Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Bauhaus:  "Mask"
Reissued Vinyl Album:  (Gift)
Original Release Date:  1981  Beggars Banquet
My Rating:  (5 Stars)

Side One
Hair Of The Dog
The Passion Of Lovers
Of Lillies And Remains
Hollow Hills

Side Two
Kick In The Eye
In Fear Of Fear
Muscle In Plastic
The Man With X-Ray Eyes

   One of the first things I noticed about the album, “Mask,” by Bauhaus was the summary that was written on the inside cover.  It read, “This is for when your sex is full of Voodoo.  This is for when your clothes are imaginary.  This is for when your flesh creeps and never comes back.”   “SOLD!” I thought as I anxiously put the album on my turntable.  Honestly, at the time I doubted this record could live up to such a glowing, (or perhaps in Goth speak it would be glowering,) review.  However, within the first thirty seconds of the opening song I realized I was about to experience something special.  Not only did this intoxicating mix of Goth and Punk fulfill the promise of making my, “flesh creep,” it excited me so much I almost felt like my skin was on fire. 
   In my opinion the above summary’s nod to Voodoo is an accurate description of the music found on, “Mask.”  The whole album possesses a sort of dangerously alluring, “black magic,” vibe that overshadows any weaknesses that may otherwise be present.  Despite the fact that this blogger found herself deeply entranced with these songs, I was able to identify some flaws on the album.  The main one being I didn’t care for the lead singer’s voice.  In fact, I found it to be fairly generic.  While the vocalist was clearly passionate about what he was singing, his voice lacked the type of range I would have liked to hear partnered with these compositions.  To be totally honest I felt that when the lead singer wasn’t actually singing he was at his best.
   An example of this can be found during the magnificent song, “Of Lillies And Remains.”  This piece begins with an artsy spoken word introduction that is paired with staccato percussion and random electric guitar picking.  The lyrics recited in choppy speech state, “To hide from Peter, who has fallen to the old cold stone floor, wheezing and emitting a seemingly endless flow of ectoplastmic goo from ears and mouth.”  Between these obscure lyrics and catchy beats a listener can’t help but feel like doing something crazy like dancing creepily by firelight.  Let me repeat that.  This band inspires one to dance, simply by spoken word.  It’s a confusing but fantastic feat. 
   Of course the next song continues this theme with the title, “Dancing.”  The sounds of this piece create a delightfully out of control feeling through the use of bass lines and abstract horn trills.  At the same time Bauhaus is able to display impressive mastery over their music through the use of mimicry and repetition.  The singer screams, “Dancing on flick knives, Dancing a stiletto groove, Dancing our nine lives away, Dancing in the Louvreoeoeoeoe….” trilling the last word of this phrase much like the horns that accompany him.  It’s subtleties like this that elevate a good band to a great one.
   Some of the most accessible songs on the album include, “The Passion Of Lovers,” and, “In Fear Of Fear.”  During, “The Passion Of Lovers,” a listener is inspired to participate in the, “sing-song,” chorus.  More than once I found myself uttering, “The passion of lovers is for death said she, The passion of lovers is for death.”  All the while this addictive verse is combined with what sounds like low monk chanting.  Of course, Bauhaus is too interesting of a band to leave it at simply that.  Instead they intermix peaceful chants with the sounds of tense guitar jangles.  In the end an intense juxtaposition of serene calm mixed with the disturbed is displayed.  In addition, this feeling of mainstream accessibility continues during the song, “In Fear Of Fear.” The track begins with a Punk rock introduction that would make any stick in the mud want to fist pump along to the strangeness.  Of course, the fact that this is the, “black magic band,” Bauhaus is enough to make a listener a tad paranoid that one’s arm may mysteriously fall off during the process.
   Finally, this blogger found the last song on the album to be the most remarkable.  The title track, “Mask,” possesses a sludgy, almost pulse-like, beat that conjured images of someone trying to painfully crawl up a mountain.  Halfway through the piece this song inconceivably transforms into something seriously beautiful.  I use the word inconceivable because I simply don’t understand how Bauhaus does it.  I guess its just songs like, “Mask,” that prove that this band is definitely into the dark arts and they’re quickly recruiting.    

