Monday, December 10, 2018

Musical Monday - Another One Bites the Dust by Queen


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: October 4, 1980 through October 18, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: October 4, 1980 through October 25, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

I recently saw someone make the claim that the bass line from Fleetwood Mac's song The Chain is the most recognizable bass line in rock history. I think that is debatable, and I offer the bass line from this song as a competing alternative for the title of most recognizable bass line in rock history. After all, the bass line in The Chain doesn't really get going until deep into the song, whereas the bass line in Another One Bites the Dust smacks the listener in the face at the very outset of the song and never lets up. In many ways, the bass line in Another One Bites the Dust is the song, which makes sense given that the song was written by Queen's bassist John Deacon.

Bohemian Rhapsody is generally regarded as Queen's musical masterpiece, and rightly so, but Another One Bites the Dust is, I think, the band's most notable song. It isn't the most definitely "Queen" song, as it is kind of out of the ordinary for the band, but I think it is at or near the top of the list of responses one would get if you asked a bunch of people to name a Queen song. I might be biased in this regard, as Another One Bites the Dust was the first Queen song that I recognized as actually being a Queen song. I may have heard other Queen songs prior to the moment I identified this song with the band, but I didn't mentally connect them with Queen. On the other hand, Another One Bites the Dust was Queen's most commercially successful song, so I think my assertion concerning its place in the Queen canon is supportable.

Oddly, despite it being so prominent in their repertoire, this is probably one of the most "unQueen" songs that the band ever released as a single. Queen was prone to lavish, over-the-top songs, full of big sweeping drama like Bohemian Rhapsody, or Somebody to Love, or goofy, silly songs like Bicycle or Flash. Another One Bites the Dust is stripped down - it consists of little more than the bass line, a very dry drum beat, and Freddie Mercury snapping out lyrics in an almost clipped and staccato manner. The sharp contrast between this song and the rest of Queen's career output is almost breathtaking, and yet, Another One Bites the Dust is brilliant and somehow immediately recognizable as being Queen. Perhaps it is a testament to the greatness of Queen that this is so.

Previous Musical Monday: Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police
Subsequent Musical Monday: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Queen     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Book Blogger Hop December 7th - December 13th: Vasili Grigorievich Zaitsev Served with the 284th Rifle Division in the Battle of Stalingrad


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you tend to visit the same blogs each week but also try to look for new blogs?

I have a handful of blogs that I tend to visit, although it probably isn't as regularly as each week. I would like to explore and visit more blogs, but the hard truth is that I barely have enough time to post things on this blog, let alone spend time perusing through a bunch of blogs looking for something new. I really wish I had the time to be able to spend more time looking through blogs, but I just don't, and given that I just moved (and as a result, am currently living in a forest of boxes and likely will be for the next several months), my personal time crunch has only gotten worse and won't get better for a while.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, December 3, 2018

Musical Monday - Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 27, 1980 through October 18, 1980.

The Police make their first appearance at the top of the charts in the 1980s with a skeevy song about an affair between a teacher and his teenage student. Even that description kind of sells the skeeviness of the song short, because the lyrics lay the blame for the affair upon the teenager's infatuation with the teacher, essentially shifting the responsibility away from the adult and onto the child. This was not the last time that the Police topped the charts with a song that had creepy lyrics, which I didn't really think about at the time, but kind of makes the band seem kind of skeevy in retrospect.

I want to be clear, this song was kind of skeevy at the time it was released, and has only become more so as time has gone by and incidents of inappropriate relationships between teachers and underage students have peppered the news. The only real difference was that in the 1980s you could get away with doing a kind of "wink, wink, nudge nudge" excuse for this sort of material, whereas now this sort of sexual predation is taken more seriously - probably not a seriously as it really should be, but more seriously. This cultural shift is also what has made some classic movies kind of creepy now - the statutory rape storyline in Animal House was once just silly fun, but now seems gross, the rape by deception storyline in Revenge of the Nerds and the rape of an unconscious woman in Sixteen Candles were once seen as almost "romantic", but now seem pretty vile. The world changes, and in this case, I think it has changed for the better.

Previous Musical Monday: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Police     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Book Blogger Hop November 30th - December 6th: The Romans Defeated the Etruscans in the Battle of Lake Vadimo in 283 B.C.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: If you could travel back in time to purchase the first printing of a specific novel, what book would that be?

I think that I would go back in time to be able to get a first printing of The Lord of the Rings, because it is one of the few books I would want that had a first printing that would be reasonably valuable.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 26, 2018

Musical Monday - Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 13, 1980 through September 20, 1980.

To a certain extent, this song kind of encapsulates the early 1980s. It is classified as a disco hit, but it isn't quite sure if it actually is disco. What I really want to talk about is just how ridiculous this video is. Not the song, which is more or less a fairly standard-issue dance tune with a couple of synthesizer flourishes, but rather the performance. Everything from the over the top makeup and feather earring on Kelly Marie to the gold lamé suits the two backing dancers are wearing, to the terrible choreography (including little laser gun motions to accompany the little musical bridge before each chorus), to the terrible silver boots the jumpsuit Kelly is wearing. This doesn't even get to the really awkward attempts to get Kelly into the flow of the video by having her join the dance routine, which only serves to demonstrate that while the dancer on the Kelly's left is a better dancer than the guy on her right, they are both professional dancers and Kelly really, really is not.

