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, November 26, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for November 26, 2021


[Christmas with Boney M.] -- Forty years ago this week, R&B and Euro-Caribbean vocal group Boney M. released Christmas Album, their sixth studio album. Anchored by "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord," Boney M.'s 1978 #1 Christmas single in the UK, this collection featured a mix of holiday favorites and newer pieces, such as the instrumental, "Winter Fairy-Tale." In some areas, Christmas Album had the alternate title of Christmas with Boney M., which can get confusing as there was a 1984 compilation with that same title. I have vague recollections of hearing Boney M.'s version of "Little Drummer Boy" on the radio, but I'm not certain if it was during Christmas Eves of my youth or during my early 1990s drives across PA to visit my family for the holidays. I am certain, however, that those radio broadcasts did not pair "Little Drummer Boy" with "Jingle Bells" as this YouTube playlist does. 

Flashback: Boney M. -- Christmas Album (November 1981)




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!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - Disney +

Dangrdafne review:


Stunningly beautiful and gorgeously choreographed. Perfect music, well written, great casting and acting. This movie stands on its own without an issue BUT if you have watched the full Marvel Universe prior to seeing this movie, there are so many pieces that make the movie even better!

The character of Shang-Chi is perfectly cast and Simu Liu is incredible in the role. Awkwafina is definitely the comedic relief but she is integral to the story and I adore her in this role. I think everyone else is exactly perfect even if the casting of the sister kind of gave away the ending to me but not in the ways you would think. Sorry, no spoilers here :)

Ironically I was spoiled about something when the movie first came out but completely forgot about it until we watched the movie and I was surprised, LOL. 

I loved that I felt like I was watching all the Oriental art I have seen in my life come to life on the screen in the front of me. I was completely enthralled watching this movie. Such amazing eye candy. The choreography was perfection and the music matched every scene perfectly. I can't wait to watch this again to see things I am sure I missed the first time.

I loved all the tie ins to the MCU and appreciated how it all worked. We even wondered which part of the story came first in regards to how this story fits into the rest of the MCU. 

4 paws

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for November 19, 2021


[Still Loving Rock 'n Roll] -- Forty years ago yesterday, 11/18/1981, Joan Jett released her second studio album, I Love Rock 'n Roll. Although it was her second record, this LP was her first with The Blackhearts, the backing band she still fronts (and with whom her career has been intrinsically linked). I Love Rock 'n Roll is Joan Jett's biggest commercial success. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold over one million copies in the US. The album's title track, and first single, is probably her best known hit, but she didn't write it. It's a cover of The Arrows' original 1975 song. Jett's 1981 version of "I Love Rock 'n Roll" reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, US Mainstream Rock, and US Cash Box Top 100 charts, making it her highest charting hit in her career. The second single was another cover: Tommy James & The Shondells' 1968 hit, "Crimson and Clover." Jett's version of that tune was a top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, US Mainstream Rock, and US Cash Box Top 100 charts, as well as a top 40 hit in several other countries. It remains her second-highest charting single to date. As a whole, this is a tough and loud record that covers quite a bit of musical territory over the course of ten tracks (or up to 15 tracks on later remastered editions): for example, there's glam rock, psychedelia, and holiday ("Little Drummer Boy"). 

In addition to the better known tracks, I have a fondness for "Bits and Pieces" and "Love is Pain." How about you? 

Flashback: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts -- I Love Rock 'n Roll (1981)




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!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 Dangrdafne review: 


“Men tell stories, … Women get on with it.”

I’m so grateful that in this case Kristin Hannah told a story. And what a story it is! An intense story of love, grief, war, family and survival at all costs. 

My sister wanted to be sure I read this book especially after my review of WandaVision. I was more than curious but it turns out that this book is just another way of conveying how grief can inspire and spur on humans. And it was mostly definitely about superheroes. Super human women who changed the world. Who did the impossible and showed just how women “…get on with it.”

This is a long, tough read but one I don’t regret and encourage you to do also. While there is the typical you will laugh and you will cry, there is also cheering, terror, blood pressure raising sections and moments of pure elation and joy. And lots of tears, both happy and sad. 

I think after this book, though, I need to take a break from World War II stories. I’m not sure my heart can read any more for now. 

