Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dark Trilogy Part 2

For about a week to 10 days in eighth grade, I would get off the bus and run the quarter of a mile or so down from the stop to my house, bust through the front door and turn on the TV in my room where MTV was already queued (if you will) to show me the following three videos (and I’m going to use bullets because they’re awesome):

• The Pixies: Here Comes Your Man
• The Church: Under the Milky Way
• The Smiths: Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

It seems like there was a video by the Farm too, but they suck.

And then on a Thursday, Under the Milky Way was replaced by the Church’s second single from Starfish, Reptile, and I ran out and bought the album the next night.

But this entry is not about that album. Say what?

That brief week and a half was one of my earliest introductions to “alternative” music and to three of the bands that would come to represent me in my maturing years and still do so to this very day. And the next of these bands I was to delve into, roughly three years later, was The Smiths, when Susan and Cybil bought me Louder Than Bombs for my 17th birthday. But this entry isn’t about that album either. C’mon, dude! Nor is it about Strangeways Here We Come, where the aforementioned Smiths video/single came from. All right, let’s get to it…

Ok, it’s about Meat is Murder. Oh, eek, that one. Yes, that one. It’s amazing to me how this album sports one of if not the biggest mantra that the Smiths are known for and yet is pretty much overlooked, even by many die hard fans, in the Smiths catalogue. I’m sick to death of hearing about how perfect The Queen is Dead is, or how underrated Strangeways is, or how they were at their best when they were at their freshest with the debut. Those are all great albums, I’m not arguing that, but why is it that Meat is Murder is pretty much only known for that phrase and the song How Soon is Now? That song wasn’t even supposed to be on the stupid album. And it’s boring. Bleh. Ok, ok, I’ll settle.

I’m not here to argue the perfection of this album. In fact I think it’s flawed in many ways, which is part of what makes it so endearing. I mean as I’m listening to it right now, I’m reminded why I really don’t care for Barbarism Begins at Home. It just goes on forever with no purpose. I mean it’s a nice groove, but cut it down by two minutes, please! And yet I love the very end when the bass does that little funky alteration to kick out the song. It’s the little things, people. All right, I need to focus here and get back on topic, which overall is the Dark Trilogy, installment two, The Smiths: Meat is Murder.

Where my first installment, The Cure’s Faith, used imagery (both musically and lyrically) to deal with the murky mope of skepticism and seclusion, Meat is Murder takes issues head on and at face value, and often with a back beat and strum that is quite uppity. And herein lies another brilliance of music, when you’ve got a tune that has the mindless kids shaking their arses off on the dance floor, but also crying themselves to sleep later that night.

As I’ve said before, the song as a whole is what counts, and so the music comes first while the lyrics only find import if the song hits me at the right level (yes, there are lots and lots of songs where I can beat out every random fill or guitar lick on the steering wheel, but not sing one complete verse). And most anyone in the know who knows me can tell you that my all time guitar hero is Johnny Marr. And never did he shine so brightly as he did in his four-year tenure with the Smiths. And while he is a large part of the music, let us not forget our friends Andy and Mike on bass and drums respectively, without whom the Smiths may have been a great band, but definitely not the same band, the band we all love or at least love to hate.

Johnny was big on layers, and often had two (or more) guitar melodies running over the strummed chords. This leaves me wondering which ones he would have played in a live setting (enter Craig Gannon), and I love seeing/hearing early live stuff and exactly what he’s doing on stage, which in some cases (as in Pretty Girls Make Graves), was better than what was on the album. But, more to the point, here on Meat is Murder, all these different parts are open and evident and not (as with the Queen is Dead) lost in a heavy coating of reverb. And the boys work up several styles here to accent these brilliant riffs and progressions, from straightforward alt-rockers (I Want the One I Can’t Have, What She Said), to rockabilly (Rushholme Ruffians, Nowhere Fast), to straight up balladry (That Jokes Isn’t Funny Anymore, Well I Wonder) and even a bit of funk flair (Barbarism Begins at Home). Plus, there are lots of the little tidbit oddities that I love to discover in music, and which can really make a song jump from good to great or great to brilliant, all over the place on this album. Two examples (bulleted again, for my amusement):