As ridiculous as this video is, one can see the kernels of what would become the 1980s contained within it. Whoever came up with the style and tone of the video was clearly trying to put the 1970s behind them, but wasn't sure what to do, so they are kind of groping in the dark, throwing whatever they could think of against the wall to see what might work. Despite the often ludicrous result, you can kind of see the seeds that would germinate into the look associated with some of the signature acts of the 1980s such as Madonna, Toni Basil, and even Annie Lennox. They may not have been directly influenced by Kelly Marie, but at the very least they were probably drawing from the same pool for inspiration.

Previous Musical Monday: Upside Down by Diana Ross
Subsequent Musical Monday: Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Start! by the Jam
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Kelly Marie     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Book Blogger Hop November 23rd - November 29th: 282 Is the Smallest Multidigit Palindrome Sandwiched Between Two Twin Primes


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: You meet an interesting person of the opposite sex at a club. Suddenly, they start acting as if they're a character in a novel you've read, and they are firmly convinced that they ARE that character. First, which character is it, and second, how do you react?

Since most of the books I read are science fiction or fantasy, anyone who starts acting like a character from one of them is likely to seem a little like and oddball. I suppose the most likely candidates would be for someone to behave like Tenar from Ursula K' LeGuin's book Tombs of Atuan, although she spends most of the book believing she is the incarnation of the immortal priestess of the Nameless Ones. Another possibility would be for someone to believe they were Eilonwy from Lloyd Alexander's Book of Three and the rest of the Chronicles of Prydain, although a self-centered princess with a magical glowing golden ball is seems like someone who would come off an something of an odd duck. A third possibility would be for someone to take on the persona of Éowyn from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but a horse-riding shield-maiden who longs for a glorious death in battle would be a little bit out of the ordinary.

I can't say exactly how I would react to someone acting as one of these characters, but given that most of my friends are kind of oddballs already, I don't think someone who thought they were Tenar, Eilonwy, or Éowyn would be all that notable. Any of them would probably end up being good friends with the redhead, and would almost certainly fit right in with our circle of friends.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 19, 2018

Musical Monday - Upside Down by Diana Ross


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: September 6, 1980 through September 24, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: September 13, 1980 through September 27, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

One of the mantras of the early 1980s was "disco is dead", but one really has to question whether this was true or not. Songs like Upside Down seem like they should be called disco songs, but since disco was so disfavored, they weren't. Is this song disco? Is it R&B? Is it some combination of the two? This is certainly a dance song, and it seems to have a disco-ish beat, but no one I know seems to think of it as a "disco" song.

One possible reason for the treatment of this song may simply be that it was recorded by Diana Ross, and she had enough heft to make people overlook that it is a song that probably belongs in a musical genre that was "dead" when it was released. On the other hand, one has to wonder where this song stands in Ross' larger career. She had come to superstardom in the 1960s as part of the Motown group the Supremes, and had broken away to become a top level solo artist in the 1970s. Even though this was one of only six number one hits Ross had as a solo artist, it is well down the list of songs that people are likely to come up with when they think of Ross' career.

This is not to say that Upside Down is an obscure song. If it is brought up, most people (at least in my experience) will recognize it, and many will recognize it as having been performed by Diana Ross, but in a career that had reached the incandescent heights that Ross' had, it is kind of overshadowed. This is compounded by the fact that this song came out in what can only be described as the twilight of Ross' career - she only reached the top of the charts one more time, and to do that she had to pair up with Lionel Ritchie for the duet Endless Love. Further, Ross was being eclipsed by other divas who rose in the late 1970s such as Donna Summer. Ross still had career left before her, but her glory days were in the past, and that seems to have resulted in this song being a little bit overlooked.

Previous Musical Monday: Start! by the Jam
Subsequent Musical Monday: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Diana Ross     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Book Blogger Hop November 16th - November 22nd: 281 Is the Smallest Prime (p) for Which the Decimal Period Length of the Reciprocal Is (p -1)/10


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you take notes about the book you are reading as you read?

The answer is usually yes, but it really depends on the kind of book I am reading. For novels or novellas, I will make some notes as I go, often to keep track of characters and places, especially ones that have names that look similar to other characters and places. Sometimes I will make notes on themes or recurring motifs in a story, but I only do this rarely, as my experience has been that you usually can't really begin to break down a novel until you've finished it.

On the other hand, I take extensive notes when I am reading collections and anthologies. Actually, that's not quite accurate. Really, what I do is write the review of the book as I read it. As I finish each work of short fiction in a compilation like that, I write a review of the story before moving on to the next one. When I finish the entire book, I have an assortment of reviews that I can stitch together into a cohesive whole.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Biased Opinion - I'm Done With Twitter

With the move impending, I've decided this is a good time to make some other changes too. Some big, some little, but all notable to some degree.

