Unanswered prayers

Saw this poor critter while waiting for the bus last week:

Looks like his prayers went unanswered, unless his request was to die on the streets of downtown Cincinnati.

Naturally I immediately thought of Don Dixon’s song “Praying Mantis.” You’ve likely never heard the song, and perhaps you’ve never even heard of Don Dixon. All he did was co-produce Murmur and Reckoning by R.E.M., as well as albums by The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw and Guadalcanal Diary. Jangle pop wouldn’t exist without him.

Please look beyond the bad hairstyle and appreciate the tune.

Since 1988, Don has been married to the equally talented and equally underappreciated Marti Jones. They live in Canton, Ohio and still tour occasionally. Here’s a nice interview with them.



When did pop songs become clown cars?

I know I run the risk of sounding like Grandpa Simpson or SNL’s “Grumpy Old Man”….

… but when did every pop song become a clown car, where you cram in as many artists as you can? “Back in my day” there were solo artists (we miss you John Denver), bands (hello Pablo Cruise) and the occasional duet (Kenny/Dolly or Kenny/Sheena or Kenny/Kim, whichever you prefer). But now it seems like there is some sort of rule (actually “formula” might be more apropos) that a single can’t be released unless it has at least three of the following:

  1. A DJ
  2. A rapper
  3. a pop singer known more for their looks than their pipes
  4. A Disney/Nickelodeon kid show star
  5. Rihanna

Ryan Seacrest must get laryngitis every week just announcing the names of the Top 40.┬áIt’s like a music version of The Love Boat.

I think Rihanna just lives in some giant recording studio complex – she steps into Studio A, sings a hook, moves on to Studio B, then C, D, and E… and by the time she gets back to Studio A there’s another disposable band in place working on a song that she can “feature” on. (And I’m using the term “band” very loosely. Most times it’s probably a 22-year old with a laptop.)

More doesn’t always equal better, and the sum is not always greater than the parts. I don’t know how bands and artists can establish any sort of staying power when their identity is based mostly on a Lazy Susan of condiment guest stars. (DJ Khaled, you’re the spicy mustard. Lil’ Wayne, you’re the Dave’s Insanity hot sauce. Biebs, you’re the fat-free mayo.)

Maybe instead of breaking up, the Beatles could’ve just become Lennon & McCartney with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, featuring Yoko Ono and Billy Preston. And they could’ve done the theme song for Matlock. That’s music to my ears.