Music

In Praise of Letterman: A Musical Top Twenty

With David Letterman’s final Late Show airing on CBS on Wednesday, bringing a close to an unsurpassed thirty-three year career at the forefront of late night, the media over the past week has been full of all things Letterman. There have been tender and laudatory remarks and reminiscences from a whole host of celebrities and, most of all, from his…

Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month (April 2015)

A late edition this month, owing to the UK general election 2015 occupying the last couple of weeks; but here are plenty of words and some excellent songs and videos to – more than, I think – make up for it. Prince – ‘Uptown’ & ‘I Would Die 4 U’ I’ve been listening to these two songs by Prince on…

Behind the Song: Van Morrison – ‘Crazy Love’

‘Crazy Love’ is the third track from Moondance, Van Morrison’s second proper solo release. Astral Weeks had appeared on Warner Bros. in November 1968; with Blowin’ Your Mind! a compilation of recordings Morrison had made for Bang Records, originally intended for release as four singles, but put out as an album in September 1967 by label head Bert Berns without Morrison’s consent. Morrison’s dispute…

Culturedallroundman Playlists via YouTube 2

After making public precisely one month ago a first set of playlists via Culturedallroundman’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/culturedarm, here comes a second batch. Of three new playlists, the first extends from my piece on Pierrot, the sad clown with whitened face and blouse, ‘Pierrot Through the Arts’. Incorporating film and theatre alongside music, the playlist features a scene from a 1951…

Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month (March 2015)

In truth, I didn’t listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell through the month of March. But – especially in the context of a piece concerning a number of related artists – it is worth wishing her well here, in light of her ongoing hospital stay. And over the past week I have given a few listens to both Blue and Mingus….

Culturedallroundman Playlists via YouTube

Following what was effectively the birth of my YouTube channel last week – at youtube.com/culturedarm, upon the upload of my first video/podcast discussing the nineteenth-century Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev and his poem ‘Silentium!’ – I have made public an initial batch of playlists. These are based on my ‘Songs of the Month’ for February; my list of the ‘Fifteen Best Albums…

Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month (February 2015)

Let us go then, with a new series capturing some of my most listened to music of the past month. Listening lots does = endorsement. Joanna Newsom – ‘Only Skin’ (Live at BAM, 1 February, 2008) At almost seventeen minutes, ‘Only Skin’ is the longest composition on Ys; and it is densest piece on the album, not in terms of…

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

The surprise release of Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late came, a couple of weeks ago, precisely on the eve of the sixth anniversary of 2009’s So Far Gone, the mixtape that established his credentials as one of this generation’s preeminent rappers. So Far Gone led to Drake signing with Young Money Entertainment, an imprint of Cash Money headed by Lil…

On Kanye, Beyoncé, Beck, and Artistry

When Kanye West momentarily took to the stage as Beck was handed the award for Album of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammys, his quick grin and ready departure suggested that this was but a joke: a lighthearted reference to his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, upon Swift being selected for Best Female…