I just started to type up what the story was about but fear I will give something away that would hurt your pleasure of reading the book. Basically it is the story of two sisters and how they deal with living during WWII. I do like Kristin Hannah's clever storytelling and her way of choosing to lay out the story. 

I don't usually like large books but the writing is so good and "simple" that I read through the book in 2 days. An amazing story about amazing characters from an amazing author.

4 paws

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for November 12, 2021


[From the Cut-Out Bin] -- This week, we are celebrating an underrated gem of broody, soul-searching music. Forty years ago this month, English post-punkers The Sound released their second studio album, From the Lion's Mouth. Like their previous LP, Jeopardy (1980), From the Lion's Mouth was roundly praised by critics, but received little commercial notice. Andy Kellman of AllMusic believes this album "should have shot [The Sound] directly between spots occupied by the like-minded Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen as post-punk legends, but the Fates had something else in mind." And, so, The Sound was relegated to cult status, just another band probably deserved better. In this case, it was a band with a charged sound and philosophically tinged lyrics.


Flashback: The Sound - From the Lion's Mouth (November 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!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Sip Sip Bang Bang by Danika Stone

 Dangrdafne review:

 

A fast paced thriller with a love story brewing underneath it all. I was literally exhausted after reading this book. Soooo good.

I LOVE Danika Stone's writing. She always creates incredible characters that go against the norm and surprise you at every turn. She also creates wonderful scenes and tales that intrigue and excite.

I truly don’t want to tell you about this book because you have to read it to feel it all. I literally was out of breath at certain points because the writing and story were so thrilling and one part was verrry claustrophobic!

I love how the book is set in real time and uses the perfect pop culture references to move the story along and add just the right extra insight into the story. Danika knows her pop culture and I often wonder which cane first: the reference or the story. Whichever it is, I’m just glad it’s there 🙂

The ironic part of the book, that I will say, is that I kept thinking about what a good movie this will make and it turns out to be part of the book too. I could really see the book in my mind and I definitely would LOVE to meet the main characters in real life. I feel that way about all Danika’s books. She just has a way of writing her characters and making them real and plausible. Even if the story is winding around like crazy, her people are realistic and I want to know them more.

4 paws



Friday, November 5, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for November 5, 2021


[Forty Shakes] -- On 11/6/1981, forty years ago tomorrow, The Cars released their fourth studio album, Shake It Up. Co-lead vocalist and primary songwriter, Ric Ocasek, heralded the record as "a big return to pop" though he apparently was not proud of the title track's lyrics. That title track is probably one of the band's most popular songs, it's certainly one of my faves by them, and it hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart, marking The Cars' first trip to the Billboard Top 10. The second single, "Since You're Gone," peaked at #41 and #24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Mainstream Rock charts respectively. The third single, "Victim of Love," got within the top 40 of the US Mainstream Rock chart while the final single failed to chart in the US. 

I think "I'm Not the One," with its gloomy lyrics and pop melody, should have been a single. Its inclusion on the 1985 Greatest Hits album is, I believe, supporting evidence of the song's ... greatness. 

FlashbackShake It Up -- The Cars (1981)

1. "Since You're Gone"
2. "Shake It Up"
3. "I'm Not the One"
4. "Victim of Love"
5. "Cruiser"
6. "A Dream Away"
7. "This Could Be Love"
8. "Think It Over"
9. "Maybe Baby"




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!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for October 29, 2021

 


[Halloween!] -- Though not quite as rare as a full moon falling on Halloween, this year the spooky holiday also occurs very close to Friday. That means it's time for a very special Halloween edition of the Friday 80s Flashback. Now, I'm sure you've all been good little ghouls and ghosts. So, to ensure you get the most 80s goodness possible, and that you receive it in a timely manner, I'm revisiting the mega-Flashback I originally posted for Halloween 2011. I thoroughly checked it and updated any video or text links that were broken over the last several years. And, just like in 2011, and 2020, you can check out all the tunes featured in this week's flashback as a single video playlist! And it's six tracks, twice the content of my standard themed weekly offerings! Of course, you can still check out the songs one at a time, the option which includes my comments and recollections. But either way, you're getting great 80s music for the Halloween weekend! So, if you are opting for your flashbacks one-at-a-time, you can read and hear more after the break.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for October 22, 2021

[Goodbye Mom - Redux] -- By Friday, October 20, 2017, I was more than two thirds of the way through writing a Flashback post, but I no longer wanted to use it. My sister had called me around 5pm the prior day and told me that our mother was gone, that she had unexpectedly died overnight. Sis had gone over to Mom's house to check on her, as per usual, but instead found ... well, she found that Mom never made it out of bed that day. Her memorial service was the following Wednesday, 10/25/2017. 