• During and after the chorus of Nowhere Fast, the guitar is chiming along, a minor, melancholy little run that perfectly compliments the lyrics (“And when a train goes by, it’s such a sad sound…”), followed by a forlorn little two-note slide, almost like a sigh. Brilliance. I find myself thinking about that little section a lot and wondering how awesome Johnny thought he was for coming up with it and wishing I could figure out a way to rip it off myself without being obvious. Ah well, I probably couldn’t play it properly anyway…
• And again, the title track, a very ominous tune, the true anthem of vegetarianism; halfway through the second verse, at the 3:18 mark, the drums accent a most foreboding line (“It’s not comforting, cheery or kind…the meat in your mouth as you savor the flavor of murder”) with a very loud and obvious fill across the toms, which is off putting not only in the context of the music (for those of us who like our fills to come in the right places), but also in the overall unease of the song’s theme -- the consumption of flesh.

And, of course, there’s a lot of jangle here (so much of the music I love has jangle to it), something that always denotes a good time, but not without a sense of attack, a certain menace that sets the tone for what Morrissey is clearing his throat to tell us about.

So let’s touch on that a bit. Moz really has a lot to say here. From the brutality of the British school system, to the aimless, shiftless nowhere-to-go state facing society and particularly young people, to child abuse and forlorn loves and disconnection from people and, of course, the meat industry. And he’s not just saying “this sucks” because it does, he’s giving us the grit, as in opener The Headmaster Ritual (a rather menacing title that is never used in the song itself), his young boy character complains of a schoolmate who “grabs and devours” and “kicks me in the showers,” as well as “bruises bigger than dinner plates,” and constantly laments his desire to go home. Or, in Nowhere Fast, his comment to the monarchy staying suspicious and aloof of the commoners, as the queen thinks them “selfish and greedy,” purposefully keeping them down and in a backward age. And on the less political-social level, within the confines of disenchanted youth, What She Said is “How come someone hasn't noticed that I'm dead and decided to bury me, God knows, I'm ready.” And I couldn’t allow myself to mention this album without giving a shout out to quite possibly my favorite Smiths song, the truly underrated and truly overlooked Well I Wonder, a very low key tune that sums up for me everything about being 15, clumsy and shy, and melodramatic in the infatuation of some silly girl, “Gasping, but somehow still alive. This is the fierce last stand of all I am.”

And some of this was not relevant in 1992 (some seven years after the album’s release) to a 19-year-old American college student, or now a 35-year-old white-collar worker, but the sentiment is there, the realization that all is not well with the way things are. And truly it never will be, but pointing out the fact is not enough, you have to make a change by making a difference -- don’t eat meat, don’t let the system consume you, don’t be a douche, whatever it takes. Right? Am I babbling here? Yes.

Honestly, to me overall, this is the quintessential Smiths album. Lyrically and musically, it all comes together here. Never were there more signature licks from Marr, never was Morrissey more observational and droll without being overly obscure, never were Rourke and Joyce put more to the test to keep a myriad of styles and textures in place for their often dueling duo of frontmen.

Meat is Murder is a rant and a wail, though sung in a croon, and Morrissey and Co are dire and full of ire and ready to start a fire (ha, ha) in the hearts of the youth of any generation and beneath the seats of all ruling parties. You’ll tap your feet to a good half the tunes here, but you’ll feel the tension, and that will make you look a little deeper and see that those bouncy guitars are just a façade.

Purchase this album here…

And since the Smiths never did many videos, here’s a live clip of Nowhere Fast…

And a fan vid of Well I Wonder, which was never played live…

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dark Trilogy Part 1

Since we’re in the week of Halloween, I thought I’d pick a few albums with a darker theme to ramble about. No, there won’t be anything obvious like Misfits or Bauhaus, but what I’ve chosen, to an extent, won’t be entirely off the mark. So, to start off, a little bit of history…

It’s early March, 1990, around 10:15 on a Saturday night (you’re about to see why that’s funny) and I’m driving my mother’s faded maroon 1986 Oldsmobile station wagon through the byways of outlying Panama City. This is old Florida, none of the gaudy neon and tacky beach paradise attraction my hometown is infamous for. I’m in the sticks and I know it. The air is chill and damp and smells of moss and silence and the paper mill. The sky is dark and wide and probably without stars. The fog stretches like ghost fingers across the occasionally lit road where a nocturnal creature of any kind could step out and give a fright.

