THE ART MOVEMENT – Episode 23 – SONG LIST

Here’s the list of songs played on the last episode of THE ART MOVEMENT – the weekly radio show about arts and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed, hosted by Matt Micucci. (To listen to the full show, scroll to the bottom of the page.)

  • IGGY POP, I’m Bored
  • THE BEACH BOYS, Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  • TENDERLONIOUS, G Flex
  • SUDAN ARCHIVES, Come Meh Way
  • DESIRED, Wake Up
  • BARRY MANILOW, Copacabana (At the Copa)
  • BLACK FLAG, Rise Above
  • DICK DALE, Misirlou
  • PET SHOP BOYS, Being Boring
  • ELLA FITZGERALD, Mack the Knife
  • MORRISSEY, The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
  • CHARLIE PARKER, Scrapple from the Apple

Listen to the full show via the player below.

Download the full radio show HERE.
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5 Clips from Episode 10 of The Art Movement

Here are five clips from the latest episode of my radio show, THE ART MOVEMENT, the weekly radio show hosted by Matt Micucci that revolves around art and culture, and where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed.

My thoughts on whether Morrissey is a racist – and the concept of heroes/role models at large.

What Norm Macdonald and Karl Pilkington said about memory.

What French philosopher Henri Bergson said about confusion.

How our perception of time has changed throughout history.

Breathing is causing Edvard Munch’s 1910 version of The Scream to fade.

Lots more where that came from! You can listen to the full epsiode of THE ART MOVEMENT (including the music) via the player below.

The Art Movement – Episode 10

Welcome to THE ART MOVEMENT, a radio show about art and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts aret allowed. The show is hosted by globe-trotting art presenter/content creator extraordinaire Matt Micucci. It features plenty of music, interview clips, comedy and chat about current events.

In this episode: Edvard Munch, Henri Bergson, Norm Macdonald, Morrissey and more. (This episode was recorded on May 24, 2020.)

My Spotify Release Radar Five: February 29, 2020

Release Radar is a playlist of new music created by Spotify and based on your personal taste. I have widely ignored it in the past but in the interest of constantly discovering new music, I have decided to regularly start engaging with it. For this feature, I listen to the first five songs listed on the playlist and provide some feedback on each track.

Best Coast, “Master of My Own Mind”

I got into American rock duo Best Coast a few years ago when I accidentally came across their garage rock, lo-fi tune, “Make You Mine.” None of their tracks were quite as good as that, though I appreciate some of the vintage Americana influences of their music, especially the Beach Boys/Phil Spector ones. “Master of My Own Mind” is a song from their new album, Always Tomorrow. In tune with everything I’ve heard from this album, it’s not that musically exciting but carried by optimistic vibes and sun-drenched guitars. It sounds like ’90s music from a teen rom-com, though the lyrics offer a positive take on the theme of anxiety.

boywithlaptop and BluntOne, “City”

I’m actually fascinated with elevator music so, naturally, I like vaporwave, even thought I found out about it sometime after the short period of time during which it was big. I like its driving concept and this just-over-a-minute track that has made it on my Release Radar playlist this week comes from the fact that I sometimes just listen to vaporwave to relax or concentrate. The general feeling is that you could put this hip-hop beat driven song on a loop and it could play forever. I haven’t been able to find out much about this tune nor its artists, though BluntOne seems to be a hip-hop producer of sorts from Budapest who started making music as a sort of meditation.

Simply Red, “Tonight” (OAM Mix)

I had no idea that Simply Red had released a new album last year. This is a version of a song from that LP by tropical house duo 0AM. I appreciate the vibes of the genre and the Simply Red vibes have always been about piano-driven white funk. So, the two styles actually promise to blend quite well together. However, the original tune gets tiring by the first chorus, which strangely seems to take the energy out of it, even appearing to slow down considerably. Truth is, “Tonight” is not a strong enough song. It’s Simply Red on autopilot, or what it would sound like to condense their entire latter-day oeuvre into one composition, even down to the usual Mick Hucknall lyrics about making love and getting married.

