its R rating. But I loved it. I mean, come on, it’s Mortal Kombat not Candy Land.

I loved the actors chosen for all the roles, except perhaps Shang Tsung, he didn’t seem edgy enough for the role but he wasn’t bad, just not perfect. Kano was too perfect, man I hated him but really that is a good thing.  Lewis Tan as Cole was spectacular but Hiroyuki Sanada was perfection. I adore this actor and was thrilled to see him cast in the movie. He portrays Hanzo Hasashi and I couldn't imagine anyone else in the role. I felt he was born to play this role and he did not disappoint.

The music was also perfection! I kept turning up the volume because I just wanted to be immersed in the sounds. Benjamin Wallfisch composed the heck out of this movie. 

There was a section where I thought the fighting was going on a bit too long and I read that they had cut some fights, which I am grateful for as it would definitely would have been too much. I normally balk at all the violence but again, this was Mortal Kombat and it was completely expected and ok overall with me.

3 paws

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 30, 2021

 

[On a Lark] -- With the exception of the very first week of April, my birthday month, I have been using the Flashback posts to feature music from 1986, the year I turned 18. And now that we have come to the end of April, we are going out with a bang. 

In October 1986, English rock band XTC released their ninth studio album, Skylarking. It's a much better record for April and May, what with a third of the tracks evoking feelings of spring through summer. But that still makes sense as the album was recorded between April and June of 1986. Skylarking is one of XTC's better known records, and it reached #90 and #70 on album charts in the UK and the US respectively. Prior to recording, however, label executives had threatened to drop XTC if their next album wasn't a bigger success (their prior record, 1984's The Big Express, had been a commercial failure). Apparently, the label figured the problem was that XTC sounded "too English," so they wanted the band to use an American producer. Of the listed producers suggested to them, Todd Rundgren's name was the only one XTC recognized. On paper, a pairing of Rundgren and XTC probably looked like a smashing idea. However, the sessions were rife with tension, mainly due to clashes between Rundgren and Andy Partridge (XTC's leader as well as primary singer and songwriter). As of March 2016, there was still animosity between the two artists (Todd Rundgren Reignites Feud With XTC Over 'Skylarking').

The results more or less speak for themselves (I already mentioned its popularity and top 100 placements). And with a total of 15 solid tracks to select from, I find narrowing down to a few faves to be a difficult task. Still, I usually cite "Dear God" (about a struggling agnostic who writes a letter to God), "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul," and "Earn Enough For Us" (which has previously appeared in a Flashback post) as my favorites on this record. Of my selections, only "Dear God" was released as a single, but it was also the b-side for the album's first single ("Grass"). That's kind of interesting given that this song was left off the original pressing, and that it caused a bit of controversy when it hit airwaves. And that was not the only controversy for this album: Apparently Andy Partridge originally had something else in mind for the album's cover art

The entire album's playlist, including "Dear God," is embedded for your listening pleasure this weekend.   

Flashback Skylarking (1986)




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, April 27, 2021

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Final Season

 Dangrdafne review:

I loved the first 3 seasons of Sabrina and was really looking forward to this final season. I was a little disappointed through the first few episodes as they were overly predictable and a fully encapsulated story but around episode 4 to 5 it went back to what I liked and the episodes ran together more and carried the story over the episodes instead of ending after an hour.

My favorite part of the season is something I don’t want to spoil for people as I wasn’t spoiled, which I can not believe at all, but it was a glorious idea and a perfect use of characters. A great homage and inclusion of history.

And even though I knew what the ending would be, I was ok with it and I still sobbed (but I cry at almost anything really). I think Kiernan Shipka is just incredible and she did Sabrina proud and any girls who watch this show should find a great woman to watch and strive to be in many ways. I do love how women are the forefront of the show and we see all kinds of women throughout the four seasons.

I love that quite a few story lines were worked through and closed. Many characters received extra special treatment and I am glad for that. It felt good to see some closure for some characters close to my heart. Although I wish there were two more episodes to the season so that some things were not so rushed and prettily put together in order to end the show.