The soundtrack for this dismal setting is equally so, the Cure’s Faith, released in 1981. This is an album for empty nights and wide spaces, very minimalist, sparse and dreamy, no complex beats or time changes or intricate guitar runs. For the most part it takes its time, drawing out slowly, only a couple of songs with any sort of energy to accent and bring contrast to the overall somber mood. It’s layered and involved and yet easily executed by three or four musicians (as long as the guitarist has an echo pedal). The methodic drums, pulsing bass and swirling washes of guitar and keyboards create a landscape for Mad Bob to croon about every dejected teen’s favorite subjects: isolation, doubt and death.

The Cure was still a relatively new discovery for me in those days. I already owned Boys Don’t Cry, Standing On a Beach and Disintegration (or the Big D as I like to call it), so I had an idea what I was in for when I bought Faith at Camelot Music a couple of weeks before. I had somewhat befriended the manager of the store, a 30 something guy who loved Led Zeppelin and to whom everything else was but a secondary footnote. I was a bit nervous when I came up to the counter with my purchase. He looked down at it with friendly skepticism and said, “So this is what you’re getting into now?” I mustered all of my courage and squeaked in mock defiance, “Yes.” The college aged girl with him behind the counter, who didn’t strike me as the type, glanced over at the CD and said, “That’s good stuff, you leave him alone.” Whew.

I wish I could remember my first listen to this album. The impressions I got. If I’d sat transfixed for roughly 40 minutes or read a book or watched the Cosby Show on mute. Even with a fair sampling of the band, I still had no idea what to expect. All I’d had to go on was the album single Primary (which I thought was fun and catchy) from the Standing On a Beach comp (I only had the cassette, where the CD version, I now know, has Other Voices as well). I knew it would be different from the jangle and post punk of Boys Don’t Cry, but had no clue that the flange heavy drive of Primary would easily be the lightest, most hopeful moment on the entire album. Again, I had the Big D as a latter day reference, but that full, shimmering barrage of keyboards and chiming guitars made the themes of love and loss and ultimate despair seem natural and fitting. So nothing had really prepared me for the blatant and in most ways unexplained desolation that was, and is, Faith.

Again, I can’t remember my first impression, but I can remember the day after, or at least the Monday after, walking through the halls of A. C. Mosley High School with The Drowning Man spinning in my head. Weaving through the other students, books under my arm, head slightly bent, I was there but I was not there, wrapped up in this song, this album, this secret that I was now in on, something to set me further apart from the jock/prep/redneck monotony I found myself surrounded by. I believe it was Cindy Shirley I ran into first, and when she asked me what was up, I told her I’d discovered something really great, something life changing. She seemed interested, maybe impressed, probably just being polite, and I know that at some point I let her borrow the disc. Turns out she wasn’t impressed. Why did I like her again?

So, back to the station wagon… I’m coming into town again, lights from gas stations and convenience stores streaking the inside of the car. In the rearview mirror I can see the faces of my companions, three girls (one of them Cindy), in the seat behind me. They’re all quiet, seemingly bewildered, and pale, I can definitely remember pale. I’m not sure if they’d been arguing, they usually were (none of them spoke to each other within five years after high school), or if they were as drawn into the music as I was, wrapped in a shell of quiet yet beautiful anxiety. (Well, Cindy obviously wasn’t, but anyway...) It was a mellow mood, thoughtful, and I was probably hoping that this new, cool music I was playing would convince one of them to like me. Especially since it was obvious that the fact they’d just seen me play my first ever show (my black Gibson “Ripper” bass occupied the passenger seat beside me) at a house party down off of John Pitts Road wasn’t doing much in that area.

The fact is, they, and most people, don’t get as obsessive about music as I do. They probably didn’t mind it, maybe even enjoyed it, and probably did or eventually would own a copy of Standing On a Beach or the Big D, but they wouldn’t invest in the catalogue, and certainly weren’t setting down any foundations, allowing the rhythmic drone of All Cats are Gray or the biting lash of Doubt to design the blueprints for what would be the rest of their lives.

Faith has done this for me.

