Lennon, Springsteen, and Some Bad, Bad Ideas
Some musical stuff that's washed up in the surf over the weekend:
--A website called Pitchfork has an extensive article on the worst album covers of all time. Apart from the snark (author Brent DiCrescenzo describes the cover of Neil Young's Everybody's Rockin' by saying, "Neil seems carved out of wax, propped up inside a faux-retro diner, begging for the sweet release of a grease fire"), it also provides some interesting thoughts on the role of album covers throughout rock history, and their likely future in a world where physical objects containing recordings will be replaced by digital downloads. During the vinyl era, you might not have bought an album exclusively for the art, but a cool cover was certainly a bonus. Think of the classic Pink Floyd covers, or the Vargas drawing on the Cars' Candy-O. Or click "comments" to provide a favorite of your own.
--An AP posted a story on the upcoming 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death, with various celebrity reminiscences of the event. (Closed circuit to the lead singer of Slayer: You needn't worry about your personal safety when going out in public. Not for the reasons you think, anyway.) A few weeks ago, The Mrs. and I had the chance to visit a traveling exhibit of Lennon's artwork. Heretofore, I'd never been all that impressed with Lennon's visual art, but seeing so much of it in one place gave me a new appreciation for it--mostly for its humor. His series of drawings done for his son Sean were the highlight of the exhibit for me. In those drawings, there's no sense that he was trying to create art--they're just the work of a father using any means at his disposal to make his child laugh, and that makes them especially funny and touching.
--Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, released 30 years ago, has gotten the deluxe anniversary treatment, with a newly remastered audio disc and two DVDs, including a concert recorded around the time the album was released. The reviews I've read have been almost hyperventilatingly positive--this one might be the single most positive review every written about any work of art, anywhere, anytime. But if there's any album that can bear up under such praise, Born to Run is probably it.