Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Songs To Cringe/Sing To

On that note (ha ha), I give you one of my most favorite cringe-worthy songs of all time, from the movie Breakin 2:  Electric Boogaloo...  Carol Lynn Motherfuckin Townes (also, Ollie and Jerry are the unsung geniuses of shitty pop music):




Keeping on the shitty AWESOME 80's movie soundtrack song theme, another favorite is Joe Esposito's, "You're The Best, Around".   Focus, power, deliver, balance, make good fight.  It's on repeat whenever I go into a tournament...  And pretty much in my head nonstop.  Also, Daniel gets KICKED IN THE FACE, gets right back up and delivers a side kick right to the ribs.  Enjoy:






There are a lot of good songs on The Karate Kid soundtrack, but I will show some restraint and save my Karate Kid post for another day. This is technically a song from a soundtrack, although not the exact version...  No disrespect to the late great Whitney Houston, but this version of I Will Always Love You was recorded right after Dolly wrote it, so holds a particular poignancy.  That, and Dolly is magic.  (If you're confused, the song was the hit from The Bodyguard soundtrack)




                                         


Queen came out with this song rather late in their career right before they found out Freddie was sick. Along with his groundbreaking performance at Live Aid, it helped to resurrect their careers in America after they were banned from MTV due to a video they made in which all of them wore women's clothing (I Want To Break Free).  In Britain, everyone could tell that it was a sly send-up of a popular television show, however, Americans, being the myopic literal-minded dolts that we are, were offended. I haven't seen Iron Eagle since I was like seven, but this song never gets old (also, it's got balls):


                                   



The Harder They Come.  Of course.  I met someone who had never heard of it the other day and I felt sorry for them.  Reggae is not a genre I know much about, but most things I've heard from Tony Tribe, The Melodians, Peter Tosh, Toots and the Maytals, and most anyone from the 60's and 70's is just so great.  Pressure Drop is pretty par for the course for every shitty ska band in the world, but done correctly is a beautiful thing.  The whole album is just amazing, so light a spliff and enjoy:  (also not cringe-y)



Any self-respecting mobster knows a guy named Gino who's always eating a sandwich and has the keys to the back door of the glitziest club in the city.  This is one of my favorite scenes, and such a great use of this song.  Note:  Does NOT fall under cringe-inducing.




You had to have known this was coming.  I'M A GIRL, DAMNIT, AND BEING A GIRL, I'M ALLOWED, NO, AUTHORIZED TO LOVE DIRTY DANCING.  If you don't know how awesome it is, I pity you.  It is a groundbreaking film about sexual, racial, and class tensions of the 60's that disguises itself as a dance movie.  And the dancing is THAT good that you forget about all the fucked up shit that happens.  That said, I leave this here (drops mic):  


                                            

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Deep Thoughts... by Veronica Handey

Peter was blonde and my age and had an older brother who was a bruiser.  We rode our bikes through sun showers and stomped through pine needles at sunset and played with Transformer action figures in his room when it was too hot outside.  We never had the audacity to kiss, but it didn't matter as we were 10.

One time, I remember his mother called him in from outside.  He did not come back out.  She'd punished him with a belt. He had to lean himself over the living room couch with his brother next to him, and they both took the beatings.  That time it was especially brutal and also he was grounded for a week.  He could not come to the door, he could not go outside.

I needed to know exactly what happened and why...   The ritual of it was what I wanted to extract. How was this time different than the others?  How was it more harsh? How painful was it, exactly?  I played with the idea of asking to see his bruises but didn't dare.  The complete and utter cruelty! How could it happen?  I obsessed over it, thinking at the time it was because he was my friend and I was concerned.

I now know of course that I was titillated.

I don't know what he did to warrant such a beating and don't remember his last name.  I know she was a single mother and a nurse, with two unruly boys on the brink of serious teenage-hood.  It was one summer and I never saw him again because they moved away.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My first PRIDE.

I posted this back in 2012,  after I was on a float in the NYC Pride Parade.  I post it now every year, as it just about says everything I want to say about today, and is especially topical considering the recent SCOTUS ruling.  I hope you like it!

Well, Gay Pride has come and gone. Such a fun time. It seems like you can go to a different party every night, and that it goes on for far longer than is reasonable.