And that’s an interesting analogy being a Christian as well, and even more so because this album is bookended by songs with (anti) religious themes. The Holy Hour (which I later learned via a live bootleg was dedicated to Ian Curtis), with its heavy bass and understated beats, and its Catholic/Anglican imagery, denounces the blind devotion to religion (“I cannot hold what you devour”), watching people go through the motions mindlessly and not seeing the purpose or the fulfillment. And again on the title track, another prominent bass line carried by modest drums, where the “narrator” realizes he can’t continue in his present direction, yet can’t rely upon the words and actions of others, so is forced to go away “alone, with nothing left but faith.” But in what? Bob never says.

In between anger and uncertainty with his faith, Robert’s lyrics focus on the things that have brought him to this point; the anger and uncertainty of relationships (The Funeral Party, Doubt), anger and uncertainty with self (Primary, Other Voices, The Drowning Man) and, the near centerpiece of the album, All Cats are Grey, a brief (lyrically) ode to the loss of identity and the complete paranoia of walls closing in. This is an album often painful to listen to, and should only be done so to either confirm or fully realize your morose feelings or bring you down a notch when you think your continuous good mood might be getting on your friends’ nerves.

Nearly 20 years and countless listens later, Faith is still a desert island disc for me. Still my all time favorite Cure album. Still in my top 10 no matter what else I stumble upon. I may not listen to it as often as I do something like Boys Don’t Cry or Wild Mood Swings (the first nine tracks on that album are a hodgepodge delight), but neither of these albums set the standard for me. It’s the perfect balance of what 17 Seconds began and Pornography welded into a standard that has, unfortunately, labeled the Cure as the godfathers of goth, a style they unwittingly helped to create without ever hoping to.

At the time I accepted that Faith was a collection of murky gems just beneath the crust of the mainstream waiting to be plucked and enjoyed. By the simple fact that it was there, and had been for nearly a decade, I took for granted how it was made and why. Even now, through the eyes of someone who has written songs and played in bands, I’m not sure how this music came about, what the initial seeds were. As best I can tell, Robert and the boys listened to rock and roll, Hendrix and the Beatles and the Doors, with not even so much as some Eno or Kraftwerk to say, “Hey, how about looking over here?” (I don’t know this for sure, so correct me if I’m wrong.) Earliest on they were Buzzcocks rip offs (who wasn’t for awhile?) before developing a jangle pop sound that was uniquely their own. And perhaps (because of reverb and echo vocals and such) this “second sound” nodded towards what was to come, but aside from the title track, there is absolutely nothing (and I’m open for arguments here) on Three Imaginary Boys that would truly clue anyone for what came next: the quiet haunts of 17 Seconds, the bleak trances of Faith, the outright rage of Pornography. And, to continue my tangent here, that’s the beauty and the misunderstanding of the Cure. Because after the one-off single Charlotte Sometimes, they would abandon that outright doom and gloom (aka goth) sound for a slew of singles that, while perhaps a bit dark in tone, especially on the b-sides, were decidedly more bouncy, upbeat and downright danceable. In other words, the Cure are chameleons. They may have a signature feel, but not a signature sound. You follow me here? And though sometimes their forays into lounge or indie rock work and sometimes not so much, the point here, which is not the point of this entry really, but why not…is that they in a lot of ways represent the entire embodiment and point of music, by dabbling and experimenting and therefore creating something that is completely different and often enjoyable.

And, to come back into focus here, that’s what was done with their slew of three albums in the early 80s, with my personal favorite and the crowning achievement of the lot being Faith. They started with what they had, instruments and a desire to make something that wasn’t and as a result made something that not only is, but has been for nearly thirty years, where the influence is obvious in bands like Low and Codeine. Not to mention a slew of goth’s subgenres like industrial and emo.

Today the Cure (FINALLY) released their long anticipated 13th album 4:13 Dream, and I don’t expect it to be anything like Faith (and I haven’t found out yet thanks to stupid Amazon), nor do I want it to be. That moment has passed, those demons have been dealt with. Faith is an album of youth at odds with the state of things, and mostly itself. Age doesn’t necessarily bring hope or wisdom, but it brings the realization that things can be dealt with, that most anyone can cope. Though it’s still fun to rant and reminisce.

Faith was remastered and reissued in 2005 with a bonus disc of rarities. A lot of it is pretty great stuff, but only if you’re already a fan of the album. So instead pick up the single disc version and have yourself a good cry.

