Thu. May 30th, 2024

Made sure I had some time to listen to Pearl Jam’s Dark Matter today. New PJ is always special, and life is good. First impressions are it’s another very solid album: they never disappoint. That classic Pearl Jam sound is there. They’re not reinventing the wheel, it’s just all about the songs, the melodies and that special X factor every band brings to a project. And this band has enormous X factor. On the last album, Gigaton, Eddie’s lyrics sometimes veered to the explicitly political. He even mentioned Mr Trump a couple times, as I recall. Not so with this one: Eddie’s singing about politics alright, but it’s largely personal, or it sounds personal. He has said the song Wreckage is about Trump ‘playing the victim’. Not sure about that. Anyway, the lyrics are sometimes dark, as you’d expect from the title, but they can also be uplifting. The music seems to have a harsher edge than usual. Maybe Stone Gossard‘s got a new tone he likes for his rhythm guitar; either way, it’s coming through, and not for the faint-hearted. My standout tracks for the moment seem to be what we might call the mid-paced numbers, especially Wreckage, Won’t Tell, and Something Special. I really like the country lope they achieve on this last one. Then there’s Waiting For Stevie, which feels like it might become a crowd favourite. Drummer Matt Cameron really lets loose here, with some whopping fills. I looked it up and apparently Stevie is Stevie Wonder. I was actually hoping it might be Stevie Nicks. The song after Stevie is Running, which has an appropriately speedy drive, a ferocious uptempto tune. I actually lost my place in the lyrics with this one, Eddie was singing so damn fast, and then he tripped me up by returning to an earlier line. For Got To Give he gives us only a portion of his lyric on the album booklet. He’s done this before. Just a portion, because too much would not be good for us. Thanks Ed. Thanks Pearl Jam. Looking forward to playing this a lot. See you at the concert!


Culled some things on the PVR today. There must be at least 50 films and tv shows on there at the moment, not including the Rage music videos. I found I’d doubled up on a number of the films. I sometimes forget what I have on there. One of the doubles was Orson WellesThe Trial. Weirdly, on one of the recordings the station (Channel 31, a community station), had broadcast it in wide screen rather than its normal 3X4 format. This made Orson look even more portly than he was. Obviously that was the recording I erased. Ah, so many films, so little time. I also discovered I still had a bunch of music videos I’d transferred from an external hard drive, the one that has my music video collection on it. Why did I do that? I don’t need them because I can play them direct from the drive. This is what comes from being Swamped by pop culture! Or allowing yourself to be…


So yes, it was Anzac Day today, when we honour our fallen dead in times of war, especially the Gallipoli spirit. Old soldiers and sons and daughters and grandkids of old soldiers march down the main streets of many towns, including the much televised Melbourne march. But it’s usually not Anzac Day if there isn’t some controversy. Like Australia Day, Anzac Day belongs to a certain sensibility, one that says there must be no dissent, no protest on this day that might suggest it is anything other than glorious. Just wave them flags! The false outrage came from people complaining about the Gaza protest at the war memorial today, as if that has nothing to do with war. The soldiers they honoured are sometimes expected to die in wars, civilians are not. Well, the media are calling it a war, instead of the massacre that it is. On a much lighter note, the Collingwood versus Essendon match was a ripper. Collingwood player, Jamie Elliott, made a screamer of a mark. And it was a draw. Although I’m a Collingwood fan, I think the Bombers should have won it.

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