I think I am done with Twitter for good.

I've used Twitter a lot over the years. I set up my first account nearly a decade ago. At one point I had three active accounts, each of which I used for different purposes. I racked up more than thirty-three thousand tweets on my main account. I met people, made connections, made friends. I initially met the redhead through a Twitter interaction. As a social networking platform, Twitter is a great idea and showed so much promise in the early years.

Despite this, I have come to the conclusion that Twitter is just not something that should be supported. At the extreme, I think that Twitter may be something that needs to die, or at least be driven extinct by something else. This is not a complaint about the technology, but rather a complaint about the people who run Twitter. The short version is simply this: The guys who run Twitter are way too friendly towards the misogynists, racists, homophobes, transphobes, and even outright Nazis who infest their site.

I've been increasingly uneasy about using Twitter over the last year or so as it became apparent that their system for handling loathsome individuals was not merely to accept that they were present in their user base, but to help defend and protect them as well. I suppose that the first glaringly obvious indication that this was the case was back during the days that GamerGate began, although the fact that Twitter was a refuge for people willing to spew venomous hatred at women was apparent even before then. Even during the darkest hours of GamerGate, there was some hope for Twitter - it was possible to believe that with the evidence of the rampant harassment and abuse that was running through their community highlighted in such glaring clarity, that Twitter would figure out that they needed to clean up their site and make their service a less hostile place.

Unfortunately, this belief was not borne out, or rather it was borne out, but only if you were one of the harassers. Twitter's official policy is that they want to make Twitter a "safe place where people can express their views", but what they really seem to mean is that they want to make Twitter a safe place to be a Nazi. Or a QAnon supporter saying all Democrats need to be in jail because they are running a worldwide child sex ring. Or an advocate for the genocide of people because of their race, or religion, or sexual preferences. Or an advocate for raping women who have opinions online. I know this, because Twitter has repeatedly told me, in response to reports I have sent them of such tweets by others, that these sorts of comments are perfectly fine and do not violate their terms of service.

I have seen tweets asserting that all liberals should be killed because liberals support Planned Parenthood. I have seen tweets asserting generalized violence against transwomen, and threatening specific violence against specific transwomen. I have seen tweets supporting killing all gay people in the United States, and threats of violence made against specific gay people. I have seen anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic comments, including the advocacy of murdering all of the people in those categories. I have seen accounts specifically (and explicitly) created in order to harass and threaten specific people - and I know they were created for such a purpose because the people who made them said that was what they were created for in the profile header of the account. All of these tweets and accounts are, according to Twitter, just fine and don't violate their terms of service.

The really telling element is that Twitter has shown that they can police their site, they just don't choose to do so. In some countries, Twitter is required to block Nazi accounts by law, and so they do. Twitter could ban the Nazis, racists, and misogynists if they wanted to. They know who they are. They just don't want to. Conversely, Twitter has become very diligent at policing the Twitter activity of those who are targeted by Nazis, racists, misogynists, and homophobes. I have seen trans activists suspended for using the completely accurate term "TERF" to refer to trans-exclusionary radical feminists. I've seen accounts banned merely for pointing out that some particular piece of information being passed around the conspiracy theory loving QAnon supporters was actually untrue. I've seen accounts suspended who did nothing but get targeted by right-wing hate mobs. Time and again, Twitter has made it clear that they are on the side of the Nazis.

4Chan has well-deserved reputations as hosting the sewer of the internet. Twitter is rapidly proving that they are a dumpster fire. In addition to the fact that Twitter enforcement has apparently aligned themselves with the worst elements of their user base, there is the fact that Twitter has become one of the primary means of disseminating right-wing conspiracy theory bullshit, which is aided by the extensive network of bot accounts that reside on the site. Just like with the Nazis, Twitter could clean up this aspect of their service, as it is pretty easy to determine what accounts are bots, but they don't, and the reason seems to boil down to money. By allowing the bot accounts to remain, Twitter inflates its user numbers, and consequently inflates their ad revenue and the reports they can provide to investors. According to some measures, approximately fifteen to twenty percent of Twitter accounts are bots and sock-puppets being used to push conspiracy theories like those spouted by QAnon, and Twitter turns a blind eye to this in an effort to make money.

This doesn't even get to issues like the fact that Twitter is used to harass artists like Rian Johnson and Noelle Stevenson over their creations, or the fact that I find myself needing to use blocking services with parameters so broad that I had, at last count, a couple hundred thousand accounts blocked and I still ended up blocking and reporting dozens of accounts every day.

In the end, the only conclusion I can come to is that Twitter is unsalvageable. Yes, reading messages about John Scalzi's crazy burritos and Chuck Wendig's rants about Star Wars has been fun, but the negatives of Twitter have come to outweigh the positives by so much that it isn't worth it to keep using it.

I'm done with Twitter. I don't think I'll miss it.

Biased Opinions    Home

Monday, November 12, 2018

Musical Monday - Start! by the Jam


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of September 6, 1980.