And here’s Primary…

And the video for Other Voices… (Isn’t Robert dreamy???)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Blank Again

This is more than just a state of mind… As I promised/suspected, this blog endeavor has come off to a slow start. And part of that has to do with time availability and part of that has to do with exactly which album to choose on my inaugural review (a term I use very loosely). Again, this is supposed to (mainly) be a blog about albums that have meant something to me over the years and that the average Joe and Flo aren’t necessarily listening to. Not that it’s all about overly obscure music, but mainly lost and/or forgotten releases that have withstood the test of time but not memory.

And so, based on the little comment exchange between Josh and myself on my first entry, I’ve kept coming back to Ride’s 1992/sophomore effort “Going Blank Again.” For those of you who don’t know, Ride was part of the “shoegaze” movement, a “genre” of music and, yet another, branch of Brit Pop. It was coined by the British music press in the late 80s/early 90s as a way to describe the stage presence of the bands more than any pervasive sound, style or desire to be grouped in with said genre. Other standout examples of shoegaze would be Slowdive, Chapterhouse and My Bloody Valentine. (

On Ride’s early singles and debut album (the chaotic yet beautiful “Nowhere”), I’d lump them in with the shoegaze “sound.” But here, on “Going Blank Again,” (GBA) Ride began to branch out a bit and embrace, if ever so slightly, their influences as far as structure and execution go (more on that later). Gone are the hectic, ramshackle drums and the meandering, brittle guitar runs that made “Nowhere” sound like most of the songs would collapse in upon themselves at any moment (not that there’s anything wrong with that). On GBA, the delicacy of “Nowhere” has been replaced by a rush of urgency (as opposed to a gentle wave), accented by chunky hooks, straightforward beats and catchy choruses, making the album an immediate, whimsical and absolutely fulfilling piece of pop gold. And while, depending on my mood, I may prefer the sentimental weavings of “Nowhere,” it (for the most part) can’t provide the one-two punch and instant gratification of GBA.

Not that there’s a lack of emotion here. Critics, even those who are favorable, have often given Ride a bit of a hard time with their lyrics. And perhaps some of them lack a bit of “weight,” but does that make them any less meaningful? Lines like, “Hit him again, he’s crazy,” from “Not Fazed” may not hold the political/social significance of Dylan or the poetry of Morrissey, but they’re not really supposed to. Ultimately, this is still pop music, and Ride knows this. There’s no message, just the music. Plus, to me these words are cryptic enough that they could mean almost anything or absolutely nothing. Are they phonetics simply providing syllables for a vocal melody to follow, or is there a story behind such a line? Is that story a bunch of early twenty-somethings (the age of these guys when this record was made) being rowdy and rambunctious or some disturbing and violent incident that they witnessed or even participated in? Either, neither or something else completely -- it doesn’t matter. These lyrics are sung with a sincerity that, to this listener, sells them outright, makes them completely believable and therefore valid. Plus, I’m a big advocate of the song making the meaning. I initially don’t pay much attention to the words. Instead I listen to the song as a whole, looking for subtle drum hits, guitar runs, fuzzes of noise, and if the music is able to strike me on an emotional level (which this album does in so many ways), then the lyrics behind them suddenly become something profound and significant. An example is the epic, shambling (literally) “Cool Your Boots,” a haunting ache of a song seemingly about that age-old theme, unrequited love/love gone wrong. When a line like, “When I’m printed on your wall, my face won’t change at all, the smile beneath my hair, hangs lifeless in the air,” is delivered with such bittersweet melancholy that you can picture the girl (or boy) from your own life who sent such a pang through your heart, you’ve touched on the point and purpose of music, the emotional connection. And it makes the somewhat awkward (for rock and roll) chorus of, “I’m shuffling away, with nothing much to say,” quite poignant.

And really, the important thing about GBA is the music, including the vocal melodies, regardless of what is (or isn’t) being said. The boys in Ride are proficient players, but they’re not show-offs. They know what to do to take a song where it needs to be. From understated and nearly buried leads to bursts of sonic noise, each note, thud and “oooh” is delivered in a casual, seemingly random way, yet everything falls into place as if completely planned. It’s obvious from the slow build of opener “Leave Them All Behind” that they’re here to make their music and not prove any individual prowess in the process. The proof is in the songs, in the way the band meshes together to form a sound that is their own and yet nods back to previous heroes. With GBA, they took the fuzz and the jangle of their current times, now nearly twenty years ago, and evoked the spirit of the times as many years back and more, the true spark of rock and roll.

