Archive for New York Magazine

We Blew It: Adding Wilco’s “Ode To Joy” To Tulip Frenzy’s 2019 Top 10 List

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 13, 2019 by johnbuckley100

The crisis began when we read New York magazine music critic Craig Jenkins’ Top 10 list for 2019. There, quite surprisingly, was Wilco’s Ode To Joy in the #1 slot. I literally sat up straighter, and felt the unease that had been lingering like a hidden virus suddenly blossom into panic.

You see, back in mid-November, when Tulip Frenzy published our Top 20 List of Albums released in the ’10s, we wrestled with whether to include Wilco’s 2011 album The Whole Love. It was on our Top 10 List that year, but over time it has grown on me, and our team spontaneously plays it on the stereo in the office rec room. 2011 was a stellar year for music, but The Whole Love should have ranked higher. (We also quite liked 2015’s Star Wars, though it didn’t make The List.)

How could it be, we thought when considering albums of the decade, that America’s preeminent rock group, a band that operates with smaller crowds, fewer sales but equivalent maturity and musical skill as Radiohead, how is it they didn’t make that list?

The short answer is that compiling lists is a tough exercise and you make regrettable choices. We thought of Ode To Joy when, two weeks later, we published our 2019 Top 10 list. That album had provided the ambient soundtrack to Autumn weekends, even if we had not elevated it to the command focus of records listened to while working out (ear buds nestled near the brain) or on our commute (my car = a stereo that just happens to have wheels.) We kept finding enjoyable moments — for example, that Fripp and Eno squall buried in the mix of “Quiet Amplifier,” the subversive trolling of the MAGA hatters in the “white lies” refrain on “Citizens.” But it still underwhelmed us sufficiently that we didn’t, ultimately, put it on our 2019 Top 10 list.

When we saw it listed last Friday as Jenkins’ #1 album for all of 2019, the whole team went back and listened to it all over again, or maybe it’s more accurate to write, for the first time. We had that sinking feeling that we — all of the editorial voices comprising the magic deliberations room at Tulip Frenzy World HQ — had done Wilco an injustice.

We henceforth place them, retroactively, on Tulip Frenzy’s 2019 Top 10 List. We admit our mistake. Graciously, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have accepted their fate and vacated the bottom rung on the list.

Ode to Joy is a great album. And no, we’re not going back to revisit our opinion of Schmilco.

So Of Course Richard Hell Wrote The Best Essay Ever About The Velvet Underground

Posted in Music with tags , , , on March 27, 2014 by johnbuckley100

There’s not much Richard Hell can’t do — practically start punk all by himself, propel Television out of the Bowery before wandering off, put out great albums with the Voidoids, write entertaining novels, oh, and one of the three or four greatest rocker memoirs ever.   But now he’s up and done it: in the new New York, which has a pretty great series of essays about New York musicians going all the way to the middle of the last century, Hell has written an homage to the VU in which he says the magic words: “In my opinion the Velvet Underground are the best rock-and-roll band in history.”

Now, we find this remarkable, in two ways.  We agree with it, of course, even as we argue with those voices in our head that are shouting out “Rolling Stones circa ’72!” and “what about the night in 1979 you saw the Clash and thought you’d achieved satori?”  Yeah, we hear ya.  What he said.

One remarkable thing, though, is how either he — or the phalanx of editors at New York — spelled “rock’n’roll” as “rock-and-roll.”  When we worked at New York Rocker — when Richard Hell would shamble in and drop off copy, being paid the same $25 an article as the rest of us — the house rules were “rock’n’roll,” and we’ve always accepted that as definitive.  Now our certainty is shaken.

But the other thing is, did we think Hell would call The Velvet Underground THE BEST?  I didn’t, but am always happy for the surprises sent straight from Hell.  Like the email I got from him in early December when he presented Tulip Frenzy with the most excellent remastering of The Richard Hell Story.  (Hey Richard, while we did thank you, I don’t think we passed on how incredible it is to hear those Dim Star tracks sounding bright and clear.  Amazing.  Please, release the whole thing, ok?)

We would link to the piece, but it’s not available yet.  And I would quote from it at greater length, but that’s not kosher.  All we’ll say is this one essay by Hell is worth the price of admission.  And is a reminder that, “in my opinion Richard Hell is the coolest man in rock’n’roll history.”  Or is that “rock-and-roll history?”

 

UPDATE: Richard Hell, bless his soul, emailed to inform us that, actually, the essay is available online, right here.  So do go read it.

He also added that, in re: how to write rock und roll properly, “I settled on ‘rock and roll’ some time back (it’s done that way in Tramp too.  The ‘n’ just felt too contrived to me, maybe even condescending, ultimately, now…”

Then moments later he wrote back, “”Wait a minute… They added hyphens, the fucks!”

He went on to write other things, but just as it’s bad form to reveal too much about your conversations with the President of these United States, or like the Pope or someone, we will not reveal all.

And damn, forgot to ask him if they will ever release a remastered version of the epic Dim Stars album, featuring him and Thurston Moore…

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