Few things really hammer home how different the U.S. and the U.K. are culturally than the music of the early 1980s. While the U.S. was making soft rock songs like Sailing and Motowned-up disco songs like Upside Down into the top hit in the U.S., the U.K. was following up Bowie's Ashes to Ashes with a Beatles-inspired song by a punk band fronted by a guy who looks like he really wanted to be John Lennon. Both sets of songs have their merits, but it is interesting that the U.S. was far less receptive to punk than the U.K., and far more enthusiastic about highly polished and produced material.

Like most punk bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Jam has an almost garage band feel. This song almost sounds like someone set a tape deck to record during a rehearsal session. The song has a very Beatles-esque feel, which isn't all that surprising since the guitar and bass riffs were more or less lifted from the Beatles song Taxman. This song was the Jam's second number one single in the U.K. I don't think any punk band other than Blondie ever got to number one in the U.S., and Blondie had to do it by essentially abandoning their punk roots and making disco, reggae, and rap songs.

Previous Musical Monday: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent Musical Monday: Upside Down by Diana Ross

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Jam     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Book Blogger Hop November 9th - November 15th: 18 People at a Round Table Can Shake Hands With Each Other in Non-Crossing Ways in 280 Different Ways


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you subscribe to any book subscription boxes?

No.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 5, 2018

Musical Monday - Sailing by Christopher Cross


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: August 30, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: August 30, 1980 through September 6, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

To a certain extent, the last two weeks illustrate one of the major differences between the pop charts in the U.S. and the U.K. While the U.K. had the experimental and quirky David Bowie song Ashes to Ashes at its top, the U.S. had Christopher Cross' kind of milquetoast Sailing in the number one slot. This isn't to say that Sailing isn't a perfectly fine song, but it is a middle of the road soft rock tune that takes pretty much zero chances. It is a polished song, expertly performed, and ably produced with all aspects seemingly geared towards producing a commercially successful piece of music, which makes it pretty much like every other song that Christopher Cross produced in his career.

It is easy to forget what a big deal Christopher Cross was in the early 1980s. He had two number one singles (one of which was this one), five other top twenty hits, and won five Grammy Awards, all within the space of three years. Then, almost as suddenly as he achieved success, Cross all but vanished from the pop music scene. His first two albums peaked at number six and number eleven on the U.S. charts. His third album only made it to number 127. None of his later albums even charted. His last top twenty hit was Think of Laura in 1983. After that, he only has two songs reach the top 100, and the more successful of those only reached as high as number 68. Cross' fall from popularity was so fast, and so complete, that it seems like he kind of got forgotten by a lot of people.

I remember seeing an interview given by Cross in which he asserted that his career was ended by MTV and the rise of the emphasis on visual media over musicianship. There is the possibility that this is true, but on the other hand, it seems to me much more likely that the kind of late Seventies/early Eighties style soft rock he specialized in just got a little too boring for people's tastes, and the musical world left him behind. Note that I am saying this as a person who likes many of Cross' songs like Sailing, I just recognize that he was kind of a one-note act and the act got old.

Previous Musical Monday: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
Subsequent Musical Monday: Start! by the Jam

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Magic by Olivia Newton-John
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Upside Down by Diana Ross

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Christopher Cross     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Book Blogger Hop November 2nd - November 8th: The Conquest of Wu by Jin That Resulted in the Reunification of China Began in 279 A.D.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you do collaborations with brands or other bloggers? Which collaboration was your favorite and why?

No. Everything on this blog is produced solely by (and for the most part for) me. I don't even do blogging tours, mostly because I know I can't keep to a posting schedule. I collaborate on other things, but not on this blog.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Random Thought - Moving

The world moves very slowly, and then suddenly everything becomes very fast.

I am moving.

Not on the internet, in the off-line world.

The redhead and I had wanted to move, but we had a specific area and a specific type of place we wanted to move to, so we waited for something that fit those criteria to become available. We waited for a while.

Last week a condo that fit all of our criteria became available. We looked at it the Monday before last. We made an offer that night. We had a contract by the end of the next day.

And now we are going to move in less than three weeks. This means that over the next couple of weeks I will be doing a lot of planning, packing, and all of the other things one has to do to get ready to purchase property and move into it.

The corollary to this is that I will be spending less time than usual reading and writing. I'm hoping to be able to put up some posts over the next month, but I expect that I will be able to do less than even the modest amount that I've been producing in the last few months.

I don't know if this is a warning, an apology, and explanation, or some combination of all three, but basically I'm saying that for the next month my blog posts are likely to be minimal in number, probably limited in content, and possibly not on the schedule that I would like to keep.

Random Thoughts     Home

Monday, October 29, 2018

Musical Monday - Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: August 23, 1980 through August 30, 1980.

With the release of Ashes to Ashes, David Bowie entered a new phase of his career by hearkening back to the very beginning of his career. After he released Space Oddity, Bowie went on to first become first Ziggy Stardust and then the Thin White Duke, but in 1980 he had moved on from those in favor of a kind of demented harlequin persona singing about the titular character of his first big hit. Somehow Bowie managed to take a song about an astronaut marooned in space who steps out of his capsule to what could only be certain death and come up with a reimagining of the story that is even more nihilistic.