So, my one and only flashback song for that -- and this -- weekend is in memory of our mother, gone too soon at age 71. I'm cribbing both the tune and the write-up from a previous Flashback post, but so be it. 

It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney FilmsStay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Over 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo. And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. 

R.I.P. Mom (August 1946 - October 2017).

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine." 




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!

Friday, October 15, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for 10/15/2021


[October at 40] -- 40 years ago this week, on 10/12/1981, U2 released their sophomore album, October. Much of the album's lyrical content is spiritual in nature as three of the four bandmates were in a Christian group, called the "Shalom Fellowship," although the three were not necessarily similar in devotion. In fact, Bono (vocals) and Edge (guitar) were unsure whether rock and roll was at all compatible with a professing Christian lifestyle, and they both exited the band, albeit temporarily. Perhaps their return indicated a cessation of doubt, hence the album's references to exultant rejoicing ... and the Latin liturgical chorus on the lone hit, "Gloria." And while "Gloria" is not the only standout track, the album's lack of cohesion makes it suffer and seem more like a stumble after their much more confident debut, Boy (1980). October received mixed reviews, although Dave McCullough of Sounds gave it high praise, concluding his review with, "This October will last forever." And, perhaps, this album is best appreciated in retrospect, as tiny glimpses of what was yet to come from the Dublin Ireland quartet. Even Bono said during this time, “I don’t really feel U2 has been born yet." They were still learning, and still developing. What a journey it has been. 

FlashbackOctober (10/12/1981)




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!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for October 8, 2021

 


[Scoundrel Years] -- 35 years ago this week, Norwegian new wavers A-ha released their sophomore record, Scoundrel Days. This studio album featured the huge hit ... well ... um ... if you were part of the casual US record buying market in 1986, you probably don't recall any hits from this album. Of course, you might not recall any A-ha songs beyond "Take On Me" and "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." from their 1985 debut, Hunting High and Low. And maybe you've heard their 1987 Bond theme, "The Living Daylights." But you probably gave a pass to Scoundrel Days which peaked at a mere #74 on the US Billboard 200 and had one top 50 track in the states. 

Let's back up. You see, after the success of A-ha's debut album, their record company was hungry for a cookie-cutter follow up. But the band was ready to move on, and they basically responded with, "No, we don't want to record another 'Take on Me,' we're doing our own thing" (Rolling Stone, 2010). And that was a good decision. While the US largely ignored Scoundrel Days, it turned out to be an international hit. The record racked up Platinum sales as it hit #2 in the UK and #4 in Belgium, Germany, and New Zealand; it even broke into the top 10 in Austria, the Netherlands, France, Japan, and Switzerland. Three of the singles -- "I’ve Been Losing You," "Cry Wolf," and "Manhattan Skyline" -- were top 40 hits in the UK and many other countries. "Cry Wolf" was the only single released in the US and it performed admirably (if still disappointing for record execs) on several US charts; it peaked at #14 on US Dance Club Songs, #30 on US Dance Singles Sales, #51 on US Cash Box Top 100 Singles, and #50 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

It's a solid record, and you owe it to your 1980s-loving heart to give it a listen. And, uh, let me know what you think of "We're Looking For The Whales" and "The Weight of the Wind," would ya? You'll find them as tracks #7 and #8 on the CD (or the YouTube playlist), or the second and third tracks on side B of the vinyl or cassette. 
   