I am grateful this show was created and lasted as long as it did. I loved the family aspects of the show and appreciate the female centric stories. It is a little gory at times and scary too but if I can watch it, you can too. It is worth it.

4 paws - all seasons


Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 23, 2021


[My Memory Lies in Dust] -- For the remainder of April, my birthday month, I am featuring music from 1986, the year I turned 18. Before we go any further with this post, I have to admit that I do not recall the last time I listened to this week's album in its entirety. But now that I've re-listened to both the original release and the CD bonus tracks in preparation for this post, I'm wondering, "Why have I left this out of my personal rotation for so long??" This album is such a time capsule for me, evoking memories and whole moods from my first year of college. 

On 4/21/1986, Siouxsie and the Banshees released their seventh studio album, Tinderbox. This album included two singles: The very excellent "Cities in Dust" (which had been previously released in October 1985) and "Candyman" (which hit the charts in February 1986). Remember, kids, singles used to be used as teasers for upcoming LPs or EPs. I didn't hear either single, let alone the rest of the album, until September of 1986, but better late than never, right? 

Tinderbox was a critical success, hitting #13 and #88 on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 respectively. Also notable on this record is the non single track, 92° because it kicks off with a sample of dialog from the 1953 film It Came from Outer Space (clip): "Did you know, Putnam, that more murders are committed at 92 Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easygoing. Over 92, it's too hot to move. But just 92, people get irritable!"

"Cities in Dust," the lead single, was the band's first significant success in the States, climbing to #17 on the US Hot Dance/Disco chart. There are several delicious remixes of this track, including the Extended Eruption Mix and the more recent Herb's Banshee Tribute Remix.

This week, we have two playlists. The first embedded YouTube playlist has the eight tracks of the original vinyl and cassette release. The second one has the five bonus tracks from the 1986 CD release. If you remember Tinderbox, it's time to blow the dust off your memories like I did. If you're new to Siouxsie, prepare yourself to experience a post-punk band at their peak. 


FlashbackTinderbox (original vinyl and cassette release)



FlashbackTinderbox (1986 CD bonus tracks)




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, April 20, 2021

Zach Snyder's Justice League

 Dangrdafne review:

I am not sure where to start with this movie. I wanted to love it. I wanted to like it. I think I tolerated it in the end. Here are the notes I took when I started the movie:

Note 1:

This is not what he (Zack Snyder) would have done from the start. He did this now because he could. Waaaaay too dramatic and drawn out and I’m only 18 minutes in. I didn’t even know what was happening in the beginning. I’m so confused.

Note 2:

The only good thing so far is Steppenwolf does look Much Better. Annoyed at the overly dramatic themes.

Note 3:

Desaad??? Darth Vader or Doctor Doom or a mix? Totally Dr Doom.

Note 4:

The Flash first scene takes waaaaay too long. Not fast enough at all. Ridiculous music.

Note 5:

Here we forget Martha and it’s all about dads.
Flash = dad in prison
Cyborg = dad issues
Batman = dad issues
Aqua man = human dad
Wonder Woman = no dad

Then something changed in the pacing or the story but I noticed that I stopped taking notes, so I must have gotten back into the movie somehow and stopped complaining and just watched. And I did that all the way through the first part of the epilogue, which was really well done but then Zach had to keep going ... why?....and I was right back to the feelings from the beginning of the movie. So annoyed.

There were changes I liked in the movie and obviously some that I did not like. Was this movie needed? Yes for Cyborg, and no for everything else.  

I am torn with wanting to watch it again to try and not be annoyed, so perhaps I need to watch it with Brainwise so I can hear his take on the movie, and not caring to watch it ever again. 