Unfortunately it was after this slice of brilliance that Ride lost me. With their next (and final) two albums, they dove headlong into nostalgia, into 60s British Invasion (for us here in the US), all but mimicking the sounds of three decades previous and going so far as to cover The Creation’s “How Does It Feel to Feel?” (almost verbatim). And, to me, all of this was much to the detriment of the band, weakening their initial sound and purpose. Many folks would (and have) argued that “Carnival of Light” is a logical progression and excellent third album based on what GBA does in its last few tracks (which are, ironically, pretty much my favorite on the album, though for reasons other than where they headed next). And, outside of a couple stray tracks, pretty much everyone was disappointed in the band breaker “Tarantula,” the album that came out just as I was beginning to hear about these guys. Alas, always late for the party.

But it’s up to you, the listener, to explore and decide for yourself.

And, having said that, it makes sense that the band should push forward (while looking back), as I’ve always associated this album with movement and travel. Not so much because of the words/music itself (though admittedly over half the songs like, “Time Machine,” “Chrome Waves,” “Mouse Trap,” “OX4” and the aforementioned “Leave Them All Behind” and “Cool Your Boots,” suggest some semblance of another place or getting from here to there), but because when I first began really listening to this album, when I was right around the same age as they were when they made it, I was working as a courier in a law firm and spent a lot of time driving around town, and this album was one of the top three to always find it’s way in the (at the time) tape deck. This then merged into a trend and later ritual of always listening to it on my to Panama City to see my folks, especially when driving alone, with the stereo at full blast and the seamless flow of the songs propelling me to my destination. And isn’t it quite fitting, for me anyway, that the closing words of the entire album are, “I’m going home….” Yes, I thought so as well.

Now, for your listening, viewing and browsing pleasure…

A BBC session version of the album track “Not Fazed.”

The video for the album single “Twisterella.”

And of course a link to purchase the album. I’ll suggest the 2001 reissue with the excellent b-sides including, oddly enough, the title track and the mesmerizing “Howard Hughes.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What it's all about...

Sometimes I’ll aim my friend Josh and say, “For $400 million, guess what I’m listening to right now.” He’ll do the same. When one or the other gets it wrong, we’ll give hints (e.g. This band had an arcade game based on them.), but that brings down the prize money considerably. It’s silly and (maybe) ultimately pointless, but it gets us through a slow work day, and sometimes it reminds one or the other of some band or album that we loved a decade ago yet because of the fickleness of human nature, have let fall into obscurity ‘cos the new Interpol is just so amazing that you forget they got a good 2/3s of their sound from the Chameleons. Oh yes they did!

So, I’ve toyed around with the idea of some sort of album blog/review site for awhile now. And having said that, I’m really not sure what I’ll do with this if much of anything at all. I think I can say for now that it will not be a review space for the new album by _________ as there are plenty of places for that. I think for me it stems from listening to an album that I’ve owned and loved for years and expressing why it has withstood the test of time when others have just sat the shelf. Having said that, if the new __________ comes out and I just love it and I have to get it out there, I might say a bit, but I could just as easily retract said thoughts a few months or years down the line. Some music I believe is for the moment, and some music is for the long haul. I want the majority of these posts to be about the long haul.

Also, the idea here is to introduce, remind or confirm to readers (assuming there are any) that these albums are out there. Comments and thoughts and perspectives are always welcome. I may not agree with them, but if they’re respectful I’ll treat them as such.

And having said that, this space won’t necessarily be limited to just me rambling about some album or other, there will be other things music related, maybe even non music related. I'm a big fan of lists too. Again, I’m just feeling it out, seeing if I like this medium or not. Also, I don't know how often I'll post, maybe daily, but I doubt it. I'd say randomly at best, or whenever I'm moved by the spirit to talk about an album or something.

Honestly, I have no idea if I can write much on any album without saying “the singing is really pretty” or “the guitar really rocks” over and over again. I imagine these posts will be more nostalgic than critical, but that’s ok too, ‘cos to me music is supposed to speak about life, the good and the not so good; and let’s face it, the not so good generally makes for a better song. So ladies, keep breakin’ those hearts and us boys will do our part as well.