"The Passion Of Lovers": 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Mind Games"

John Lennon:  “Mind Games”
Reissued Vinyl Album:  (Purchased from
Original Release Date:  1973  Record Plant Studios
My Rating:  (4 Stars)

Side 1
Mind Games
Tight A$
Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)
One Day (At A Time)
Bring On The Lucie (FredaPeeple)
Nutopian International Anthem

Side 2
Out The Blue
Only People
I Know (I Know)
You Are Here
Meat City

   I don’t think it’s false to state many people believe Yoko Ono destroyed The Beatles.  While this accusation may not be entirely untrue, it’s this blogger’s opinion that she perfected the individual, John Lennon.  I’ll freely admit to the fact that I’m not always wild about Lennon singing with The Beatles, but when John sang to Yoko it’s a whole different story.  It’s a story about something more than simply a music legend.  In my opinion, the John Lennon who wrote about Yoko Ono was someone more relatable.  During this period of his career he came across as just a man who obviously loved a woman.  As a result he created some absolutely beautiful music for her. 
   During the album, “Mind Games,” my favorite example of Lennon’s unapologetic devotion to Yoko can be found during the song, “Out Of The Blue.”  This fantastic ballad features a simpatico relationship between not only piano and guitar, but also man and woman.  Lennon passionately breaks into the lyrics, “Every day I thank the Lord and Lady,” emphasizing a rather forward thinking opinion towards gender equality.  Later he continues with an almost primal growl, “All my life’s been a long slow knife  I was born just to get to you  Anyway I survived long enough to make you my wife.”  It’s lyrics like this that make a blogger’s knees go weak.  The song, “Out Of The Blue,” is an example of one of the world’s largest superstars unabashedly stating he lives only for a woman.  At the time John Lennon was a 1970's rock star without machismo!  Instead, he was a man with a modern way of expression.
   Continued future concepts can be found in several songs on the album.  A good example of this is the piece, “Bring On The Lucie.”  This song features the futuristic floaty sounds of guitar mixed with horns.   As a result, Lennon created the perfect euphoric composition to compliment yet another one of his peace anthems.  In addition, more contemporary sounds can be found during the song, “One Day At A Time,” where dreamy vocals lull a listener into John and Yoko’s seemingly Utopian love affair.  While this blogger will admit that some of this pair's combined work can come off as pretentious, it’s my opinion that the songs featured on the album, “Mind Games,” does this while still encouraging a listener to, “Come and be pompous with us.”
   Of course, no other piece on the album makes me want to join the John and Yoko, "commune," more than the title track, “Mind Games.”  I have to admit that it places at least in my personal Top 50 songs ever.  I love the music’s’ mantra sound.  I also adore the drippy idealism of the lyrics. However, mostly I admire the conviction John Lennon displayed towards the topics of love and peace.  He sang, “Love is the answer and you know that for sure.” A person hears this and walks away thinking, “Damn it, he’s right!  How can it be so simple?” 
   Of course after the album, “Mind Games,” is done playing reality returns to a listener.  “The answer,” is not so simple.  Even for a huge star like John Lennon things obviously did not go perfect.  However, while listening to this record of love and peace this blogger can’t help but get caught up in its’ promises.  While I'm admittedly not an expert in the actual history of John Lennon, I do know that he composed stunning songs that displayed extreme humility when it came to the topic of love.  This is something even modern day male performers rarely do.  In addition, Lennon focused a lot of these forward thinking tendencies toward the concept of peace.  He sang, “I want you to make love not war  I know you’ve heard it before.”  I want to answer him by stating, “Yeah, I’ve heard it before but I’ve never wanted to believe it so bad.”