FlashbackScoundrel Days (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!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Friday 80 Flashback for October 1, 2021

 

[Ghost in the Month] -- I'm kicking off October 2021 with an album that was released 40 years ago on Saturday. I'm talking about Ghost in the Machine, the fourth studio album by The Police, which was released on October 2, 1981. After their first three records, The Police were legit stars. And while they had already been rather clever in their lyrics as well as their hooks, Ghost in the Machine found the trio going to another level as both visionary and, if truth be told, pretentious songsmiths. For starters, the album title was based on Arthur Koestler's 1967 philosophical book, The Ghost in the Machine, about the mind-body relationship. Second, bassist/vocalist -- and primary songwriter -- Sting worked many of the book's theories (such as the notion that humans should not be too machine-like) into his latest songs. "Spirits in the Material World," the album opener, is pretty much a three-minute musical summation of Koestler's work (according to Ultimate Classic Rock). Musically, this album found the band making heavy use of keyboards and horns for the first time. Andy Summers (guitarist) is on record as not being a fan of this change in the band's musical direction:

"I have to say I was getting disappointed with the musical direction around the time of 'Ghost In The Machine'. With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel - all the really creative and dynamic stuff - was being lost. We were ending up backing a singer doing his pop songs. But there were still great moments when Sting was able to loosen up enough, where we could really go for it in concert." ~Andy Summers: Guitar Player, 1/94 

Still, accusations of pretension and Summers' complaints aside, the shift was successful. Ghost in the Machine peaked at #1 and #2 on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 respectively. And all three US singles ("Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "Spirits in the Material World," and "Secret Journey") charted on the US Billboard Hot 100. The first UK single, "Invisible Sun," peaked at #2 on that nation's chart. 

Ghost in the Machine is a darker outing for The Police, both in terms of theme and band dynamics, but it's also a masterpiece. And it was possibly a bit ahead of its time. 

FlashbackGhost in the Machine (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, September 28, 2021

Maleficent - Mistress of Evil

 Dangrdafne review


Beautiful to watch. Absolute full on eye candy for everything. Incredible costuming, amazing scenery and Angelina Jolie was glorious. Simply beautiful. 

That said, I preferred the first movie over this one. The story was just too harsh for me. Perhaps if I saw this before the pandemic I would feel differently but it just didn’t hit me right. Too much carnage when real life has too much right now. 

It was a traditional fairy tale though and I won’t deny them that. Traditional fairy tales are not pretty and this story certainly wasn’t. 

But again I could look at the costuming all day every day. 

2 paws overall 

4 paws for costumes and scenery 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 24, 2021


[Something Kool] -- 40 years ago today, Kool & the Gang released their 13th studio album, Something Special. Although lead singer James “J.T.” Taylor and co-founder Ronald Bell performed the main writing duties on this record, the whole group contributed as composers. That kind of teamwork would continue, particularly as the band took more control of their recordings. But for Something Special and its follow-up, Brazilian jazz-dance producer, and artist in his own right, Eumir Deodato helmed the production duties just as he had for the prior two releases, Ladies Night (1979) and Celebrate! (1980). Kool & the Gang were definitely responsible for carrying disco's torch into the early 1980s! 

Something Kool  became the band's third Platinum album, following in the footsteps of the two prior Deodato-helmed records, and it was their first top ten record in the UK. In the US, the album peaked at #12 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and #1 on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart. As far as singles went, "Take My Heart" was a #1 hit on the R&B chart while peaking at #17 on the Pop chart, and the infectious "Get Down On It" reached #4 on the R&B chart and #10 on the Pop chart. "Stepping Out," the first single, reached #12 (R&B) and #89 (Pop). Additionally, "Stand Up and Sing" found its way onto the soundtrack for The Pirate Movie (1982).

I've embedded KoolandthegangShow's video playlist. They compiled the album's original eight tracks plus a bonus track ("Stop!") from the 1998 CD reissue. Enjoy!

FlashbackSomething Special (Kool & the Gang, 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!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 17, 2021

 

[A-B-A-C-A-B] -- Genesis has been in the news lately, primarily because they have a reunion tour in the works. But drummer/frontman Phil Collins' recent comments have also drawn attention: This tour is likely his swan song due to his ongoing health problems

So, this might be a good time to revisit a record from when he was in his prime. And, in September 1981, 40 years ago this week, Genesis released their 11th studio album, Abacab. The title track took its name from how an early version of the song was structured (i.e., the order of sections assigned a letter of the alphabet). According to guitarist Mike Ruthorford, however, the final version was more like ACACACUCUBUBUGA than ABACAB (see Genesis In the Studio, YouTube, 2006). 

