Archive for Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Spiritualized To Play “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” At Radio City Friday Night

Posted in Music with tags , on July 29, 2010 by johnbuckley100

Oh my Heavens, where have we been?  How did we not know this and make the according plans.  While we have previously expressed concerns about the moral stance of Spiritualized’s epic — possibly the greatest album of the 1990s, certainly one of the five or ten best since the punk era — there are many things, including vestigial organs, we would give to be there.  If only we could.

On The Moral Stance Of Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by johnbuckley100

Longtime readers of Tulip Frenzy may know that we don’t think the glorification of heroin by rock bands is cool.  We love Wilco, but we’ve never been sure whether Jeff Tweedy is trying to praise smack or bury it, before it buries him.  So how, you may ask, can we believe, as we do, that Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is one of the great albums of the ’90s, worthy of its recent multi-CD relaunch?  After all, doesn’t its greatest song, “I Think I’m Falling In Love,” play as one long, enticing nod?

“Sun so bright that I’m nearly blind
Cool cos I’m wired and I’m out of my mind
Warms the dope running down my spine
But I don’t care ’bout you and I’ve got nothing to do
Free as the warmth in the air that I breathe
Even freer than dmt
Feel the warmth of the sun in me
But I don’t care ’bout you and I’ve got nothing to do
Love in the middle of the afternoon
Just me, my spike in my arm and my spoon
Feel the warmth of the sun in the room
But I don’t care ’bout you
And I’ve got nothin’ ”

Well, maybe.  “Cop Shoot Cop” begins with the lyrics, “There’s a hole in my arm where the money goes.”  And when listened to as a whole, the album is one of the most devastating portraits of the dislocation and loss that comes from chemical dependency I can think of.  There’s the vertiginous feel of someone about to plunge off the bridge, life over, nothing left.  It does not paint a warm picture of junkiedom.

In fact, one of the reasons it’s so powerful is because of the lack of ambiguity about smack.  Jason Pierce is as famously louche as Keith Richards, without the latter’s Devil-sold constitution, but in this regard he is more of an object lesson than an exemplar.  Whereas when Tweedy sings, and all the kids singalong, “All I need is a shot in the arm,” and “There’s something in my veins/bloodier than blood,” I’m not sure the audience gets that this is not a good thing.

Why is the official moral stance of Tulip Frenzy to condemn ambiguity about heroin use?  Well, we’ve never forgotten our friend Byron Coley’s letter to the paper we worked for, The Soho Weekly News, when around August 1979 it showed a young blond woman on the cover with a straw and a line of white powder and the headline, “Now Heroin.”  And Byron wrote in a letter to the editor words to the effect of, “Your audience doesn’t have the critical sensibility of, say, readers of Foreign Affairs, and when they see you holding out heroin as chic, they may take the bait.   And this is what happened to Charlie Parker and others, some of whom died, and the rest got buried.”

Fans of hip British rock bands do not necessarily have the sensibilities of readers of Foreign Affairs.  Ambiguity about heroin can send exactly the wrong message to the vulnerable.  Spiritualized’s epic album may, to some, send a signal that heroin is cool.  I actually think it is a glorious, beautiful reminder that it just completely isn’t, that squalor ensues, that raggedness and a loss of humanity proceed the reckoning, if you’re lucky enough to survive and have one.

The Complete Version Of Spiritualized’s “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” Out This Morning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 1, 2009 by johnbuckley100

As this is being written, all 47 — or maybe it’s 147 — tracks of the superdeluxecollectorsfabulous edition of Spritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space — one of the greatest albums of the past quarter century — is downloading from the iTunes Store.

For the most part, it’s hard to care about the complete sessions of anything.  When the Beatles Anthology was released a decade back, we were sort of relieved to find how few were the half-baked takes of songs remaining.  The good stuff, it turns out, made it to the light of day, and we didn’t really gain too much rooting around in the attic.   With the exception of Bob Dylan, there aren’t many artists whose demo tracks we really want to listen to.  I mean, the three CD version of The Stooges’ Fun House was not played in our house.

But Ladies And Gentlemen was a work so profound and unexpected, the idea of being able to float around in the gory maw of its creation is inspiring.  When Spaceman 3 morphed into Spiritualized, and Jason Pierce — an artist who is at his most interesting precisely when his reach exceeded his grasp — was given full reign to explore, the results were, momentarily, thrilling.  We are not completists; we don’t have to listen to the entire Pierce oeuvre.  There is a fair amount of non-melodious noodling in the rest of Spiritualized’s corpus.

But not Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. It does float through space, and takes us with it, as comets whiz by and dramatically bounce off one another.  Glad this artifact was brought back from the nether reaches.

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