I don't mean to toot my own horn (although it's so easy!), but have been going (off and on) since the 90's. I was a teenager, and not "out". I wasn't sure if I was gay, even though I was experimenting with friends.  I was (and am) lucky enough to have a sister who was a crazy pagan lesbian vegetarian counter-culturalist forward-thinker who took me to Pride and all kinds of festivals where I saw Kim Airs wearing a strap-on and traffic cones on her breasts, amongst other things. It was exquisitely bizarre, and I am so grateful for those glimpses, being brought up in a very constricted environment.

But as I was waiting and waiting for the float I was on to start moving yesterday, I got frustrated. I mean, it took us four damned hours just to get started. Then I began thinking about the first time I went to the parade (when it was technically a "march", which is different). I remember my sister being hesitant about taking me because there was an actual level of danger. It's hard to imagine today, but back then the "march" was an act of protest. It was defiant. We are talking before "Will & Grace", before "Glee", clearly, before "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" went on goddamned fucking Broadway but was a small film your friends told you about that weirdly starred Agent Smith from "The Matrix". The shit was Real. You could get things thrown at you, there were bomb threats, and about 20% of the people there were protesting against it. For all of these reasons, I stopped being frustrated and realized how far everything has come. It's good that the parade is so large and so popular.

When I was a kid, I was spellbound by the freakish levels of abject randomness and how comfortable everyone was with whatever fantastical creature the march welcomed anyone to be. I fell in love with drag queens, and smiled at them with a starry-eyed stalker-like quality which I'm sure was a little scary- but which I still do because I find them absolutely bewitching. I met a man with door knockers in his nipples and scarification all over his chest (who was a banker in his vanilla life, not surprisingly to any of us, but which was to my 16 year old mind). It was probably the first time in my life I felt genuinely afraid and happy at the same time (a feeling a lot of bottoms can relate with). Especially when I saw Dykes on Bikes, who were at the very front. I remember being scared by the sound of the Harleys, and then burst into tears. I'm not sure why. It's silly, really. I mean, their name alone is pretty ridiculous. But I think it was the first time I had seen a powerful group of women en masse wielding machines with utter assuredness. It was an unapologetic expression of female power and toughness, and it overwhelmed me. Now that I think about it, the placement of the biker babes was probably strategic. Not only because motorcycles are unreliable when stopping and starting, but it's a show of force in an otherwise vulnerable seeming population. (Lest we forget drag queens started the Stonewall Riot- which is the reason Pride exists).

Sure, Pride has become very commercialized, it's lost a lot of it's protest "edge", it's too large and clunky, it disturbs traffic, and the sheer defiant excitement of being outrageous in the face of forceful opposition is gone. But while I was looking out into the crowd of people yesterday-- smiling and waving and cheering and dancing- I felt the spirit of freedom of expression and universal concepts of love and acceptance are still at the heart. However you want to be, you can be. With enthusiasm. I'm pretty sure that having the experience of going when I was 16 did something toward assuring me that whatever pansexual, kinky, bizarre feelings I was having were fine, and even a positive thing. And I'm cool with that.


xoxo.




Serving some Pride Clown realness, bitches!

Friday, April 10, 2015

SICK



It is strange to write about someone you didn't know.  Especially someone who you probably know people who he knew, or to admire someone who is dead or someone who is dead and relatively obscure.  It feels like someone else should be writing this, but I don't think anyone IS writing about it, and in the wake of all this 50 Shades FUCK ALL bullshit, Bob Flanagan should be remembered. Someone who took his body to extremes, cut his teeth on the edges of BDSM, elevated it to an art form, and did it twenty years ago.  This, when hardly anyone other than Ava Taurel (someone I've also written about) was coming out of the closet. Flanagan prostrated himself in public without a second thought about what it meant politically or whether it was provocative.  He was just doing what he did, like any great artist.


He was anomalous not only for being the quintessential "supermasochist", but doing it before the age of the internet.  Born with a disease called cystic fibrosis, his childhood was spent being prodded and probed, tied to his bed, and even sealed in a plastic bag.  Flanagan, like a lot of masochists, found a coping mechanism through touching his penis to offset the trauma. (Before we go pathologizing too much, let me say that Bob admitted that his kinks were probably triggered by these experiences, but not necessarily indicative that formative experiences are what makes all kinky people kinky.  It was simply his experience.)  Cystic fibrosis is a disease in which the body does not have a proper mechanism for dispelling mucous, so it collects in the person's lungs.  Most people die when they are in their early 20's or 30's, but Flanagan held on until he was 43.  One of the longest survivors of the disease, he attributed it partly to the endurance he acquired through practicing BDSM.