2 paws - Cyborg helped this not be 1 paw

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 16, 2021



[America is Hell] -- You might recall that for the remainder of April, my birthday month, I am featuring music from 1986, the year I turned 18. Frank Zappa released two albums in 1986, effectively bookending (heh) the year. In January, he released Does Humor Belong in Music?, a collection of concert recordings from the end of 1984, so that doesn't fully qualify for my music in 1986 theme. But in November of 1986, Zappa released the final studio album (that would be released within his lifetime): Jazz From Hell. In many respects, this has been a week from Hell, and that alone could make this latter of the two Zappa records an appropriate album to feature. But to make the connection even more concrete, according to Zappa himself, this album's title (and maybe even the track of the same name) was a political statement: 
"Things in America can be from hell. Right now we have a president from hell [reference to Ronald Reagan], and a National Security Council from hell, so we should add Jazz from Hell also."  (Quoted here and in the book, Frank Zappa and the And).
While I do enjoy listening to this album on occasion, usually as background music, I cannot give it an adequate review or description. I can tell you that my favorite tracks are "While You Were Art II," "Jazz From Hell," "G-Spot Tornado," and "St. Etienne." And I know Jazz From Hell won the 1988 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. So, for more detailed analysis, I direct you to this album's entry on zappa-analysis.com, especially if you want a deep dive into the Synclavier, a digital synth Zappa used on every track of this album except "St. Etienne." 

Zappa did not record any music videos for this album, though one YouTube user has an appropriate animation scored with "Jazz from Hell."  Fortunately, the Frank Zappa account on YouTube does feature a complete Jazz From Hell playlist, so that is what I have embedded for you this week. 

FlashbackJazz From Hell



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, April 13, 2021

Godzilla vs Kong - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review:

Let me start with I LOVE Godzilla. I have been watching Godzilla since I was a child. My paternal grandparents watched Godzilla all the time and always included me if I was visiting. So not only do I love Godzilla but he brings back such amazing memories for me.

That said this was not a Godzilla movie to me... this was a King Kong movie. I don’t dislike King Kong but I definitely prefer Godzilla. Overall the movie was ok. It was nice eye candy and I am shocked at how there were a few things that were NOT spoiled for us and I will not spoil it here either. 

King Kong was HUGE and Godzilla looked a little odd to me. They definitely worked things to be in Kong’s favor and that is one reason why this was a King Kong movie and not a Godzilla movie.

We did laugh at how the movie harkened back to the old poorly acted originals but I actually don’t think it was the actors as much as the material they were given. But I have to say if I could be part of a Godzilla movie, I don’t think I would care what my lines were at all. I would just love to be a part of the spectacle and I am imagining that was the case for this cast.

The young deaf girl was fantastic and I would love to see her in many more roles. When she was on the screen, I couldn’t keep my eyes off her, she was striking to me. I did also like the multi-cultural cast but found it hilarious that the one scene in Hong Kong only showed “Americans”. 

We all know we don’t watch these movies for the story or the humans and that was very true of this movie. But I almost wasn’t sure I would watch at all once the music played. What was up with the music choices??? It was very jarring to me, so we just laughed through them and waited for the action scenes.

I await the next pure Godzilla movie 🍿 and I won’t complain too much about this one because I definitely want another Godzilla movie. I should also add that I would like to see this in IMAX at some point because as I said earlier in this post, the movie was very good eye candy.

2 paws

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 9, 2021

 


[On the Windscreen] -- My last several Flashback posts have focused on an entire album that was released on, or near, the calendar date in question. I'm continuing that trend today, but with a slight change. April is my birthday month. So, starting this weekend, I am featuring music from 1986, the year in which I turned 18. I've done this at least once before, focusing solely on music released during April 1986. But this time around, I'm leaving the whole of 1986 open to exploration. This week, I'm featuring a little record that hit the charts on 3/17/1986 -- 35 years ago! It is also one of my favorite albums from that year: Depeche Mode's fifth studio album, Black Celebration. Although it received mixed reviews upon its release, Black Celebration reached #4 on the UK albums chart, yielded four singles (all top 40 in the UK), was cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s, and earned a spot on Spin magazine's 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (#15, April 1989). This record successfully married pop beats with a darker aesthetic, a combination Depeche Mode went on to further develop in their next few releases (Music for the Masses, Violator, and Songs of Faith and Devotion). I also need to point out that my favorite version of the fourth single, "But Not Tonight," is probably the Extended Remix (which is not, unfortunately, included in the playlist embedded below). So, while we have only "A Question of Time" (but not "A Question of Lust), let's kick off a "Black Celebration" of my birth month in this "World Full of Nothing." Maybe we can all get "Dressed in Black" and watch a "Fly on the Windscreen." However, "Breathing in Fumes" and getting "Stripped" are both optional.

