the Buzz for October 2011


Garbage — “You Look So Fine” (from Absolute Garbage) — You Look So Fine - Absolute Garbage (Special Edition)

I wrote in this space some time back that Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” was the sexiest song I have ever heard, but let’s go ahead and rank this sizzling ode to twisted desire right up there as well. If Shirley Manson’s taut, fraught, maddeningly hot vocal here doesn’t get you all busted and bothered inside, I don’t even wish to fathom what would.


you say to-may-to

posted at 9:58 am by brandon in crazy cramers!

“I’m a minister’s daughter, I was brought up in the church…. If I could sit down with these people, I’d say, ‘I thought Jesus was about love and not about judgment and damnation. I thought Christ came to question the judgment of a very harsh God.’ I just find it completely against Christ’s message. I don’t know what they’re representing, but they’re as far away from Christ as my Bible teaching taught me and, you know what, I was brought up in the church! I’ve gone to church enough for almost every woman in America!”

— my beloved Tori Amos, discussing her thoughts on that blockheaded doofus Michele Bachmann and her pompously ill-informed ilk during an interview with PrideSource


Eric Clapton (with Babyface) — “Change the World”
(from Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton) — Change the World - Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton

Dreadful sorry about the severe dearth in Buzz posts of late; last week was a brutal one for me, what with work and whirlwind travel. I have nothing terribly noteworthy to add to the cavalcade of beautifully elegant tributes to the singular genius of Steve Jobs that have popped up just about everywhere online in the days since his tragic passing. But I do want to say this: it’s enough, I think, in this life to touch one person’s existence and, in however small a way, change it for the better. But, as anyone who has ever used any one of his company’s much-vaunted inventions can almost certainly attest, Mr. Jobs was scarcely satisfied with enough: as ABC News’ Bill Weir noted on Nightline in the immediate wake of the news of Jobs’ death, Steve was our Edison, our Disney, our Da Vinci. No cheap hyperbole, that; if anything, it’s an understatement. The term visionary gets thrown around with a too-casual ease these days, but there’s no question it applies here: with a staggering series of marvels of portable technology — each individual piece more impressive and game-changing than its predecessor — there’s hardly an acre of Earth whose inhabitants haven’t been fundamentally affected by Jobs’ unstoppable drive to change the way we connect with, contribute to, communicate with, and dream about the world around us. He was never one to rest on his laurels — clearly, he believed that a great thing can always be made better, and as such, he made perfectionism into an art, not a chore — but what I admired most about Steve was his profound embrace, in essentially equal measure, of style and substance: examine closely the shocking splashes of loud color in the original iMac, or the wispy (lack of) width of the MacBook Air, or the stunningly gorgeous squared design of the latest iPhone, and you understand at once how completely Jobs believed in the immutable power of a great presentation. He seemed to know in his soul that, in a world packed with ever-present strife and hardship, there remains a place, and a necessity, for the clean simplicity of beauty.
Stay hungry, and stay foolish is what Jobs wrote in his final tweet, and I can conceive of no more profoundly apt an epitaph. Steve was foolish enough to believe that technology could improve every facet of our lives, and he was hungry enough to prove it. Foolish enough to believe that one human mind thinking forever forward is enough to transform the world, and hungry enough to go the hell out there and do it, again and again and again.


Patty Griffin — “Mary” (from Flaming Red) — Mary - Flaming Red

For the second time in five or so months, my own personal wing of the Henslee family was forced to bid farewell to one of its own yesterday when my grandmother — our matriarch, who just happened to share a name with this shattering song’s titular heroine — passed away in her sleep. My thoughts are still a bit scattered as I type this, so I’ve nothing terribly profound to say here. This passing is absolutely a sad event, no question about it, but the primary emotion I feel early this morning is gratitude. I’m thankful my cousin’s two sons had the opportunity to know their great-grandmother well into their own adolescences (and that my nephew and my best friend and my partner got the chance to know her at all, however casually). And I’m thankful to have had someone in my life who taught me how to love crossword puzzles, and Yahtzee, and Miss Barbara Mandrell, and Mister John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Miss Deidre Hall, and the thrill of pulling a perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies you made with your own two hands out of a hot oven, and the best damned taco and the best damned spoonful of beef stew you ever put in your mouth. She wasn’t perfect, but neither were any of us; that didn’t stop her from loving us anyway, ferociously, and it didn’t stop her from being, in her own funny way, an angel. (So, so much love to you, Mary Henslee, and whatever destination awaits you next, may your landing be soft and sweet.)


The Fray — “Mahna Mahna” (from Muppets: The Green Album) — Mahna Mahna - Muppets: The Green Album

And now, for something completely off-the-wall: as indisputably brilliant as Isaac Slade is at what he does, he and his fabulous band, with their full-of-frolic ditties about teenage suicide and railing against God (and to His face, no less!), often take themselves so seriously that it’s quite bracing to see them cutting loose and having some actual light-hearted fun here. (You should really give yourself a gift this fine Sunday and check out the whole of this surprisingly sweet album, which finds a wide assortment of your (and my) favorite stars — Matt Nathanson, Rachael Yamagata, Weezer, My Morning Jacket — putting their own stamp on all the Muppets classics (even “The Rainbow Connection”!) from your (and my) misspent youth.)