Someone was kind enough to send me a copy of the documentary, SICK, about his life and art, and I have since read a few of his books.  I highly recommend that documentary, and a short-lived magazine by the name of ReSearch Volume I, which features a lengthy set of interviews with him over a period of a few months. He also wrote The Pain Journal (in which he documents the last stages of his disease up until his last few days), and the Fuck Journal, which recounts every sexual encounter he had with his long time mistress, Sheree Rose.


It is not only admirable that he had the discipline to nail his scrotum to a board or hang himself upside down as a symbolic sort of inverted crucifixion, but that he knew exactly what he was doing and why.  Without being too precious about his "art", he could articulate the reasons and the drive.



From ReSearch:



On the inherent strength in submission:


Bob (referring to a kinky event):  "They put me in stocks and caned me and spanked me and it was pretty intense-- it went on for awhile.  Afterwards, there were guys sitting around naked drinking beer, and one of them said [bass voice], 'Well, he's got more balls than I do!' So there's a certain cockiness to this-- right, I do have more balls than you! There's a certain pride in the fact that you have the guts to live out your fantasies.  In this situation I didn't plan it, I just had to think fast and cooperate."



On SM and the idea that it is related to childhood abuse:


"I've heard that from people into SM, and I've also heard that from people who are completely turned off to SM because they were abused as children.  People process information and experiences differently; someone who's imprinted with nylons and bras when they're a kid may want to dress up in those after they grow up.  People have all sorts of strange imprinting-- I think the bondage aspect of my situation (being a prisoner to other forces) was sexualized so I could survive it.  In order not to be terrified by it, I sexualized it...  


Maybe role-playing as a slave is just a milder, healthier form of having multiple personalities to escape difficulty.  Saying this, I hear a million voices in my head of people who swear that nothing happened in their childhood; they just, in their adult life, heard about this and got involved, like Sheree-- she heard about this scene and it "clicked" in a certain part of her.  She can't rationalize or explain it by any kind of imprinting.  For me it's much deeper."



On religion and pain:


"In Catholicism, torture was considered something beautiful and spiritual:  something to rise above and change your life.  And as kids those influences stuck with us...  we never shirked from torture or pain because of the church.  So it's not a reaction against, it's a reaction to.  The Catholics teach the Stations of the Cross, where whipping and scourges ending up in crucifixion-- death by torture. Jesus always has this great smile on his face and this expression of release when it's all over."



There is also a small interview with Sheree Rose, whom they asked about Bob's art and its relevance to contemporary society:


"Linda Kaufman...  wrote a brilliant piece about Bob's work-- the idea being that violence is part of the human condition, and that everybody gets off on violence in one way or another.  SM has been disparaged and shunted aside as something horrible, but it is a very positive way of channeling those violent impulses... I don't know how SM could evolve toward being socially accepted, but there has to be a way to deal with this violence which is now out of control."



If you are someone who thinks about BDSM as much as I do, none of these statements are especially revelatory, however, they are when you think of them in the context of their time.  Flanagan is in a sense a product of his generation in that not all kink, but masochism in particular, is probably the result of a combination of a genetic misfiring of pain and pleasure receptors coupled with a fair amount of physical pain endured during childhood.  I know I said I didn't want to pathologize, but being a sexual sadist, one of my fears is that masochism as an integral part of one's sexuality (and not just something someone reluctantly agrees to) will become extinct.  No one beats their kids anymore!  I mean, what the FUCK?  Ha ha, just kidding.  Kind of.  No really, I don't condone beating kids.  Unless it becomes socially acceptable again.  No, no, just kidding.


In SICK, they include a few songs Bob wrote regarding the intersection of his predilections and his illness and also a bit about being a SAM (smart-assed masochist) which are hilarious, and also a poem he wrote, called, "Why?"  I've included all of them below because they are just so entertaining and, well, true.  Also, although he liked to write songs, they were not considered his fine art.  You have to go to The New Museum website to see that stuff.



Tee hee:













This is a wonderful demonstration of the playful yet derisive attitude he had toward his illness.  It's a bit difficult to watch because he is fully hooked up to the various machines keeping him alive, but very excellent:  


                          






xoxo.




V

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Freedom Through Discipline PSA: Your Fetish Is Making You A Dumb-ass.