Flashback: Black Celebration (1986)




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, April 6, 2021

ARMOR (1984) Re-Read

 

// It was an odd being which rose from Felix and through him. It was, in fact, a remarkable creature. It was a wartime creature and a surviving creature. A killing creature. From a distant place, the frightened Felix scanned himself. He recognized little. Still, what he saw was a comfort of sorts and he concentrated himself toward it, toward the coldness, die callous machinelike... The Engine, he thought. It’s not me. it’s my Engine. It will work when I cannot. It will examine and determine and choose and, at last, act. It will do all this while I cower inside. // 

I finished another re-read of ARMOR by John Steakley (1951 - 2010) over the weekend. As I recall, I first read this novel in the late 1980s. I next read it in the mid-1990s. I'm not sure if this latest revisit is my third or fourth. But I will say that, for the most part, I think this book still holds up as an exploration of the psychological toll on combatants -- think STARSHIP TROOPERS (the novel, not the movie), but with better battles and more internal examinations. On second thought, it doesn't matter whether you compare the novel ARMOR to either form of STARSHIP TROOPERS; the simple truth is that ARMOR is superior. 

Some reviewers have pointed out that the shift in perspective from Felix the military scout in Part 1 to Jack Crow the mercenary in Part 2 is jarring and maybe unnecessary. I've also seen the argument that, maybe, Steakley just jammed the manuscript from another unfinished novel into ARMOR and then stitched them together in Parts 3 and 4.  I suppose that is possible. I also suppose that attitude might be a conceit from modern (post 2000s) reviewers having trouble with a form of storytelling (military sci-fi) that was in its nascent development in the late 1970s and through the 1980s. I liken it to kids these days being frustrated with the storytelling and editing of classic films. 

Anyway, like I said, the novel more or less holds up. Some aspects are even reminiscent (or would that be prescient?) of military conflicts that occurred decades after its publishing. 

I found the image for this post online, but it's a good match for my 1984 printing of the paperback.


"That’s the trouble with armor. It won’t protect you from what you are.” ~The Masao to Felix


Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 2, 2021

 


[Burning Back to 1981] -- Are you ready to burn your way back to 1981? I ask that because, for years, I thought the chorus, and the song title, was "Burn your way back." Turns out, both were actually "Find Your Way Back" for Jefferson Starship's first single off their 1981 album, Modern Times. Released on 4/2/1981 -- 40 years ago this week! -- Jefferson Starship's sixth studio album would eventually peak at #26 on the Billboard Hot 200 while charting three singles, two of which landed in the top 100 ("Find Your Way Back" and "Stranger" peaked at #29 and #48 respectively). Modern Times was also notable for the return of vocalist and songwriter Grace Slick, who had been absent from the band for three years. UCR called this album a zenith of arena rock. AllMusic's Joe Viglione referred to this polished bit of 80s rock as psychedelic metal. I really cannot argue with either assessment. Let me know what you think in the comments.

FlashbackModern Times (1981)


Note: Depending on where you are, three videos in the embedded playlist might be hidden from you, giving you access to only six of the nine total tracks. In case you're interested in the other tracks, here are alternate links on YouTube: "Modern Times," "Alien," and "Stairway to Cleveland."



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, March 30, 2021

Dickinson - Apple TV

 Dangrdafne review:

With my upgraded phone, I received a full year of Apple TV for free. I quickly signed up because I had been wanting to watch Dickinson ever since I saw the commercials for it when it came out. 

Mind you, I actually know nothing about Emily Dickinson, except that she was a poet. I truly know nothing about her life and hardly any of her work but what I do know about her work, I love. So why would I want to watch this... well if you saw the commercials for this when it was coming out, it was luscious, beautiful, modern and very very clever.

Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson is perfect casting. I easily believe this is who Emily Dickinson could be if she were modern living in her era. Hailee breathes such life and death into Emily. I love Emily's family too, her brother is a dream in so many ways, her sister is hilarious and her parents are just the right kind of odd. All the extra characters are perfection also. 

I love that the whole setting is Emily Dickinson's era but the script is modern, as is the music. Speaking of the music, it is glorious. Every song is perfect for the music itself and for the lyrics. I feel like sometimes the song inspires the show as much as the show inspiring the music. 

I love how the poems are not only the support of each episode but how they show the poems to the audience during the episode. It helps me to hear them and read them as the poems can be quite deep and contextual if you just heard them or read them. Then add in how the episode supports the poem and this show is a dream.

4 paws

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 26, 2021

 


[A Pleasing Debut] -- 35 years ago this week, the  electronic music duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, better known as Pet Shop Boys, released their debut album. Please hit the record buying public on 3/24/1986. This record featured four singles: "West End Girls," "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," "Suburbia," and "Love Comes Quickly." "West End Girls" peaked at #1 in both the UK and the US. The other three charted pretty well, too. This was particularly true for "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" which had been released as a single in 1985 and then reissued in May 1986. In this second go-round, "Opportunities" was the third single off Please and it peaked at #11 on the UK Singles Chart and #10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

My favorite song on the album is the opening track, "Two Divided by Zero," which was not released as a single (so here is video of a live performance). According to the Pet Shop Boys Wiki, the version on Please is fuller than the original arrangement which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe had recorded in 1983. 

Once again, I'm embedding the full album playlist for this week's flashback rather than selecting a few tracks. This album really does deserve a complete listen, so enjoy!


Flashback: Please (1986)



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, March 23, 2021

Alita: Battle Angel

 Dangrdafne review:

What? That's where it ended? Where is #2??? I NEED #2 NOW! Please

I loved this film. I loved Alita. 

And it was a movie where NEVER was it mentioned that a woman couldn't do what a man could do. I mean it was just their life that men and women were equal. WHAT?? I almost can't believe it. This just added to my love of this movie.

I loved Ido. He was a fantastic father. And Chiren turned out to be a wonderful mother. 

I loved that it was a love story but certainly not completely traditional. It was questioned a little about a human and a cyborg but really it felt quite natural and normal. So refreshing.

I did have some giggles during the motor ball races as the machines were quite comical - it reminded both of robot wars and that doll with the erector set spider legs in Toy Story - but it was easy to let it go and realize this was just life in Iron City. 

I want to see Zalem!! I REALLY hope we get an Alita #2.

3 paws

Friday, March 19, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 19, 2021

 


[Farther Miles] -- In March 1982, Mike Oldfield (of Tubular Bells fame) released his seventh studio album, Five Miles Out. Back in the day of LP and cassette sides, Side A of this record was entirely one 25 minute track called "Taurus II" (and, no, I did not select this week's album just because of my astrological sign). With one side dedicated to a single track, you probably guessed this record falls under the genre of progressive rock. "Taurus II" is kind of a followup to "Taurus I" from Oldfield's prior album, QE2 (1981), but it also has many other references and themes. I happen to like it as background music for driving or reading. Side B has four individual tracks, including the singles "Five Miles Out" and "Family Man" (a rock song which was later covered, and popularized, by Hall & Oates). Five Miles Out was a popular album, at least more so than Oldfield's prior few records, and it peaked at #7 in the UK. Both singles, however, failed to crack the top 40 (peaking at #43 and #45 respectively). This marked a revival of commercial success for Oldfield, though it would not rival the success of his first three records. I can find no actual music videos for any of the tracks, though there are some performances (like this one for "Five Miles Out," with a fine performance by Maggie Reilly), so I've simply embedded the entire YouTube playlist for you. (One of these days I'll return to a "read and hear more after the jump" style of post.)