This was the first David Bowie song that I heard that I consciously knew was a David Bowie song. I had probably heard songs like Space Oddity, Fame, Suffragette City, and Changes on the radio before, but I had not specifically connected them to Bowie. This song was presented to me via the music video as a Bowie song, and so my first impression of Bowie was, well this, and my preteen brain was just not ready for it. Now I can see the artistry in the song, but when you've been raised on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doobie Brothers, and the Eagles, this version of Bowie is so out there that it was, at the time, somewhat off-putting. As a result, I didn't listen to any other Bowie until 1983 when he released Let's Dance, Modern Love, and China Girl. Those were the wedge that got me to listen to Bowie's music, and led me back to songs like this one.

Previous Musical Monday: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band
Subsequent Musical Monday: Sailing by Christopher Cross

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: The Winner Takes It All by ABBA
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Start! by the Jam

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

David Bowie     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Book Blogger Hop Halloween Edition! - October 26th - November 1st: Pyrrhus Intervened in a Conflict Between Carthage and Syracuse in 278 B.C. and Ended Up the King of Syracuse

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Recommend one horror novel for non-horror readers.

This is kind of difficult for me, because I don't really read that many horror novels and most of the ones I have are ones that I probably wouldn't recommend to someone. I read Orson Scott Card's Lost Boys, for example, but I'm not really sure if I would recommend it to someone. Its not a bad book, but it isn't all that good either and it is filled with Card's idiosyncratic asides concerning Mormonism that kind of weigh the book down.

There are some books that I have read that I am not entirely sure are horror. As an example, is Passage by Connie Willis a horror novel? It is about a person researching near death experiences and there is a murder, but it doesn't really seem to be "horror".

The only true horror novel that I have read that I could really recommend is Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Alien, although I do so with some caveats. The novel scared the bejesus out of me when I read it, but there are some qualifiers that need to be made. First, I read the novel when I was thirteen, and haven't read it again since. Second, when I read the novel, I was away from home and recovering from surgery on my hand, so I may not have been feeling all that safe and secure to begin with, and that probably affected my perception of the story.

That said, I'll still go with Alien as my horror novel recommendation.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: 277 Is a Super-Prime

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, October 22, 2018

Musical Monday - Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of August 23, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

It is an oft repeated mantra that disco died in the late 1970s. I've repeated it here a couple of times. The trouble is that this is not entirely accurate. Disco didn't so much die as it evolved enough that people could still enjoy the music without the negative association with the disco era. Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band is part of that evolution. Some of it sounds like a track that could have been released in 1977, but it is not quite a disco song. The fingerprints are there - you can hear the influence of disco-era hits like Le Freak by Chic and Car Wash by Rose Royce. Going the other direction, one can hear elements from this song that inspired later 1980s dance hits such as Shannon's Let the Music Play and even Madonna's Get Into the Groove.

One moderately interesting thing about this song is its length - at nearly seven and a half minutes, it is clear that this track was intended for use in dance clubs and not for airplay. There was a shorter version that was released as a single that is only about three and a half minutes long and was intended to be used on the radio, but it seems to have all but vanished without a trace.

Previous Musical Monday: The Winner Takes It All by ABBA
Subsequent Musical Monday: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Magic by Olivia Newton-John
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

S.O.S. Band     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Book Blogger Hop Halloween Edition! - October 19th - October 25th: 277 Is a Super-Prime

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: If you were to dress up as a literary figure {author or character} for Halloween, who would it be?

This question poses something of a conundrum for me, as several of the roles I would want to dress up as are ones for which I simply no longer have the figure to pull off. For example, I would love to cosplay Éomer or Faramir, but I'm not really quite dashing enough to realistically portray either of them any more. This problem is further compounded by the fact that unless someone was very familiar with the source material, any costume emulating them would kind of look like a generic knight, which would result in the dress up losing its intended effect. I could possibly pose as an older character - the older Ged from The Farthest Shore, for example - but given that he's pretty much just an old wizard that would probably come off as kind of generic as well.

The kind of generic nature of most of the potential costumes is a persistent problem, mostly because many of the characters that I would want to dress up as are kind of nondescript. For example, I love Andre Norton's books, so a protagonist from one of those might be an option, but most of them are guys like Murdoc Jern or ordinary looking people dressed in pretty ordinary clothes. I suppose I could paint myself green and carry a sword like Naill Renfro from Judgment on Janus and Victory on Janus, or possibly dress like the alien wolf-like creature krip Vorland is transformed into in Moon of 3 Rings, but those references seem like they will be lost on most people. The same holds true for characters from Ursula K. le Guin's stories - I doubt anyone would recognize a costume intended to be Shevek or Genly Ai.

I suppose that I could dress up as Paul Atredies - a stillsuit costume would be pretty distinctive, although getting the blue on blue eyes might be difficult. Dressing up as Leto II Atredies would probably be more dramatic (and distinctive), but I don't know where one would get a giant sandworm costume.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Random Thought - Unexpected Lives

The following is a mostly faithful recreation of the speech I gave at my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration on October 13th, 2018:

Fifty years ago, they were a small town boy from Indiana and a small town girl from Illinois.

