We've lost another great musician. I'm a big fan of Petty and he provided the soundtrack for more than one of my college video projects. I know it's probably blasphemous to mention a compilation album for some of you audiophiles, but Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Greatest Hits is among the elite of the elite of greatest hits albums. So, I leave it here for you to enjoy over the course of another sad day.
When I saw Haim live in Louisville, June 7th of 2016, I knew with 100% certainty that I loved at least two of the songs on their new album. (The only two they played.) Two for two. 100%. Needless to say... I left that concert hyped for new music.
That led me to make a public prediction on the Talk Hard podcast that not only would the new album be great, but it would elevate the sisters to the status of #1 rock band in the world. The unquestioned queens of rock n' roll. I am extremely sad to report that I was wrong on all counts. Something to Tell You has much more Stevie Nicks baked into it than Joan Jett. And my personal disappointment lies in the fact that I believe Haim was on the edge of shaking the music world's foundation. Much the way Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton reminded everyone what country music could be when dialed back to its roots, I thought these three sisters were going to breathe life into a dead genre and in a very cool way.
Clearly not everyone will agree with me. Such is the subjective nature of art in general and I'm happy for the people who love it. The point that I'm confident in is that more people would have loved it if the sound of this album matched the simple, pure rock I heard in the Mercury Ballroom. These ladies are immensely talented. Danielle is a hell of a guitarist and vocalist. I'd like the chance focus on that. Instead, this album is extremely overproduced and the style sounds more like Cee Lo Green circa 2010 (see: Little of Your Love) with some fairly clear Fleetwood Mac-inspired undertones. I don't get it.
I got worried when the release date of the album kept moving backward. It had already been over three years since Days are Gone when they told us to look for the new album in Fall of 2016. Then it moved to Spring. Then it moved to Summer and finally arrived July 7, 2017. All the interviews with Haim during this time said things like, "We won’t finish a song until it sounds exactly like how it sounds in our brains." When it comes to music, that kind of tinkering and perfectionism always worries me. In my opinion it cost the album in energy. Judging by other reviews on the web, I'm certainly in the minority. In fact, I may be all alone. Regardless, although I think a little more edge and a few less frills would have made a better album, I will continue to support these ladies and I will most certainly see them again live when the songs sound the way they did when I fell in love with them.
Maybe this album will grow on me, but I believe my favorite version of Haim will always be the one on stage.
Listen, I've had a deep and undying love for Waylon Jennings since he was just a pair of hands and a voice on The Dukes of Hazzard. I'm actually into his music now more than ever. That longterm love for The Balladeer means I'm going to root for his son in whatever he does. But, still, how does Shooter's new album make any sense on a film blog? Well, I'll tell you.
Countach is dedicated to / inspired by Giorgio Moroder. If you know him, now you get it. Giorgio is the purported inventor of electronic music and creator of some of the most 80s sound tracks that the 80s ever produced. Top Gun... The NeverEnding Story... Over the Top...?! Yeah. Shooter said the album is a love letter to his childhood and we're only a year apart, so his childhood is my childhood (minus the tour bus and Willie and lots of drugs and whatnot).
"Something that I had just written off as the sound of the Eighties, it was all Giorgio. He's the one that made that wave of music happen. It hit me like a freight train." -Shooter Jennings
Now, I've known for years that Shooter blazes a trail that is all his own in the music business. And when I saw the magnificent album cover for Countach (JUST LOOK AT IT -- IT HAS FALKOR WITH A MACHINE GUN FOR CRIPES SAKE), I knew this one was going to be further "out there" than he'd ever been before. As I listened to it, my first thought was, "Yeah this is weird." and my second thought was, "but it totally works." From what I've seen, that's even the consensus from people who get paid to have thoughts about music. So congratulations, Shooter Jennings.
Ultimately, what this boils down to is how much you want to hear a cover of The NeverEnding Story sung by Brandi Carlile. The answer is very much.