Abacab marked a shift from Genesis' progressive roots into a more pop-oriented sound, but those roots are still somewhat evident. And it was a big success; it was the band's second #1 album on the UK Albums Chart as well as their first to peak in the top ten of the US Billboard 200. Of the four singles, "Abacab" and "No Reply At All" were the most successful. "Abacab" peaked at #26 while "No Reply At All" peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. "No Reply At All" also reached the #2 position on the U.S. Top Rock Tracks chart. Back in the day, my favorite track was probably the fourth single, "Man on the Corner," but these days I gravitate more to an unreleased track, "Dodo/Lurker." Though I still have quite a bit of love for "No Reply At All." Feel free to share your favorite Genesis track in the comments!


FlashbackAbacab (September 18, 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!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 10, 2021

 


[Rage in 40] -- Forty years ago this week -- on Friday, September 11, 1981 -- Ultravox released their fifth studio album, Rage in Eden. It reached #4 on the UK album charts, and #144 in the US, while also peaking within the top 50 albums for a few other European countries and Australia. Rage in Eden produced two hits: "The Thin Wall," which kicked off side B, and "The Voice," the album opener on side A. "The Thin Wall" peaked at #14 in the UK Single Charts, while the much stronger (in my opinion, anyway) "The Voice" peaked at #16. None of the singles charted in the US. But all told, Rage in Eden was a finely crafted piece of New Romantic, synth-driven rock. The lyrics are more introspective, even mysterious, than those on previous releases, but perhaps the band felt they had reached a point where they could stretch a bit and experiment lyrically given that their previous record, Vienna (1980), was such a commercial breakthrough. Also, Midge Ure, who had previously worked with Ultravox keyboardist Billy Currie before joining the band on Vienna, now had over a year of experience with his new bandmates. 

Whatever the case, Ultravox continued to mine the sound of their third and fourth releases while going a bit more surreal with their lyrics. And it works. Even if the record wasn't terribly popular at the time, I say this is a recording that has aged well, perhaps even being a masterpiece of 1980s synth-rock. 

Rage in Eden received a 2008 remaster with 13 extra tracks (live recordings and extended versions).

FlashbackRage in Eden (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, September 7, 2021

The Suicide Squad

 Dangrdafne review 


From my photo choice, you can see what or rather who was my favorite part of The Suicide Squad. Followed closely by Ratcatcher 2 and Bloodsport … oh and I can’t forget Rick Flag. 

What an insane and wild ride this movie was. It was ultra violent and gory and while I didn’t watch most of that, it wasn’t actually gratuitous, it is exactly what I would expect from a movie called The Suicide Squad and based on the source material.  

I was not spoiled at all even though it took us quite some time to see this movie. I also didn't watch any trailers or any coverage of the movie before we saw it and I am so grateful. I didn't know what was going to happen or who would die and while I am not happy about only one of the deaths, I am glad I didn't know anything before seeing it for myself. I get why it all happened but it doesn't mean I have to like it (and I don't).

The story was typical for the most part but James Gunn always finds humor to break the tension and to add to the crazy. I loved that I felt like I was watching a comic book and I loved how each song matched the scene it was in and added to the story. I also loved the scene and title breaks, they were very clever and added to the comic book feel.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is just glorious to me and she shined so brightly in this movie. Her story was exactly what was needed for her and I appreciate it. I found myself literally cheering and clapping on my couch for her.

Overall I liked the movie and I would watch it again, mostly for Harley and Sebastian but I still wouldn't be able to stomach all the violence and gore to watch those parts just as I didn't the first time.

3 paws

Friday, September 3, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for September 3, 2021 (Flashbackiversary!)



[Flashbackiversary!] -- I started posting the Friday 80s Flashback on September 3, 2010. That makes today my 11 year Flashbackiversary! (I missed celebrating the 10-year milestone, but it was 2020, so it's kind of par for the proverbial course). To celebrate, let's turn back the clock -- er, calendar -- 11 years and revisit that very first flashback which appeared on Prophet or Madman (I moved the weekly Flashbacks to Bookended by Cats on 6/24/2016). I'm struck by the sparsity and simplicity of my initial foray into weekly pop-culture ruminations. In fact, that very first flashback has no commentary whatsoever! There isn't even a theme! The weekly theme didn't become part and parcel of the flashback until the fourth entry, on September 24, 2010 (a two-fer: Angry Edition and Uplifting Edition). Sample lyrics first appeared in the November 5, 2010, flashback (Politics Schmolotics). On December 10, 2010, we saw my first attempt at incorporating a header image with the Flashback (Winter Holidays: Week 2). 