Today I got an inquiry from a novice, which reminded me that even though someone has a fetish that makes them a dangerous fucking idiot, perhaps they are not fully aware they are being a dangerous fucking idiot.  Hence, this exchange:


From "D" (Name has been changed to protect the stupid):



Dear Mistress Veronica,

I wanted to know your availability for a scissor session where you ignore tap outs, and try to make me pass out in them. A lot of women have tried, and they have failed, and I find that kind of session enjoyable, I hope you do as well. I encourage you to please go after the arteries. :P

Sincerely,
D




Isn't it funny he described the women as having "failed"?  Ha ha!  Idiot.  My response:



Hi D,



Your fetish is very dangerous, and frankly, I do not blame the women you sessioned with who "failed".  There is no way of knowing whether someone is passed out or in fact really in need of medical assistance, hence, no sane Domme will want that issue on their conscience (or their dungeon floor).  I suggest you try to satisfy yourself in the lifestyle community and find someone who really cares about you and is willing to go to that extreme.  

Since you are a beginner, it is possible that you are experiencing "sub drop" after your sessions, which is not a function of how well it went, but a cognitive dissonance from what you are imagining your "perfect" session to be and what is actually really consensually available from another person who is not a sociopath.


V


P.S. By "lifestyle community" I mean find an experienced Domme by way of The Eulenspiegel Society or another organization which promotes RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) or SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) play.


Anyway, I'm sure he's a nice enough person/dumb-ass.



xoxo.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hidden Gems and Out There Gems [vintage edition]


"The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved 

with concord of sweet sounds, 

Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; 

The motions of his spirit are dull as night, 

And his affections dark as Erebus. 

Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music."


-Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)


I hate people who quote Shakespeare, but I always liked that one and it's my blog, so go fuck yourself.  I have talked to a lot of people who say they love music, and it's always a funny thing because a lot of the time they mean one or two genres. I think most genres have something that's good (except show tunes, there are no good show tunes so just shut up), and I don't mean to cover all of them here because I don't need to prove it-- especially to you-- but music is a very polarizing topic. I know that if someone likes certain things, I will probably get along with them pretty well, and I'm usually right. Also, liking everything or most things in a certain genre means you're boring and have no perspective.  No genre is wholly great, unless you are referring to before 1975.  All popular music was pretty good before then or at least listenable (So what happened?  Cocaine? An existential malaise born out of the futility of Vietnam?  The demoralization of a public realizing that it's government lies to them?  These are questions that are loftier than the scope of this blog but it is interesting to think about).

Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they like something, it must mean that it's "good".   I like a lot of things that are not considered "good", I just like them and I don't give a shit if that means that my taste is questionable, because you know what?  Anyone who only listens to THE BEST kind of music usually takes themselves too seriously and by default, sucks.  Meaning, there is plenty of so-called "bad" music that is enjoyable.  I am not going to list it on my OKCupid profile (ha!  as if) but who doesn't like a little Hall and Oates? (admit it!)  Or Rapper's Delight?  Sure, we've all heard it a million times, but it is catchy as HELL, and if you can sit straight during it then you should check your pulse.  And I KNOW that you middle-aged white men have a secret place for Journey.  Or Rush!  Not good bands.  Technically, maybe Rush is superior to Journey, but they are trash.  Oh, here's a good one-- Pearl Jam!  They suck, they have one song that they've milked into like ten albums.  All their songs are the same.  Listen again.

POLARIZING!

Anyway, there are way too many things I like to just write one blog about, hence this is the Vintage Edition of Hidden Gems...  Stay tuned for a hip hop edition, a movie soundtrack edition, a ladie's (fuck yeah) edition, and probably more as I think of them.

I know that most of you probably love The Stones and know a lot about them.  I actually got in a debate with a dude in my coffee shop (who's in "a band") who admitted he didn't like them.  He was like, "If I have to listen to Under My Thumb one more time, I'll go nuts,"  and I was like, if you are basing your opinion on the songs that got strong radio play, then you can't really make that statement. Exile on Main Street is one of the best crafted albums ever, but Metamorphosis is also really terrific. This is my favorite song from the album, not surprisingly, written by Stevie Wonder:







(Here is the Stevie version which I actually think is better. Stevie transitioning out of being Little Stevie.)


                                              



Speaking of Stevie, and it is easy to get me started, here is a wonderful, wonderful live performance on a German Bandstand-y type of show from the 70's called Musikladen (also called Beat Club?).  He is fully in control of the band, seamlessly guiding them in and through and around his songs.  My favorite part of the set is when he takes it down and just bursts into a song he wrote for Roberta Flack.  Fast forward to 14:19 (I've never been able to find a version of it anywhere but on Youtube). Of course I recommend that you watch the entire thing, as it is super groovy, holmes. 





