Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

Grateful Undead

11 Feb

I hate zombies.Billy Idol zombies

My family thinks I’m afraid that they’re hiding under the bed, lying in wait for me. (Of course not; that’s where the Blob lives.) I know that zombies aren’t real and never will be. However, if I’m wrong and there is ever a zombie apocalypse, I’m sure all of us Literature majors will be locked in a corral with a big sign saying, “EAT THESE FIRST! They use books for hammers and can’t help us rebuild civilization … besides, their brains are so cultured!”

I just find them gross. Visually they’re all splatter and gore and rot. Aurally, I cringe at the groaning and crunching. I can’t be in the same room as my partner when she’s cutting up a chicken, so needless to say I get no joy in the skull-cracking, bone-shattering brain munching of the typical zombie story. Also, the stories are so dang hopeless: humanity might soldier on but without coffee, who cares?

Darn tootin'!

Darn tootin’!

But then came Warm Bodies, the zom-rom-com starring Nicholas Hoult as R, the hottest member of the undead ever and perhaps the first zombie hipster in film history. He met his demise in a hoodie, skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors, and he trudges around with the bad posture and bed head he probably sported in life. He has a crate of vinyl, scavenged from the pony-tailed used record store owners he devoured, no doubt. His living love interest comments approvingly on his being a purist, choosing a turntable over an iPod. Circling his cold hand in the air, he said he liked records because they were more “alive.”

R might be a zombie, but he’s no poser.

(Then again, beggars can’t be choosers. He salves his lonely, unbeating heart by playing John Waite’s “Missing You” at full volume.)

I liked the songs selected for the soundtrack.  In addition to some 1980s standards that were sort of tongue in rotting cheek (Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” for instance) it featured a nice mix from alt rock to Bob Dylan. What I thought interesting is the song chosen to play over the final images of hope and sunshine: “Runaway” by those masters of dreary bleakness, The National. Did the director listen to the lyrics before selecting the song?

Of course, if R truly was a crate digger with eclectic taste, director Jonathan Levine missed an obvious choice … and no, it’s not Thriller:

Go see Warm Bodies, the feel-good zombie romance of the year, and let me know what music you’d need to survive the zombie apocalypse.

See you on the flip side … 

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School of Rock

7 Aug

“The Boston gig has been canceled … I wouldn’t worry about it though, it’s not a big college town.”

My teenage daughter is going to be a senior in high school come September. Next week, I will accompany her up and down the East Coast for her first college tour … or as she sees it, the Bataan Death March of the Soul. As much as she wants to flee parental control, she is leery of jumping into the arms of the academic establishment due to the cost, the pressure, and the likelihood that she’ll have to do her own laundry.

I told her that going to college means one thing for certain: great music. Even dinky campuses get any number of bands traipsing through town to build up their rabid following, one underclassman at a time.  Occasionally, they spring up from the students themselves: Talking Heads at RISD, MGMT at Wesleyan, Vampire Weekend at Columbia.

To prove my point, and perhaps to make it worth her while to set foot in Providence, I looked up the concerts in the New York and Boston areas when we’ve got free nights. And there is NOTHING. No thing. Nada. (There is a Marina and the Diamonds concert in but it’s 18 and over. As her mother, I can’t exactly help her get a fake ID so we can catch a concert.)

Of course,  Bruce Springsteen is playing Fenway Park while we’re in Boston. Call me un-American, but I have absolutely no interest in seeing the Boss in concert.  I wish him no ill. I’m glad he’s in the world, and he is nothing if not sincere. If someone offered me tickets to his show, I’d go. But otherwise, it would be like me going to a Latin mass when I’m only a diffident Protestant: I might recognize some of the melodies and get the gist of what all the fuss is about. Not being a true believer, though, the fervor of the faithful would be dumbfounding. (Maybe if I had gone to Rutgers …)

I was looking forward to catching a show. I saw all of three concerts in the Boston area during the eight years I lived there:

  1. Elvis Costello and his ill-conceived “Spectacular Spinning Songbook”, where he spun a wheel to choose the next song, making the show seem like it went on for days. When 10 p.m. came around and he hadn’t landed on “Alison,” he gave up and just shoved the ticker over.
  2. David Bowie’s “Glass Spider” tour at Foxboro Stadium (speaking of ill-conceived).
  3. The Fine Young Cannibals’ only appearance at Great Woods; they performed their three songs respectably then promptly broke up.

Of course, I want to see a show with her for reasons beyond just redeeming my Boston-based concert roster. With the advent of her senior year, it’s hitting me that there aren’t that many more opportunities for my daughter and me to share music together here at home. I’ll start feeling the emotional impact as we head to the airport and I hand her my iPod to select what she wants to hear in the car. It’ll rear up again when we’re packing her turntable in bubble wrap so it’ll arrive on campus safely. And it’ll knock me flat when Airborne Toxic Event comes through Detroit and she’ll be seeing them on another stop on the tour.

There are still Marina and the Diamonds tickets left. Anyone know where in New York I can get my daughter a fake ID?

See you on the flip side …

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