During the last two weeks I re-watched Cowboy Bebop, an award-winning Japanese science fiction anime classic created in 1998. In contrast with a lot of anime, the show is so adult in its themes that only 12 of the 26 episodes were aired when it premiered on TV Tokyo in 1998. The full series wasn’t aired in Japan until the following year on Wowow, a private, premium satellite network.
In 2001 it was the first anime title ever broadcast on Adult Swim, so it was the first experience many Americans had with Japanese anime. Since then, because of its visuals, music, and themes, it has earned international acclaim, both with critics and audiences.
It’s a definite must-see for any fan of anime or science fiction.
These days, with digital music so easily streamed, albums seem not as central to music as they once were. Artists still make them; it’s even possible to buy vinyl versions of some new albums (there are those who still see vinyl as better than digital), but the industry no longer revolves around the idea.
In any event, a conversation topic I’ve enjoyed starting is the question of one’s perfect albums. Which is not to say one’s favorite albums — the two are not necessarily the same. A perfect album is one where you love — love, not just like — every single tune.
Lists differ, of course. The fun is seeing what people have in common.
Little Big Town: (l to r) Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook, & Kimberly Schlapman.
The last few weeks have been astonishing: Minnesota in the news for all the wrong reasons (but change may be coming); the covid19 thing ongoing; our strange politics ever stranger; we’re all going a little nuts. On the other hand, summer is here, so at least the weather has been cool and lovely (though there have been some hot and steamy evenings).
This past week or so, I’ve been mostly basking in my tree trying to figure it all out. Luckily, I’ve had some good music helping me along, and today I thought I’d share (once again) my love for the band Little Big Town.
It was eight years ago that I wrote about how I stumbled over them; they have been favorites of mine ever since.
There are, firstly, the unique sort of jaw-droppers I usually have in mind for Wednesday Wow. Secondly, there are the little, almost hidden, daily wonders with so much behind them. But it occurred to me there is yet another category, one that is both daily and also jaw-dropping.
It has to do with the human mind and the kind of art it can create. It also has to do with how we respond to that art. What is it that an artist puts into their best work, and what is it that we take from it? Whatever it is, profound or mundane, it can touch us deeply.
As with the greatest guitar solo, ever:
Last week I discovered The Highwomen, a musical supergroup comprised of singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires. They are, for the moment, my new favorites, and today I’m going to just turn the stage over to them:
In the last quarter of the 19th century — USA-centrically, call it 139 years ago — we began to experience having the sound of strangers’ voices in our lives, even in our homes. Not just voices, but music from concert halls and clubs. And other sounds, too: the clip-clop of horse feet, the slam of a door, a gun-shot. Less than 100 years go, those sounds went electric, and we never looked back.
At the beginning of the 20th century, we started another love affair — this one with moving images on rectangular screens, a dance of light and shadow, windows to imaginary worlds. Or windows to recorded memories or news of distant places. When sound went electric, those moving images took voice and spoke and sang. No one alive in our society today remembers a time when moving images weren’t woven into our lives.
Here, now, into the 21st century, in an age of streaming video and music, from cloud to your pocket device (with its high-resolution display and built-in video camera), I can’t help but be impressed by how far we’ve come.
A long way, indeed.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom
(Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six)
Commencing countdown, engines on
(Five, Four, Three)
and may God’s love be with you…
(Two, One, Liftoff)
This blog is nearly four years old (I started on July 4th, 2011). This post makes it exactly 500 posts here on Logos Con Carne. To commemorate it, I’m giving myself the 500 Odometer Award (which I built myself from various electrons I had laying around).
As part of the party, this post consists of miscellaneous odds and ends that have intrigued me lately. I’ll leave it to you to decide which are the odds and which are the ends.
Countdown reaches zero; engines start; the duodecad comes to life. We have Christmas Lift Off! (“The partridge is in the tree.” Repeat: “The partridge is in the tree.”) Christmas has launched! Today is the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas. On your mark, get set, go!
Two years ago at this time I was reeling from being Freshly Pressed. To this day no other post has so many readers or comments. (Just another irony in a life where they’re as common as Tribbles.) The final Way-Back links are to Christmas Thoughts and Christmas Afterthoughts (the latter of which has the poem I wrote about being FP — the former is about lefse and lutefisk).
Now here’s some music for Chillaxmas Day…
It’s Christmas Eve Day! When I was growing up the evening consisted of the special family dinner and dessert, a Christmas lesson, opening the presents under the tree, all capped off with a midnight church service. Christmas morning brought stuffed stockings of trinkets and candy, but the Eve was the Big Night.
The Way-Back link is to the 2012 Christmas Eve post when I’d just learned that my Santa: Man or Woman post had been Freshly Pressed. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the poem I wrote to commemorate the discovery.
Now the Christmas Eve musical selections…