Going back to The Stones, another band who is credited as sounding like them but who never got ANY airplay are The Flamin Groovies.  They went through a few hardships and the band members couldn't really agree on a sound (or much else), which may have detracted from their success. Nonetheless, they are still touring and still sound fucking great.  The Stones even admit that their version of Jumpin Jack Flash is superior.  Won over yet?  No?  Listen (make sure you have it turned up to eleven).  You can find their live album Slow Death, on Spotify, which has their version of Jumpin Jack Flash.






Keeping in the same time period, everyone knows Ike and Tina, but THIS.  I wish there was a live version somewhere.


                                            



Oh, so you've heard everything by Otis Redding?  Really?  Okay...


                                             



Anyone who's sessioned with me knows I love to play Prince.  I found this and had to put it here because he changed the lyrics of the girl asking him whether he's gay from, "No, are you?!" to "No, is YO MOMMA?!?"





I put this on Twitter the other day, but I'm putting it here too, because it's fucking great.  And come on, it's Soul Train.


                                       





I think UFO eventually turned into some Tangerine Dream kind of prog rock band, but in the early 70's, they fucking shredded.  Even shirtless.  And yes I said shredded.

                                          





I find The Who to be especially polarizing.  Personally, I don't care for them, but before they reincarnated themselves as The Who(fucking cares) they were The High Numbers- a little mod band who sang a lot of covers of blues numbers in people's basements.  Also, they were awesome. Check it:


                                             




Whenever I talk to someone about this band they're like, oh no, you mean The Faces-- with Rod Stewart-- and I'm like, NO, the Small Faces.  They eventually turned into The Faces though.  The video is edited weird, but you get the idea.



                                            



Finally, Esquerita taught Little Richard to play piano and if you listen to it, a few other things. Allegedly they were lovers for a time and he was also drag queen.  Hands down, one of the most interesting rock personalities that ever existed.  This is a good one:


                                           



xoxox.

                                           

Thursday, March 12, 2015

This is an article I wrote in 2012...

One of my friends had a very short-lived music blog a few years ago, for which I wrote a few pieces. I totally forgot about it until now, when Gil Scott-Heron came on my Pandora. Here you go:


Paying Reparations on Your Soul: Gil Scott-Heron's Legacy Yesterday and Today


There is no societal narrative for when a talented artist becomes a drug addict and lives out much of his life in this fashion.  Hence, people do not know what to do with them.  We pity them, we see them as ravaged, defeated, somehow they lost in life.  In his new work, "I'm New Here", Heron gives a contextual identity to this person.  The poetry of his music has always dealt with a "ghetto pathos", which he embodies emotionally and politically.  Addiction and poverty being the main themes of this pathos, much of Heron's music in the 70's gave gravity to the pervasiveness of these problems, as he spoke about them from a position of experience.  In his new work, this gravity seems to have morphed into a mischievous yet haunted voice of fate and redemption.  Someone who has hit bottom and lets us vicariously peek down the rabbit hole.  It is perhaps not a stretch to say that he has languished in the lifestyle he detests the most, and depending on your perspective, may give more or less gravity to past songs in which he preaches against drugs and alcohol.  It's chilling, especially for anyone who has experienced substance abuse, psychological problems, or problems adjusting to societal expectation. 


A little background for perspective:  In the 60's, when Heron was a teenager, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend a progressive NYC prep school.  He lived with his mother in Hell's Kitchen- the belly of much crime and poverty.  He went on to Lincoln University, the alma mater of Langston Hughes, and was a casual musician until he met a group called The Last Poets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Poets).  They made such an impression, he asked them if he could form a group similar to their own.  At this time, he also met Brian Jackson, who became his musical partner on many subsequent albums.  Heron made a name for himself in 1969 with his brilliantly satirical, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revolution_Will_Not_Be_Televised).  The cadence of his speech and the fact that he talks over music has led some to give Heron the moniker, Godfather of Rap.  A moniker which, according especially to Heron, is incorrect (see Last Poets, above).  Regardless, the poignancy of the piece was resolute in a time when the Civil Rights Movement was taking a more militant approach.  Heron crystallizes beautifully the irrelevance of white culture in all of it's ridiculous frivolity.  It has become an anthem of sorts for the "radical movement" and is still very powerful, even though his references are somewhat dated and obscure.  He is perhaps the most celebrated and sampled artist of the hip hop world.  Recently found addicted to crack and destitute in the slums (those which are left) of Harlem, Heron has been reclaimed and given voice once more by music producer, Richard Russel.