Clannad, “In a Celtic Dream”

Clannad are huge within their genre. But that should only interest you if you are a fan of what I term Celtic contemporary adult music. This was a type of music tha was quite popular in the ’80s and ’90s, best represented by these guys and Enya. So, in other words, it’s hardly the most exciting thing in the world. Their new song from yet another collection of their “greatest hits” is a very basic and unexciting summation of their sound thus far. Have these guys ever evolved? Lyrically, it finds them providing a mythical landscape to their formative days, when they “didn’t have a care in the world” and all that stuff. Its rhythmic breaks do recall their biggest song, “In a Lifetime,” which was a collaboration with Bono and a song that I actually do listen to quite a lot.

Morrissey, “Knockabout World”

Wrapping up an uninspired Release Radar feature, Morrissey’s latest single from his forthcoming album, I Am Not a Dog on a Chain. And can you believe it, it is just as uninspired as anything else I have heard from this LP so far. Now, don’t get me wrong. Morrissey will forever remain a musical idol to me. And yes, there are some cool New Wave vibes in this tune lurking somewhere in the background, particularly in its opening. But by the time the cheesy synth brass kick in, I’ve already lost interes. Morrissey seems to be at a lyrical low, singing a congratulatory lyric that basically sounds to me like a handshake for those who have bought his record — though it is funny to hear the Moz sing the lines “You’re okay by me with your handsome teeth.”

My Spotify Release Radar Five: February 15, 2020

Release Radar is a playlist of new music created by Spotify and based on your personal taste. I have widely ignored it in the past but in the interest of constantly discovering new music, I have decided to regularly start engaging with it. For this feature, I listen to the first five songs listed on the playlist and provide some feedback on each track.

Morrissey, “Love Is On Its Way Out”

Morrissey remains one of my favourite music artists despite everything. Yet, with his new album, I Am Not a Dog on a Chain, due to be released soon, I am fatigued by his dramatic rock sound of these past few years. I dream of a more mellow Morrissey, where he embraces a style more suited to intimacy and smaller venues. In fact, the most exciting part of his new single, “Love Is On Its Way Out,” is easily the arpeggio interlude that precedes the explosive finale. Not even the lyrics have anything new to say.

King Krule, “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag You”

I love this languid style of King Krule, making already a second appearance on my Release Radar features. King Krule was my favourite discovery of last year, when I fortuitously came across a performance of “Easy, Easy” at the David Letterman Show from years ago. Since then, I have been fascinated with his melting pot of styles. “(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag You” presents a haunting sound, driven by slowly strummed guitars. The lyrics are wonderfully enigmatic and the video that accompanies it, which finds the singer/songwriter/producer burning at the stake, just as compelling.

Alicia Keys, “Time Machine” feat. Cedric Gervais

Time has been good to Alicia Keys, as her status by longevity seems to have made her somewhat of a spokesperson for the American recording industry – a fact proven by her hosting the GRAMMYs this year. The new singles from her upcoming album A.L.I.C.I.A. seem promising, though the sound seems to fall just short of mainstream. Perhaps this Cedric Gervais remix of “Time Machine” is an attempt to increase its exposure in the clubs and it has a greater sense of urgency. But I still find the groove and vibes of the slower original song better.

Rita Pavone, “Niente (Resilienza 74)”

As a young vocalist, Italian Rita Pavone’s tomboyish look made her seem quietly androgynous and rebellious. Yet, most of her well-known songs are ballads, and this considerably softened her image. At the age of 74, she now showcases more raw energy than arguably ever before on a new song, “Niente (Resilienza 74),” written by her son. It seems to be a late rebirth for her as a rocker and she certainly seems to have the voice to back up this claim. It will be interesting to see whether an entire LP of this type of music can be as successful and noteworthy.