I don't think they expected to be getting married at eighteen.

I don't think they expected to be parents at nineteen.

When they got married, I think they expected that my father would become a history professor and they would live in some sleepy college town where he would wear tweed jackets with patches on the elbows and smoked a pipe while grading papers. That plan didn't work out.

I don't think my mother expected that her studies would be disrupted the way they were. I can still remember being taken with her to classes at Parkland Community College as she tried to keep pursuing her education.

I don't think they expected to move to Washington D.C., packing their two children and everything they owned into an orange Datsun station wagon to move to the crappiest, roach-infested apartment in Arlington.

I don't think they ever expected to move overseas, or find themselves living in Africa.

I'm pretty certain they never expected to be changing the tire of a van as a pride of lions looked on.

I don't think they ever saw themselves stopping to help some members of the Chinese Peace Corps when their car had broken down, and because my father spoke no Chinese and the Peace Corps volunteers spoke no English, they communicated entirely in Swahili, which was their only common language.

I don't think my mother ever expected to be the Queen of Aerobics in Kinshasa.

I don't think they ever expected to send one of their children to a boarding school on a different continent from the one they were on.

I don't think they ever expected to be driving away while I stood on the steps of the school and waved.

But if they had not been willing to embrace the unexpected, if they had not been willing to accept what came they would have missed so much.

They would have missed seeing a cheetah in the wild.

They would have missed climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

They would have missed swimming in the Indian Ocean at Bahari Beach.

My mother would have missed going shopping with Jackie Hassan when Jackie forgot which stores her family owned.

They would have missed seeing castles on the Rhine.

They would have missed the tall ships festival in Amsterdam and eating ice cream in the cold, because ice cream is hard to come by in Africa and we wanted some despite the freezing temperatures.

They would have missed seeing David in Florence.

They would have missed going to the Acropolis. They also would have missed losing all my Lego on that same trip. I'm still a little bitter about that.

At every turn my parents embraced the unexpected. They took the curveballs life threw at them in stride. They didn't get the life they expected. In the end, the life they did get was so much better than that.

Random Thoughts     Home

Monday, October 15, 2018

Musical Monday - The Winner Takes It All by ABBA


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: August 9, 1980 through August 16, 1980.

The Winner Takes It All was written by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The lead vocal was sung by Agnetha Fältskog. The song is about the aftermath of a divorce, with the singer ruefully commenting upon how her relationship broke down and wallowing in the bittersweet memories of the past. Despite the fact that Ulvaeus and Fältskog divorced in 1980, they both maintain that this song is not actually about their divorce, but is entirely fictional. Needless to say, there are many people who simply do not believe them. It doesn't really matter, as this song remains a masterful piece of work about the disintegration of a relationship whether it is based upon a real divorce or not.

The melancholy tone of the song also reflects the waning of ABBA as a group. They would continue as a going concern until 1982, when they would make their final performance as a group, but by 1980 their glory days were mostly behind them. Sure, they reached number one in the U.K. with this song, and would do so once more later in 1980 with Super Trouper, but their halcyon era was coming to a close. Though they might not have been in the twilight of the band, they were definitely in the late afternoon.

Previous Musical Monday: Magic by Olivia Newton-John
Subsequent Musical Monday: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Use It Up and Wear It Out by Odyssey
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

ABBA     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book Blogger Hop Halloween Edition! - October 12th - October 18th: The Longest Boxing Match in History Lasted for 276 Rounds

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: You are suddenly transported into a future time in which (horrors!) books are unknown. How would you explain books, and how wonderful they are, to the people of that time?

Is writing still known? Because if writing is still known, I think that books would be relatively easy to explain - something containing a lot of writing that usually has either a story or stories in it or contains explanations of factual information. This definition relies upon other concepts like "stories", "writing", and "information", and if those concepts have also been lost, then we will have to back up further and start with those. On the other hand, if humanity has lost the concept of what a "story" is, then they may be so far removed from what we regard as "human" that books would end up being impossible to explain. Anything short of that sort of disconnect would probably be possible to overcome.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: Hamilcar Barca Was Born in 275 B.C.
Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: 277 Is a Super-Prime

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, October 8, 2018

Musical Monday - Magic by Olivia Newton John


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: August 2, 1980 through August 23, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: August 2, 1980 through August 16, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Magic was the second chart-topping single from the Xanadu soundtrack, although this one topped the two U.S.-based charts and the other one - the title track to the movie - only topped the charts in the U.K. This is also the second time that Olivia Newton John has appeared on the 1980s Project, although it will not be the last.

Looking back, it seems like the 1980s were defined by artists like Michael Jackson, U2, and Madonna, but in the first couple of years, Olivia Newton John was a dominant force in pop music. To a certain extent, her persona projected here, with the white fringed romper and cowboy boots coupled with her nigh-ethereal floating hair, is what Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were reacting against. One can make the argument that Olivia Newton John reacted against this persona herself later.

