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Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #244  (Vol. 5, No. 48)  This edition is for the week of November 22--28, 2004.

Will's Miami Madness, Part 1
 by Will Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
"National Treasure"  by Nolan B. Canova
Creature Feature Database Update....I’ve got “Vertigo”....Marc Almond recovering....Remake Raimi....Gina Vivinetto - New Wave ally
 by Andy Lalino
Ron, The NFL Thanks You And So Do I....How To Dismantle The Music Industry....Travel Survey Results Are In....Gayest Moments In Music
 by Brandon Jones
A Diamond In The Rough
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Happy Turkey Day....Radio Shack and Sandwich Mary....Passing On....And So It Begins....Happy Birthday....Meet The Beatles, Part 44
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Creature Feature/Dr. Paul Bearer Database Update
In case you missed it, the Crea Fea/Dr. Paul Database has had a major update, complete with a brand-spankin’-new animated banner graphic on the Crazed Fanboy homepage by the great one himself (no, not me; I’m talking about Nolan!). (Aw shucks, Andy, I'm speechless! Thanks. --N)

The database completes the classic years of 1976 and 1977. 1977 is interesting, because it was the year “Star Wars” was released, which marked a turning point in genre cinema. I was 10 years old in ’77; the perfect age to see “Star Wars”.

There will be another major update in the next month or so, which will chronicle 1980 - another great genre year.

This update (and the upcoming one) would not have been possible without Dr. Paul Bearer superfan Lonnie Dohlen, a familiar contributor in this little kingdom we call Crazed Fanboy. Lonnie was responsible for the painstaking research regarding all shows/dates/times. Thanks, Lonnie!

A huge thank you to Nolan for hosting the database and providing the great-looking graphics (note the animated homepage banner!). (You're welcome, sir! Happy to do it. ---N) Nolan and I work closely regarding implementation of the database, and he’s quick and knowledgeable regarding any coding mishaps. (Well, I try...---N)

Hope you all enjoy the hard work we all put into this, but it’s something we’ll have forever, or at least until Nolan tires of CF and decides to create a website devoted to collecting Chia Pets. (Ummm.....no. Not bloody likely.--N) Also, look forward to superfan Ed Tucker chiming in with some personal commentary on the database shows very soon!

I’ve got “Vertigo”
Today I picked up U2’s new CD “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”; the (deluxe) edition I bought included DVD video performances of some of the songs. For those big spenders, $28 (sale price this week only at major retailers) buys you the super-deluxe version, which includes a 48-page hardcover booklet.

U2 continues to prove they are not only the greatest rock band in the world, but the greatest band ever. No other group, The Bea-Ules, Rolling Stoned, or even Badfinger can compare to the god-like greatness of the boys from Ireland. I’m proud to say that it’s a New Wave band from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s that went on to do the impossible: weather the decades while remaining a relevant band, sticking together with the original line-up, and writing great songs. Nobody does it better.

Can’t wait to take the CD for a spin. I have to admit, though, I don’t like the title. I’m a big believer in atomic weaponry and feel they’re much under-used in today’s modern warfare. I mean; why build them if we’re not going to use them?!?

Marc Almond recovering
As reported about a month ago, Marc Almond, solo artist and the lead singer of Soft Cell, was in a motorcycle accident in London where he nearly lost his life. Since then, his official website is reporting that Almond is recovering well and should be released from the hospital any day now.

Here at the Oddservations Oddservatory we wish Almond a quick recovery and a speedy return to the studio.

Remake Raimi
As reported on the CF message boards by Drew Reiber (and Yahoo! News), Sam Raimi has announced plans for his movie company, Ghost House Pictures, to remake his classic 1982 horror film “The Evil Dead” for a new, hip, young audience.

I could elaborate, but see how I feel about it on the message boards.

Gina Vivinetto - New Wave ally
During the past couple of weeks, St. Petersburg Times pop music critic Gina Vivinetto has written two excellent articles whose topics include New Wave music: "For R.E.M. Fans, the Thrill is Gone" (11/16/04) and "Time After Time It's the '80s". For those unfamiliar with Gina, she's a true-blue New Wave fanatic, who frequently mentions Duran Duran and Echo and the Bunnymen in her pop music articles, despite the fact that (unfortunately) it's almost 2005 and music has changed plenty since then. Gina has, IMO, done more than most anyone in the area by keeping the great history of New Wave music alive and introducing it to the skull-fulls of mush of today's new generation.

Her article on R.E.M. questioned why the band fell by the wayside, as their friendly competitor U2 leaves them floating in their wake. R.E.M., like some of their New Wave brethren, seemingly chose to go the ambient route (like Japan's David Sylvian, Brian Eno, and to a degree, Depeche Mode), thus producing albums that get little airplay and which fans tend to ignore. Now, I'm not saying that's evil, and I'm sure artistically it's very satisfying, however R.E.M. has always been a band that could rock; in fact their best song was written not that long ago: "The Great Beyond" from the film "Man on the Moon". With that devastatingly good single, they proved they could keep up with U2 in terms of producing songs which rock the house down. To go the ambient route at this point in their career typically means they feel they can't relate to this "O.C." generation.

According to personal and fan references in Vivinetto's article, blame theories include: drummer Bill Berry leaving the group in the '90s, singer Michael Stipe lip-syncing "Losing My Religion", playing large concert venues, and general apathy - not wanting to rock. Guitarist Peter Buck laments, in an oddservation I made above, that R.E.M. "doesn't feel in-sync with today's culture". That may be true, but at least U2 uses their New Wave sound as an asset rather than a liability when confronting today's generation, who inexplicably prefers Britney Spears and Blink 182 to The Cure and Men Without Hats. When you hear a new U2 song, you know that the band is giving you a sound forged in the early '80s, and are not trying to immerse it in phony modern production engineering just to please pimply-faced 15-year-olds. I'd venture to guess kids of today really do dig the yesteryear sound, interpreted in a modern way by a band as great as U2. If R.E.M. were smart, they would have taken the cue and gone the same path as U2, but they chose differently. I'm a big fan of not giving up, and if that's what R.E.M. did, as Peter Buck suggested, then they deserve an analytical article like Gina's.

The more recent article, "Time After Time It's the '80s", describes how current bands seem to be emulating the late '70s/early '80s New Wave synthpop sound. I haven't heard anything from the bands mentioned in the article, like "The Killers" and "Franz Ferdinand", but it does give me a glimmer of hope that new generations may finally start coming around to the fact that New Wave is truly the music to be influenced by.

Her article praises the popularity of '80s-themed nights at local clubs, such as The Castle, complete with a quote by manager Cynthia Williams.

Let's just cross our fingers that youngsters will finally embrace New Wave and kick bubble-gum pop, rap, and scum-grunge out the door. If I could offer some advice to the up-n'-coming synthpop bands out there: put on make-up, please.

R.E.M.: http://www.sptimes.com/2004/11/16/Floridian/For_REM_fans__the_thr.shtml

'80s: http://www.sptimes.com/2004/11/23/Floridian/Time_after_time__it_s.shtml

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.