For the text and videos shared in my 9/3/2010 Flashback, read and hear more after the break.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 27, 2021


[Sorry Ma!] -- This week, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Replacements' beautifully messy 1981 debut, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. If you are not familiar with The Replacements, here's the intro for a previous flashback that served as a brief retrospective of their 12+ year career (over on Prophet or Madman): 
The Replacements formed in Minneapolis in the late 70s. According to drummer Chris Mars, the band's name reflected their sense of a secondary status: "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags" [Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. 2001. p. 199]. They were never commercially successful, but they did receive critical accolades and have been cited as a major influence for many bands.

The Replacements (or, simply, The 'Mats to their fans) are probably my favorite of what I call the "sloppy" American rock & roll bands. Their sound was informed by a combination of the arena blues-rock of their collective youth and the post-punk that was in vogue when they took up their own instruments. Now, they never achieved a high level of proficiency as musicians during their time together, but they did evolve from garden variety garage band to a genuinely tight if oft-times shabby outfit. Their songs touched upon the pains of growing up, hating your job, and relationship issues, and they did so in their own loud but tuneful manner. 
And they released their debut 40 years ago this week. With only one track exceeding three minutes, they were able to pack a total of 18 tracks onto this record. The lone single was "I'm In Trouble," released on August 7, 1981. An outtake track, "If Only You Were Lonely," was the B-Side; it was included as one of the 13 bonus tracks on the 2008 reissue. "I Hate Music" is the only song on this record to receive the music video treatment, and then only recently as something of an advert for RHINO's 40th anniversary deluxe edition of Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. The new video, even as part of an obvious (obnoxious?) cash grab, does nothing to diminish my love for "I Hate Music." My other fave tracks include "Shiftless When Idle," "Shutup," "Something to Dü," "I Bought a Headache," and "Careless." Feel free to mention your faves in the comments ... after you reacquaint yourself with this hardcore classic. This post's embedded YouTube playlist has all the tracks included on the 1981 release. 



FlashbackSorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (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!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 20, 2021


[Pretenders, Too] -- Back around the middle of July, I was looking for records released in the summer of 1981. I thought I had a great one for that week, but just as I was applying the basic details here, I noticed the record had been released in August, not July. So, I put it on the back-burner and waited a month. And now it's finally time to publish this post! 

40 years ago this month, this very week in fact, The Pretenders released their sophomore effort, Pretenders II. Unlike most sophomore records, this album featured only a few previously unreleased tracks. That was due to a lack of new materialTwo of the songs had been released as singles in the UK, and/or placed on a US released EP -- appropriately titled Extended Play (March 1981). Those same songs were the first singles released off Pretenders II: "Message of Love" and "Talk of the Town." Singles from this album also included "I Go to Sleep," a song by Ray Davies of The Kinks (but not recorded by the Kinks). Pretenders II received a lukewarm reaction upon release, as it was not considered as groundbreaking as their 1979 debut, but appreciation for the album has grown over time. Perhaps this weekend is a good time to revisit it and update your own notions. 

UPDATE 8/21/2021: I noticed the previous playlist video was missing two of the tracks from Pretenders II, so I made my own playlist based on available videos. Now you should be able to hear all 12 songs on this album! 

Flashback: Pretenders II (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!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for August 13, 2021


[Theme] -- I know today is Friday the 13th. But it's your lucky day because: (1) No stabbing here, and (2) I'm bringing you some tunes from a possibly overlooked gem of the 1980s. 

You probably remember Level 42 from their 1985 hit, "Something About You." And plenty of people probably thought Level 42 was a brand new band when that song hit the airwaves and MTV. However, Level 42 formed in 1979 and they released their eponymous debut album in August 1981 -- 40 years ago this month! While this record enjoyed some success in their native UK, it didn't garner much attention on this side of the Atlantic. Well, their third single, "Starchild," did hit #60 on the Club Play Singles chart, so they had that going for them. My guess is that, for many of you 80sphiles out there, this week's Flashback is a bit of audio-archeology, digging into the jazz-pop-funk roots that would fuel the band's later success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.. 