But in 1980, this was Olivia Newton John in all her glory, and her star power was such that she was able to take a fairly mediocre song from the soundtrack of a terrible movie and drive it all the way to the top of the U.S. pop charts and keep it there for three weeks.

Previous Musical Monday: Use It Up and Wear It Out by Odyssey
Subsequent Musical Monday: The Winner Takes It All by ABBA

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Its Still Rock and Roll to Me by Billy Joel
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Its Still Rock and Roll to Me by Billy Joel
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Olivia Newton-John     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Book Blogger Hop Halloween Edition! October 5th - October 11th: Hamilcar Barca Was Born in 275 B.C.

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: It's getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer -- urban fantasy, or horror, and why?

I don't really read much of either genre, but I've probably read more urban fantasy than horror, so I guess I'll go with that.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review - Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Javier Pulido


Short review: Clint Barton is Hawkeye, and his life seems to mostly consist of trying to help people out with their problems and getting terribly injured as a result.

Haiku
Okay, this looks bad
But its just a normal day
In over my head

Full review: My Life as a Weapon is the first volume in Matt Fraction’s series about Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, a non-super powered super-hero who spends most of his time with the Avengers. The stories presented in this series are about what Hawkeye does when he is not working alongside Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, and it turns out that the answer is mostly “gets in way over his head and gets injured”.

The interesting thing about Barton is that he’s pretty much simply an ordinary person with an extraordinary talent for archery. He isn’t super strong, he isn’t super durable, and he doesn’t have any high-tech equipment to help him out: He is, as is pointed out in the first pages of this volume, just a guy fighting crime with a weapon that dates to the Paleolithic era. The fact that he often stands shoulder-to-shoulder with medically enhanced super soldiers and literal gods while fighting cosmically powerful threats that could destroy all of humanity and doesn’t die in the process is probably the most remarkable aspect of Hawkeye’s existence.

Fraction begins each of the first three parts of this volume with Barton saying to the reader, in what amounts to a voice over narration, “Okay, this looks bad”. Each time Barton follows this up with an admission that the situation doesn’t just look bad, it actually is bad. Each time Barton proceeds to get the crap beat out of him, in some cases almost immediately thereafter, in others he can stave off the inevitable for a bit, but he winds up unconscious at least once in every sections of the story, and twice in two of them. In one incident, Barton ends up severely injured and hospitalized for an extended period of time. The running theme that underlies everything else in this volume is that the human body is simply too fragile for the life that Barton is leading. Despite his somewhat half-hearted protestations otherwise, Barton often gets himself into trouble because he thinks more like Captain America than he would care to admit. Though he often tries to adopt the pose of being indifferent, Barton always gives in to the pleas for help aired by those he comes into contact with, or, as in the case of Pizza Dog, acts to help those who happen to be near him when they are in need. His aid is often accompanied by his complaints, and is always well-meaning, but another theme that runs through this volume is that Barton is just not very good at solving problems. Fortunately, for the most part, the villains in the book aren't really all that much better at planning schemes. Much of the volume involves Barton essentially bumbling his way into foiling schemes formulated by criminals who are, at best, marginally competent themselves.

In the first section, Barton first winds up in the hospital as a result of literally falling off of a building, and upon being released he almost immediately walks into a local mob boss and his "tracksuit Mafia" evicting Barton's neighbors from their apartments when they can't pay the rent he recently tripled. Hawkeye's solution to the problem turns out to be to march down to the illegal gambling den that the mafia boss haunts and try to pay the rent for everyone in the building, and when that fails, try to fight his way through all of the boss's henchmen (which goes about as well as one would expect). This story is intercut with scenes of Barton demanding that a veterinarian treat Pizza Dog after the dog had been hurt very badly by being hit by a car, all the while insisting that Pizza Dog is not his dog. There is a rather obvious parallel drawn in the way the story is framed between Pizza Dog, who is thrown out into traffic by the tracksuit Mafia after it comes to Barton's aid, and Barton himself, and Barton's need to have Pizza Dog survive suggests that Barton knows this. In the end, Barton forces the mafia boss to sell him the building for a rather generous price (although one does have to wonder why Barton has $12.7 million in cash on hand), while the mafia boss protests that he did nothing illegal. In fact, the only person who has done something overtly illegal in this part of the story is actually Barton, but the reader is clearly supposed to side with him, as his illegal acts are in support of a noble cause, while the tracksuit Mafia's perfectly legal actions were intended to make people homeless.

The next section features Kate Bishop, who had once held the title of Hawkeye, as Barton tries to figure out what the warning signs in carney code that have been cropping up across town might mean. Barton figures out who the villains are when he and Bishop attend a gala performance of "Cirque du Nuit", and the story starts to resemble a traditional super-hero story except that Barton leads off by getting knocked out, captured, and then jumping out of a window into a swimming pool. It is up to Bishop to save his bacon, and while Clint rallies late to defeat the ringleader of the band of thieves, this is almost an anti climatic moment following Kate's heroics. Further, Barton manages to screw even this victory up, as he makes some rather powerful enemies in the process. This section further cements the pattern that Fraction's stories about Hawkeye will follow for the most part: Barton stumbles into a sticky situation, maneuvers his way through it by the skin of his teeth, and manages to somehow screw up the win.

