Friday, September 12, 2014

Power ballads, story songs and Cher's blown opportunity

When the power ballad works best, it requires more than just a great voice.

Ann Wilson of Heart took "Alone" to record heights, yes, but she was soaring with a well written song.


The new album's not done well.

Cher's never really done well with disco.

Not in terms of album sales.

She did disco first with the Take Me Home album which wasn't a flop but wasn't really a hit.  (The title track was a big hit for Cher -- I'm talking about album sales.)

She then followed it up with another disco attempt and another flop.

As a solo artist, she wouldn't find success again until her self-titled 1985 album.

"Believe" was a monster hit single and helped sell the album.  But the follow up?

It barely went gold in real time.

So now she's released her first solo album since then (studio solo album of new material) and, yes, her remarks have hurt her but it's also the wrong project.

She needed power ballads.

She offered a dance album.

Cher needs the power ballads.

The power ballads are a natural to her and to Bono.  They need to have the big anthem, the universal, because of their own vocal styles.

If you grasp that the power ballads are the cousins of the story-songs, Cher's been with the genre her whole career.

The story-songs made her a name in the 60s ("Where Do You Go," et al) and in the 70s ("Half-Breed," "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," "Dark Lady," etc.), they returned her to musical success in the 80s ("We All Sleep Alone," "Heart of Stone," "If I Could Turn Back Time," etc).

So Cher blew it and has no one to blame but herself.

I think she was especially stupid not to cover Steve Grand's "All American Boy."  There were many online calling for her to cover the song. She also had friends telling her to record it.

She should have.

I think she would have taken it to number one.

For decades, she's blamed Sonny for turning down "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia."  She has no one to blame but herself for missing the chance to climb the charts with "All American Boy."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Commmon Ills):
Thursday, September 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, an editorial board turns itself into a joke, some speak out, some stay silent, and much more

The editorial board of the Macon Telegraph weighs in on Iraq -- apparently to demonstrate their brains are as soft as an overripe Georgia peach.

All must come together and support US President Barack Obama's plan, declares a body determined to sport their ignorance.

There is no plan -- just more of the same.

Dissent is the hallmark of democracy.

How sad but telling: Journalists who rush to give up freedom and to censor and bully others.

They grow 'em mighty pathetic at the Telegraph.

Most of all, the scared little puppies can't stop wimpering -- such as here: "We need our lawmakers to act and act quickly. This is a case of national security. We would caution the president about making statements about what we won’t do. As the evolving situation in Syria and Iraq has shown, there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when more American boots are needed on the ground fighting next to Iraqis and Kurds."

You sort of picture them cowering in their own filth, don't you?

What national security?

Do the morons not even know how to listen?

In the speech, Barack declared, "While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies."

Where's the threat?

In the horror porn fantasies of those who work for the Telegraph.

Barack's unveiled plan turned out to be the same thing he was already doing but on a little bit wider scope.

And how's that been working out?

One sign of the failure of Barack's action would be membership in the Islamic State increasing.

AP notes CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani declared today that there had been rapid growth in IS membership since June and that they now have "between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, up from a previous figure of 10,000."

Not only have Barack's actions not reduced membership in the Islamic State, they also have increased it -- at a rate that not even Nouri managed.

Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) grasps what the Telegraph's editorial board can't:

Another President who fails to recognize how counterproductive war can be.
In Iraq, there are 6 million Sunnis who, with every bombing against ISIS, will be pushed more and more into the extremists' arms, as they see the United States waging war against fellow Sunnis.
In Syria, 60 percent of the country is Sunni, and bombing ISIS is likely to have a similar effect, further tearing that country apart. And if somehow the bombing "degrades" ISIS, it will serve to solidify Assad in power.

Barack had a chance to offer something new and didn't.  What he's planning to do is the same things that have allowed the Islamic State to significantly increase their own membership.

Even Ruth Conniff is dismayed.  And I believe she is (I know Matt is).

But over at The Daily Warren -- excuse me, The Nation.  It just feels like The Daily Warren.

There's something really sick about a political magazine grabbing onto politicians with all the desperation of a Jimmy Page groupie and running from one celebrity crush to another like a 12-year-old.

If only Elizabeth Warren had a third nipple -- like Harry Styles! -- the staff of The Nation could serenade Warren with "What Makes You Beautiful."

Instead, we're stuck with Leslie Savan and her tired horse face.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Is that the 'optics' Leslie rails against?

Well you know what I don't like?

I don't like the useless -- whether their name is Ralph Nader or Leslie Savin, I don't like 'em.

And you're useless if, like Leslie, you whine that Barack's speech was reduced to 'optics.'  No, she doesn't know what she's writing about.  Some believe they have an excuse to avoid doing the work.

Which is what she did: avoided doing the work.

First,   the press did not dub Barack's suit 'tan.'

The tan suit -- I have no idea if it's tan or not nor did I obsess over it -- check the archives -- came from Twitter and other social media as Barack was delivering his speech.

The press even reported on that.

Leslie missed it.

She misses a great deal.  Such as, repeating someone else's criticism -- huge chunks of it -- is not doing any of your own work.

She's so useless that she's written (and copied and pasted) a huge number of words whining about Maureen Dowd and others and how they covered the speech.

What  Leslie never did?

Write about the damn speech.

We did.  We wrote about it last week when he gave it in the 'tan' suit or whatever.

We wrote about it and we critiqued it.

It's a week later and all useless Leslie and her ugly horseface can do is whinny in the words of others.

Whether you agreed with Maureen Dowd or not, she's always one up on Leslie because Maureen puts her own thoughts in.

Doing a slightly better job than Leslie is Zoe Carpenter who asks "Is the War on ISIS Illegal?"

Zoe never took the time to weigh in herself -- an opinion writer at an opinion journal who can't share her own thoughts?

Patrick Martin (WSWS) shares these thoughts:

In pursuing its objectives in the Middle East, Obama’s pledge not to resort to “boots on the ground” has zero credibility. Already, hundreds of US troops and advisors have been dispatched to the region. Even before Obama went on national television, his secretary of state, John Kerry, was telling a Baghdad press conference that US combat troops would not return to Iraq unless “obviously, something very dramatic changes.” As former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, a fixture in the foreign policy establishment, observed, “That’s a loophole a mile wide.”
As always, decisions that effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people have been decided behind closed doors, by a small cabal, with plans drawn up in advance presented as a fait accompli to be rubber stamped by Congress and sold by the media on the basis of lies.

And that's how it went.  What should have been a discussion with the American people never took place.

It should have been demanded.

But our big brave 'leaders' instead were focused on Hobby Lobby and other 'pressing' issues.

Justin Raimondo has a column on the topic of Barack's speech here.