Flashback: Five Miles Out (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, March 16, 2021

Ted Lasso - Apple TV

 Dangrdafne review:

This is the show that I love... even more than Titans.

I had absolutely no idea what this show was or really that it even existed. Then one day, I saw people talking about it online and there was not a bad word to be said about the show. In fact, everyone was saying how it was their favorite show now and a show that we need right now. 

So one night when I was doing my walk on my treadmill, I put on the first episode.

I am in love. I even came upstairs and said to my hubby, I may have a new favorite show of all time. ALL time. And only after one 30 minute episode. 

I kid you not. This show is incredible. Now after three episodes I am completely in love, lost in it and the biggest fan. “Because Nice Matters” is my motto and I could add because of Ted Lasso. What a happy, kind, allows me to take deep breaths show. It feels so good to watch this show. Simply put it makes my heart happy.

I am literally only 3 episodes in and I can not sing its praises enough and I know it will just keep getting better and better. Jason Sudekis is a joy, so is Brendan Hunt. Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple make me proud to be a woman. The show is an American football coach being hired to come to the UK to take over managing a soccer team. A true fish out of water story but really I can't decide who is really the fish.

Nick Mohammed as Nate, Nate the Great, makes me smile every time he is on the screen. He is integral to the show and I can't imagine the show without him. The soccer players all play their perfect parts and I just look forward to where the story goes for each of them. 

The show really reminds me of how I felt when I watched Schitt's Creek. Like we were being treated to the mastery of joyful stories and superb storytelling. I would love to know Ted Lasso in real life and just bask in his joy and kindness. He just sees the world better than 99% of us but he can help you see it his way, if you just listen and join in.

Now after 7 episodes: I have laughed, I mean deep full belly laughing, I’ve sobbed, I’ve been shocked and I have just sighed and smiled. This show is glorious. 

Please, please if you have a chance to see this show, treat yourself and your heart to the joy.

4 paws and a tail and a whole second cat with 4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for March 12, 2021

 


[Disco Beat(les)] -- In March of 1981, radio stations had several classic Beatles tracks back in rotation. But it wasn't the Beatles' own recordings that were played. No, it was a Dutch novelty act, Stars on 45, who specialized in soundalikes, that were actually in rotation. Stars on 45's schtick was to re-record hit songs as faithfully as they could, but then merge them with a common tempo over a drum track. In this way, they merged disco and classic Beatles for a 15+ minute track that could only be called ... "Medley: Intro 'Venus' / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I'll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You're Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45." Yeah, it's kind of a mouthful, bu it was popular. I don't have chart stats for the US, but this record did peak at #1 on both the Kent Music Report (Australia) and the UK Albums Chart. Plus, it was a hit in dance clubs worldwide. Do you remember Stars on 45?

FlashbackStars on 45's Beatles Medley






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, March 9, 2021

Titans season 2 - HBO Max

 Dangrdafne review

I told you this was a show I couldn't stop binging. I JUST posted about season one and we have already finished season 2.

WOW, WOW, WOW

I really feel like everyone involved in this show has been waiting to make this show. They are Titans in the industry and they have all just been waiting for everything to align to make this dream show. Each actor is perfectly cast for their character, the cinematography is spectacular and the writing is superb. I just can not get over this show. I love it.

Season two did have a rougher start than season one especially since season one was the longest introduction to a show ever but worth every second. But it didn't take me long to fall right back into step with everyone. I love the storytelling on the show and the character study episodes are like individual movies of their own. The episode "Conner" had me forgetting what show we were watching and thinking it was a whole different show (and that is not a bad thing to me). Impressive!!

One big change for season 2 was the music. Season one episodes closed with the Titans theme, which I love. Season two closes each episode with a perfect story matching song. This was a strange change at first but each song was thoughtful and perfect and some of my favorites.

I don't know when season 3 will exist but I am ready and waiting for it. 

In the meantime, there is another show that I like just little more than this one... and you all know that is a huge statement since I have been raving about Titans for 2 weeks now. Stay tuned right here to see what my favorite show is, even more than this one - if that seems possible.

4 paws and a tail