The third section follows pretty much this established pattern, with Barton finding himself in a high-speed car chase through the streets of New York after he went out to get some tape and picked up a woman for a quick afternoon fling instead. She, of course, turns out to be on the run, and Barton manages to get knocked out, has to call upon Bishop for assistance, and winds up running through pretty much his entire inventory of gimmick arrows fending off their pursuers. True to form, Barton manages to get knocked out and captured again, and true to form, Kate saves the day. This section features two interesting twists - first, Barton never finds out what his paramour did, why she is on the run, or who exactly is pursuing her, and consequently neither does the reader. This further reinforces the almost bumbling nature of Barton's non-Avengers heroics. Second, Barton manages to unknowingly throw a wrench into his relationship with Bishop, and as usual, his screw-up is the result of his good intentions.

The final section of the main story is a two part piece that is probably the most "super-heroish" of anything in the volume. Barton is whisked away from a rooftop party by S.H.I.E.L.D. and sent to Madripoor with the organizations Amex Black and instructions to recover a videotape in which Barton was filmed committing a political assassination. This story is convoluted, full of twists and turns, with a veritable gallery of nefarious villains cropping up, as well as some unexpected allies. As I noted earlier, this story line adheres most closely to the the traditional "super-hero" style, and yet it is also the least satisfying section of the book. The plot is overly convoluted, and even though the situation ends up more or less where the good guys want it to be, the way they got there is so byzantine and depends on a couple of unexpected and entirely unpredictable developments that one is left wondering what the actual plan was. On the one hand, having no discernable plan seems entirely in character for Barton, but on the other, it seems entirely out of character for S.H.I.E.L.D., especially when one considers just how critically important Agent Hill insists that the mission is to everyone involved all the way up to the President of the United States. leaving this oddness aside, the real flaw in this story line is that Fraction simply doesn't play fair with the reader. The "big reveal" that comes at the end of the story makes several key scenes and conversations that happened earlier into nonsense. In short, Fraction was only able to preserve his surprise by not merely hiding information from the reader, but by having characters have discussions with one another that simply make no sense for them to have.

The final pages of this volume are dedicated to an installment of Young Avengers in which Barton, in his Ronin persona, tests Bishop as she is set to take over the mantle of Hawkeye. For her part, Bishop is dealing with some complicated romantic feelings for fellow Young Avengers Patriot and Speed, and is somewhat distracted throughout the story. To be blunt, this portion of the book is simply not as good as the rest, and even the artwork, which is fairly standard for comic books, feels jarring and out of place after an entire book of Aja and Pulido's almost impressionistic artwork in the main portion of the book. Putting an unrelated story at the end of a graphic novel collecting several issues seems to be a pattern for Marvel, and in my experience the added story always seems to fall short of the main work, and this book is no exception to that rule.

Hawkeye, as a non-super-powered super-hero, is somewhat unique among the Avengers, and this volume is somewhat unique among super-hero stories. Fraction, Aja, and Pulido have taken what could have been a bland and uninteresting character and breathed life into him by emphasizing his very mundane nature, and in the process highlighting what an exceptional individual he is as a result. Fraction is one of the few writers working in comics today whose work I will buy simply based upon his involvement in a project, and this volume is an example of the reason why that is so.

Subsequent book in the series: Hawkeye: Little Hits by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Francesco Francavilla, Steve Lieber, and Jesse Hamm

Matt Fraction     David Aja     Javier Pulido     Book Reviews A-Z     Home

Monday, October 1, 2018

Musical Monday - Use It Up and Wear It Out by Odyssey


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 26, 1980 through August 2, 1980.

As I have noted before, by 1980, disco was dying - at least in the United States. In fact, in the U.S., one might argue that disco was already a corpse by 1980 and everyone was getting ready to start putting the nails in its coffin.

In Europe, and by extension, the U.K., on the other hand, disco would thrive for some time in 1980 and beyond. This is somewhat interesting given that Britain was the home to a couple of music scenes that were fairly extreme reactions to disco, the most prominent of which was punk. Even so, disco lasted far longer as a musical force in the U.K. than it did in the U.S.

That said, this song seems to me to be a pretty good example of both why disco became popular in the first place, and why it had such a relatively short shelf life. Use It Up and Wear It Out is an incredibly danceable song, with a good beat and a driving bass line. It is peppy, happy, and everything anyone would want on the dance floor. It is also incredibly forgettable. There is simply nothing to hold on to when the song is finished. The lyrics are insipid, the beat and bass line are great, but there's nothing else to the song in a musical sense. Almost everything that might have made this song memorable has been stripped away in favor of making for a better groove.

As they were so often wont to say on American Bandstand "Its got a good beat and I can dance to it", but in this case, that's pretty much all there is to the song.

Previous Musical Monday: Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra
Subsequent Musical Monday: Magic by Olivia Newton-John

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: The Winner Takes It All by ABBA

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Odyssey     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home