FlashbackLevel 42 (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!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for 8/6/2021



[A Precious 40 Years] -- In July of 1981, Pat Benatar released her third studio album, Precious Time. That means we're celebrating that record's 40th anniversary! As I've written before, I love Pat Benatar. In my opinion, she is one of the all-time great rock and roll singers. No one will ever budge my position on that. But this third outing for her didn't get the same love as her prior releases. Sales dipped a bit, though the album was certified Double Platinum in the US. It even peaked at #1 on the US Billboard 200, her only record to do so. I don't specifically know why Precious Time underperformed, but 1981 was a pretty crowded field for music. Even so, I think Precious Time's singles are at least as strong as any she's released in her career. I mean, "Fire and Ice" and "Promises in the Dark" are absolute scorchers, and they were both top 40 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 (and top 20 on the US Mainstream Rock chart). And her cover of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" probably should have garnered more attention, too. Anyway, Benatar's voice is in fine form and her band, fueled by her husband Neil Giraldo's blistering guitar work, cooks along nicely. If you haven't listened to this album in a while, or ever, this weekend is a great time to give it a spin (or a click).

FlashbackPrecious Time – Pat Benatar (1981)

"And so you put up your guard | And you try to be hard | But your heart says try again."



Track list: 
Side one
1. "Promises in the Dark"
2. "Fire and Ice"
3. "Just Like Me" (Paul Revere & the Raiders cover)
4. "Precious Time"
Side two
5. "It's a Tuff Life"
6. "Take It Anyway You Want It"
7. "Evil Genius"
8. "Hard to Believe"
9. "Helter Skelter" (The Beatles cover)




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, July 30, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 30, 2021


[R.I.P. Dusty Hill] -- “I like to believe that I play bass like Dusty Hill, and that's something nobody else can do as well as me. I'm the best Dusty Hill I know.” ~Dusty Hill (May 19, 1949 – July 28, 2021) in reply to a 2010 Q&A in CLASSIC ROCK magazine. 

I posted that quote on several of my social media accounts on 7/28/2021, after I had read the news that Texas musician, Dusty Hill, had died in his sleep. There are news stories (AP News, for example) and tributes all over the web. The outpouring of emotion for 72-year-old Hill is understandable. He was not only ZZ Top's bass player, and other bearded dude, he was also, on occasion, the band's keyboard player. Plus, he sang backing and lead vocals. Dusty Hill was the man who held the bottom line for so many songs in the soundtrack of my life, especially from the late 1970s through the 1990s. 

So, this week's Flashback cycles through a trio of ZZ Top's 1980s catalog featuring Dusty Hill on lead vocals. Can you guess what made the cut? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 23, 2021


[Comics and SDCC!] -- After the year that was 2020, I had hoped we might be in San Diego for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this week. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic was still not fully under control when convention organizers were working on their plans, so their March 2021 announcement indicated SDCC would be virtual, again. If you are unfamiliar with the event, here's some background: It was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. As it grew, this convention was later rebranded with the name we have come to know and recognize. SDCC bounced among several locations in San Diego until it landed at the San Diego Convention Center where it has been held since 1991 (with the exceptions of the virtual event in 2020 ... and now in 2021, too). SDCC is now widely recognized as a juggernaut of TV and film events. So much so that critics regularly complain it's "not about comics anymore!" However, there is still plenty of comic book related activity at SDCC, as Comic Spectrum pointed out in 2018 and in 2016.

To celebrate SDCC 2019, I selected several 80s tunes inspired by, about, or somehow related to comic books. And I repeated that formula for 2020's ComicCon@Home. Even after those two years, I still had some tracks that did not make either of my previous playlists, so I'm using them this year. What made the latest playlist? Read and hear more the jump.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 16, 2021


[The Return of the Man with the Horn] -- Forty years ago this month, Miles Davis came out of a reclusive retirement with a brand new record, his first in six years. The Man with the Horn (note the reference to his 1952 album, Young Man with a Horn) finds Davis blending his traditional horn playing style with 1980s pop, funk, and fusion. AllMusic considers this record something of a shaky comeback. However, I find it to be an interesting, and somewhat invigorating, entry in the venerable musician's catalog. I particularly enjoy "Back Seat Betty" and "Shout" – both of which are good songs for summer drives. According to George Cole, this record featured three different bands, and it went Gold (selling over 100,000 copies). Those details and others are compiled in Cole's post on the 30th anniversary of The Man with the Horn.