Heron's work as a whole deftly expresses an existential concern for his own mind, which he reflects against the poverty he's seen around him. He has internalized the black struggle and regurgitates it for the listener in all of it's complication and pain.  These are the blues, reconfigured, reimagined, and poignantly resonant even though the majority of his work is over 40 years old. The Bottle (on both Winter In America- his most critically acclaimed album and It's Your World) has it's obvious meaning, but also describes the isolation of living in a place which you created for yourself which you can never escape.  There is a great desire to escape, but the feeling that escape is perhaps impossible.  In Home Is Where The Hatred Is, Heron assumes the listener is someone who has never experienced heroin addiction, and challenges them to learn how difficult it is to simply, "kick it".  He is viscerally self negating, in a way which humanizes him and reflects a psychological rut which is exemplary of ghetto life.  Compare these lyrics to a contemporary, Stevie Wonder, who is a sort of gilded angel, someone who cries, "Why do things have to be this way", from a position of sympathetic detachment. Heron is empathetic, in a way which Stevie cannot be. Heron embodies impoverished existence, Stevie is more diplomatic, knowing in true Motown fashion, where his bread is buttered.  Meaning, Stevie would never suggest that the problems of the African American community might be the result of white privilege or even a self-perpetuated defeatedness, which Heron suggests throughout his work.  




Heron is a poet, and as a poet, he is able to tap into a collective resonance even with the simplest of sentiments.  His new song:  "I'm New Here", echoes his original spoken word style.  It is redemptive and hopeful.  He is "new" in the sense perhaps that he is new to sobriety, new to society, feels back in the world again after so many years of jail and drug addiction.  It's like he's a patient waking from a coma.  He acknowledges, "no matter how far you've gone, you can always turn around."  It is happy, in the video he's smiling, he looks dead-on at the camera.  Challenging people to define him, for people to tell him he is lost or ravaged, or finished.  Scott-Heron believes that spirits control the life trajectory of humans, and are therefore a common character in his work.  In direct contrast to the hopefulness of "I'm New Here", "Your Soul and Mine" is a dream-like descent into the bowels of Hades.  The gravity of his imagery is much heavier than before, as he now has years of experience which have fortified his voice and his ideas. There is a raspiness and an aged dusty quality which is in stark contrast to the vigorous, nuanced croon of his old work.  It's different from his older work, but wonderful.  Just in a different way.


The best songs on the album are the ones which have minimal accompaniment.  "I'm New Here" is simple, employing a catchy acoustic guitar behind his words.  I also really like, "New York Is Killing Me", which is Heron singing above rhythmic clapping you might hear on a playground.  In a world-weary tone he groans, "Buncha doctor's come around, they don't know that New York is killing me.  I need to go home and take it slow down in Jackson, Tennessee."  That said, it is a bit disappointing that the sound surrounding his voice on the song, "Me and The Devil" and "Where Did The Night Go", are marked by an overly precious banality.  Almost every routine hip hop sound and distortion is employed, short of Autotune.  It is clear that the perpetrators of this background fluff are great admirers, but perhaps that is the problem.  It may be a function of fanboy-itis:  When you work with a fellow artist from a position of worship rather than colleague-ship, the results are bound to reflect this imbalance. 


Videos to "I'm New Here" and "Me and The Devil" are also hamfisted in their visual narration- they almost seem like a parody of what Heron is trying to say.  In "I'm New Here", I find myself alternately fascinated by his expressions and put-off by the overly calculated way in which Heron as a subject is treated.  It is supposed to be a document of Gil in the studio, but instead comes off like an Eric Clapton video from 1992.  "Me and The Devil" is quintessentially and hipsterifically soooo "NY" in a way which perhaps on the surface gives him more of a cheesy modern feel.  Regardless, it seems more like Queer Eye for The Straight Guy coming into his home and repainting his walls to match the sofa.  If you can ignore these piddling annoyances, and focus on his voice and the poetry, "I'm New Here" may redeem your soul.  




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiuorrXsngM  - "New York Is Killing Me"


This is my favorite of all (juxtapose it against Livin For The City, which is interesting):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdhoX1Xu6ZI  - "The Bottle" video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSRyf5G2uI8  -  "Livin for the City" video Motown time capsule


The live version of We Almost Lost Detroit from a concert in 1990- 10 years before his jail stint (I like that he gets up at the end and just starts bopping up and down):



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