Diplo, “Heartless” feat. Morgan Wallen and Julia Michaels

American DJ Diplo released last year a collaborative project with country star, Morgan Wallen. A year later, they release a remixed version of “Heartless,” which finds Wallen dueting with vocalist Julia Michaels. The modern country-pop vibes of the track are still there and the melody is quite catchy. Musically, the two versions would be quite similar but while I am not the biggest fan of her diction, Michaels brings a more engrossing theatricality to the song. Yep, I really like this song.

First Listen, Track By Track: Morrissey, “California Son”

New feature. I listen to a new album for the first time, jot down a few lines about each track on a napkin, and type them up (mostly) unedited. This is a first listen, so my opinion is subject to change. That’s the beauty of art. Also, this is not a review.

Morrissey, California Son

I’ve been a longtime Morrissey fan. Yes, he is one of the most important artists of my life. I still love and admire his work, though I disagree with his political views that he has expressed over the past years that have, frankly, left me terribly confused. What I heard about California Son is that it was meant as a covers album (much like David Bowie’s Pinups?). I don’t even know why it’s called California Son. I also hate the cover. It makes the album seem like Morrissey has just discovered Instagram. Maybe he’s trolling everyone. Who knows?

I’ve only heard two of its songs so far – “Morning Starship” from the much-discussed Jimmy Fallon Show performance, and “Wedding Bells Blues,” which I kind of like, not least of all because I like the original tune too. Aside from that, I know little of anything else about this album, though I’ve opened the Wikipedia page for quick reference.

“Morning Starship”

I heard the “How Soon Is Now” effect in the backdrop of this tune. Great stuff. Virtually no chorus, but that bridge is irresistibly dramatic. I had no idea who Jobriath was before I heard this beautiful cover of “Morning Starship,” where homosexuality is accosted to extra-terrestrial-ism. Jobriath’s tragic story alone is worth knowing. I even heard Morrissey looked for him years ago to help him record a comeback album before he found he had died of AIDS years earlier. That’s the beauty of California Son, I guess. It helps keep the memory of these lesser-known artists alive. Respect!

“Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow”

I’m a big fan of Joni Mitchell’s sophistication and I guess this song is about female subjugation. Okay, I am already confused. I have heard that some of these songs were “protest” songs. But isn’t Morrissey meant to be a far-right supporter? Is that why it sounds like he’s singing this song as if he were reading out loud the ingredients of a packet of crisps? The poetry of the lyrics is completely lost. The choice of the song is odd. Next!

“Only a Pawn in Their Game”

Things only get weirder… A cover of Bob Dylan’s famed tune about the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers? Again, isn’t Morrissey supposed to be a racist? What is he doing singing this particular Bob Dylan tune? I’m not sure why, but its significance is totally lost on me. It feels as if I were listening to a song from Low in High School. Or a damn bit from a West End musical, like Les Miserables (yuck, yuck, yuck!). Loses all its meaning in this Morrissey project. I wish he’d had the guts to sing things close to the political views he’s been promoting over the past while. I’d actually have appreciated that more…

“Suffer the Little Children”

Another dark, theatrical protest song. This one about how the class structure almost forces parents to teach their children to dream small, fly low. Get a nice, steady job and the whole lot. Bank Holiday weekends and all… The class system that is designed to make sure the oppressed stay oppressed. Actually, this is a theme of “Only a Pawn in their Game.” It suddenly dawns on me why that song’s in California Son. Morrissey is concerned with class, not necessarily with anything else. He does come from a lower class background. Plus, let’s not forget the title of this song recalls “Suffer Little Children” from The Smiths’ self-titled debut LP. By the way, I kind of liked this song. I appreciate its wit.