Back cover, showing song list and production info [source]



FlashbackThe Man with the Horn (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!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 9, 2021



[She Is A Lot] -- I have one, and only one, song for you this week in the Flashback. My wife experienced a rather long day at work today. And while she was telling me about it this evening, her story included the fact that she told someone, and I quote, "I am a lot." She said it a few times in that conversation, so she quoted herself more than once tonight. Meanwhile, in my head, I'm hearing those four words to the tune of Faith No More's "We Care A Lot." 

Welcome to my brain. 

There are three versions of "We Care A Lot." The first was the title track of Faith No More's debut album in 1985. The second version, a re-recording with new lyrics, was the lead single for the band's 1987 release, and major label debut, Introduce Yourself. That version peaked at 53 on the UK Singles Chart. Both the first and second versions of "We Care A Lot" were recorded with Faith No More's original vocalist, Chuck Mosley. The third version, a live recording, was made with the band's second and current vocalist, Mike Patton. This live version is available on Faith No More's only officially released live record, You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy (Video 1990, Audio 1991). 

Oh, and this week's flashback may be only one song, I've included all three versions for you, starting with the most popular one. You're welcome!

Flashback"Oh, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it  |  Said it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it."



"We Care A Lot" (1987)



"We Care A Lot" (1985)



"We Care A Lot" (1990)



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!

Friday, July 2, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for July 2, 2021

 


[Juke Box Heroes] -- 40 years ago today, Foreigner released 4, also known as Foreigner 4. The album's title had a dual purpose: It indicated the band's fourth studio album, and it represented the band's new status as a quartet. Various session players helped with the recording process, or on tour, but the band's primary members were Lou Gramm (lead vocals), Mick Jones (keyboards, guitars), Rick Wills (bass), and Dennis Elliott (drums). This four-person lineup is the one that endures in my memory when I think of Foreigner even though I did have Foreigner's previous three records, or at least 45s of singles from those albums.

While their first three records had helped establish Foreigner as something of a top AOR band and headliner, not to mention a commercial success with platinum sales, 4 was the break-through record they had been trying to release. Maybe some of that can be attributed to "Mutt" Lange on production, maybe some of it was due to a streamlining of songwriting efforts. Whatever the case, 4 launched the band into even greater success. The album held the #1 position on the Billboard album chart for 10 weeks, and it spawned multiple hit singles, including two entries in the #1 position on the Mainstream Rock chart: "Urgent" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You." I do like both of those tracks, but my favorite song on this album has to be "Juke Box Hero" which peaked in the #3 slot of the Mainstream Rock chart. 
 
Foreigner never quite equaled the commercial or critical success of 4. The embedded playlist below has all 10 tracks of the original release as well as two bonus tracks from the 2002 release, but it has only one of the original music videos (the one for "Urgent"). If you want to see Foreigner's original music videos for the five singles, visit this 40th anniversary post from 93.7 The River

FlashbackForeigner 4 (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!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for June 25, 2021

 


[Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap -- 10 Year Redux!] -- Ten years ago, back on Prophet or Madman, I spent three weeks in June sharing the songs of a compilation I had recorded to cassette in the late 1980s. That compilation was titled "Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap," and it was named for the sixth track on Side A. That name was also the title/theme for those blog posts. For the collective anniversary of those posts, I thought I would compile all the tracks into one YouTube playlist, and bring back that title over here on Bookended. While saving the new YouTube playlist, I was surprised to find that, of the nine YouTube videos featured in those posts, only one was no longer available. I also found that I never got around to blogging Side B of that cassette. Perhaps that will be a future post here. 

Anyway, if you want to read what I had to say about the individual tracks, go check out Part 1 for tracks 1 - 3, Part 2 for tracks 4 - 6, and Part 3 for tracks 7 - 9. 

If you just want to check out what made it onto that old cassette, the embedded playlist awaits! 

Flashback: Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap (Compilation)




Here are the tracks for Side A of Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap:
  1. Flesh for Lulu – "I Go Crazy"
  2. The Cure – "Why Can't I Be You" (Extended Mix)
  3. Age of Chance – "Kiss" 
  4. Gary Moore – "Over the Hills and Far Away"
  5. Midnight Oil – "Power and the Passion"
  6. Age of Chance – "Be Fast, Be Clean Be Cheap"
  7. Until December – "No Gift Refused"
  8. Fine Young Cannibals – "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"
  9. Faith No More – "We Care A Lot"

By the way, I still have that cassette. 



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!