“Days of Decision”

At this point, I’m actually worried because, with each song, things keep getting worse. This one is simply awful. The original song is already “protest tune 101” dull. What I really hate about this particular version is that it’s easy to read right through it, seeing that Morrissey, just by singing it, has changed its original, anti-Vietnam, leftist sentiments into a celebration of that democratic disaster known as Brexit. Oh, by the way, I don’t actually care that he did that. What bothers me is its lack of self-awareness. He sings it like he means it, which makes it sound all the more like it belongs in a cheesy spot for a political party. Yuck!

“It’s Over”

At first, I thought Chrissie Hynde sang the first line of this song, but towards the end of the song, it seems unlikely. I love Roy Orbison, but I have no time for this West End/Broadway version of the song. Loses all its poetry and even Morrissey’s hoofing sounds terrible. It reaches somewhat of a peak towards the middle, but when a final verse emerges, the urge is to click that skip button. Wow, this listening party is quickly turning into a bloodfest. I’m a bit heartbroken…

“Wedding Bell Blues”

I must admit I had heard this song already and really liked it. I love the original version by The 5th Dimension, its pure domestic drama about a protagonist longing to be married, that anxiety about your partner leaving you for someone better. I feel it close; I’m at that age where people get married. Those who don’t, get a pet. Those who don’t become pregnant. Pure Coronation Street vibes here, boi. Billie Joe Armstrong is on backing vocals here. Not sure why. Is it ’cause his name is “Bill”? Is this as witty as you’re gonna get Moz?

“Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets” [Favorite tune]

I almost cried listening to this. If Morrissey had been here, I would have hugged him, and told him “It’s okay. We’re all sad.” This is the real Morrissey, the voice of a man who gave me strength during my adolescence, who supports me to this day and guides me through my sorrows. It sounds like a song from one of his early solo album. But also keeps the charm of the queen of unrequited love, Dionne Warwick, whom I also dearly love and whose songs always touched my heartstrings – even before I knew of the existence of Morrissey. This is the best song of the album. Two minutes of pure, real emotion. You could dance to this with tears streaming down your eyes. Love, love, love. Tempted to repeat!

“Lady Willpower”

I actually saw a video of the making of this tune before I heard the song just now. My expectations were high but completely let down. This is awful. It’s even worse than I could have imagined. I must admit, I’m not a fan of the original song either. But this song sounds even more aged than that Gary Puckett & The Union Gap Version. “Lady Willpower” does sound like it would have fit into Low in High School easily, I suppose. Which is kind of sad. Those horn sounds do my head in. Feels twice as long and possibly even worse than it is because it follows such a beautiful track.

“When You Close Your Eyes”

I didn’t even expect this; it was round two of being on the verge of tears. Not because I liked Morrissey’s version. I hated it. But No Secrets by Carly Simon is one of the albums I’ve listened to the most in my life and an LP that is very dear to my heart. Morrissey covering it on California Son must be proof that in 10 or 20 years, I will be as bitter as he is now. If a nuclear bomb or an Armageddon don’t come, you best stay away from me. Miss me, instead.

“Lenny’s Tune”

“I have lost a friend and I don’t know why / But never again will we get together to die” is already one of my favorite lines of any song I have ever heard. I didn’t know this tune originally but, I guess, this mess of a version doesn’t do it any favors. At first, I figured California Son was a good way for me to discover lesser-known songwriters and music artists. But now I worry about whether this LP does more damage than good. Not sure I can blame Morrissey for this; he clearly means well. However, the production is so bad… That piano just numbed my brain. I couldn’t even hear anything beyond it.

“Some Say I Got the Devil”

I didn’t know this song either, but I believe its theme opposes narratives that place women in the roles of victims. Anyways, again, the production is so overdone I just wanted to skip. Something weird and pretentious happens in the middle of it too… Just to make matters worse, I presume. Yes, this entire album feels like some type of godawful West End musical. The type that people who people who voted for Brexit probably love… Hey, wait a minute! Maybe that’s the idea!

Oh, by the way, I’m at peace with myself for still being a Morrissey fan. Please don’t judge me for it.