Sunday, June 6, 2010

Final choice for this round

Looks like Mr. Waits won this round pretty handily. But he's going to have to face either Spiritualized or Bob Dylan in the final four. So, Ladies and Gentlemen vs. Blood on the Tracks...

I'm looking forward to this because a) I think it's going to be close b) they're both great albums c) I forget...

Let's have votes in by Wednesday. I think Sarah or Bruce should write a nice lengthy note on why Blood on the Tracks should win, and someone else (Jeff?) on why Ladies and Gents should take it.

Also, I haven't done points in a while, and that's so that that doesn't really sway any votes. I will do it later. I honestly have no idea how everyone is doing, but I imagine Dwight is making quite a comeback (Mule Variations was his call and he picked Ladies and Gents too).

Have fun!


  1. I doubt you're going to get a long note from either Sarah or me, as we have occasional internet access in places like libraries (now) and welcome centers. Probably either a text or a short note, but we should be able to get something in by Wednesday.

  2. +1 for Ladies & Gentlemen.

    We're talking about "The Best of George Michael" album right? or that Saliva song?... no matter, BotT sleep well will ya.

  3. When it came out, lagwafis was NME's album of the year. Pitchfork gave the re-issue a perfect 10. If hipster douchebags of very different stripes agree, there must be something to it. I get if you don't like noise on this album, but I do think it is a necessary counterpoint to the beautiful moments. You know my vote.

  4. I too am voting for the Ladies and Gents. I think Blood on the Tracks is a fine, fine album, but it's not nearly my favorite Dylan, nor is it free from error. As mentioned many times, Lily et. all is awful and pretty much ruins the album for me. I'm not that crazy about Meet me in the morning either. Sometimes this record just sounds sad, but not in a good way--at it's worst, it reminds me of the washed out re-runs of the Care Bears they would play on Global TV Saturday afternoons. Part of it's the playing--I find it occasionally sounds muzaky in the sad way I just described (look if you don't get my allusion, too bad).

    Ladies and Gents on the other hand...this album didn't make my list, but that doesn't mean this isn't one hell of an album. I chose Let It Come Down instead, which has some serious problems but also has some of my favorite Spiritualized songs. Ladies and Gents may not hit me with the full force it used to, but it's probably their tightest album. If nothing else, just the musicianship should convince you. Hell, if nothing else, just the bass playing convinces me.

    I mean think back to the first time you heard "I Think I'm in Love". If you're jaw didn't drop, there's something wrong with you. And "Electricity" is basically the spirit of rock n'roll distilled into three and a half minutes. Like Jeff said, the noise may not be your thing, but I'm listening to Cop on headphones right now, and I'll say, intentional or not, I'm hearing all kinds of interesting things going on, and it makes the ending that much more sweet.

    Oh, one final note. Almost every one of my favorite albums has horns. I love horns. Ladies and Gents has plenty and uses them so, so well. Blood on the Tracks doesn't have any as far as I can tell. I should have just said that.

  5. this is a perfect example of what sucks about the death match...these are both fine albums, true...but i have to take one down and much like in real sports i find myself wanting to be negative (for example, i hate the celtics is a more normal emotion for me that i love the lakers-does this make sense?)

    with that in mind...


    this album is too long and listening to it in total feels like a burden to's not just the noisy parts but so many of these songs just drag on to me or they take too long to start...yes i think i'm in love is great and come together uses the f word to great affect...ultimately, this is like a really crazy complicated piece of clothing...


    dylan has always hated the studio and thinks of himself primarily as a live performer...he second guesses himself in the studio alot...the live versions of these songs from around this period are consistently better than what made it on blood on the tracks...listen to shelter from the storm from the Hard Rain album...the new york versions of these songs sound much rawer...this album could of been so much better

    blood on the tracks gets my vote primarily due to the truly amazing lily, rosemary, and the jack of hearts...

  6. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts makes me want to gnaw my own head off.
    Also that: Ladies and Gentlemen gets my vote.

  7. lily, rosemary, and the jack of hearts is the music version of masked and anonymous...that's not a great a songwriter as dylan is, he's had some struggles as a storyteller...

  8. @andyw Yes, I was thinking the exact same thing about wanting to be negative, and wanting not to be wanting to be negative. I feel like tearing both of these albums new assholes, but really they're both great.

    Being negative is actually supposed to be one of the fun parts of death matches, but for some reason it was easier to be disrespectful on Movie Death Match. Dunno why.

    (By the way, how come Movie Death Match made it to the semi-finals and then stopped. WTF?

    So just fill in some negative stuff here about both albums. I'm actually encouraged to hear that other people really hate Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts, because I thought it was just me. And I'm also very encouraged to hear that you, andyw, had problems with Masked and Anonymous; I bet they were similar to the problems I had with it. So maybe negativity can be okay if it brings us together a little.

    But it just goes to show that even in negativity we can't be thoroughly united, because although @zwartitude like I said I was happy to hear you dissing a song I didn't like, "Meet Me In The Morning" is actually like my favorite song on BotT, for no better reason than I like the groove. So what can you do?

    I don't think the main negative thing about Spiritualized is the noise. (Has anyone written about this yet?) I think the main thing is the use of religious metaphors/symbols/images. At first I thought combining that language and drug language was really honest and raw and soul-baring and profound . . . but over time I've started feeling it is a bit naive and exploitative and sophomoric. (I'm just getting that from my impressions of the lyrics, perhaps as I change. I don't read band interviews or anything.)

    But that doesn't mean I don't still love Spiritualized. And I think for me Spiritualized is a really good compromise between old and new music, and is much more part of my identity than Dylan. Ladies and Gentlemen gets another vote.

  9. I almost feel guilty here...I vote for Spiritualized on this one, too...I hold BOOT to be the superior album in terms of influence, cultural and historical importance, etc. but, to borrow from a metaphor Jane used a while back, it kind of falls in the category of certain documentaries or lengthy Harper's articles or a lot of jazz: Stuff I sit through to become a more well-rounded person and to expand my depth of cultural reference points, meanwhile wishing I was having more fun (Sorry, Jane, if I misconstrued your idea at all...)...Basically, I mean: If you asked me: Which album would you rather take with you in the car today?, I'd probably pick Ladies and Gents more often than BOOT...

  10. P.S. Somebody had probably better get a hold of the Bruce and the Sarah to get a more well-rounded vote on this one, no??? Bruce could probably smoke signal their picks from Bonnaroo or something...

  11. Karl, here's how negativity can bring us together. For the most part, Spiritualized's lyrics do suck. The best thing I can say about them is that they don't try to hard. It's like when you use the word "baby" in a song--sometimes it's kind of awesome because you're basically admitting that most rock lyrics suck and you can't do any better. Spaceman uses the word "baby" as well as "soul" "fire" "angel" "higher". Karl, you should create some kind of algorithm that creates new Spiritualized lyrics using different combinations of these words: "baby / baby / your soul is like fire / angel /angel/ i wanna take you higher...

  12. @Karl - I agree that Spz lyrics can be pretty weak at times. I Think I'm In Love and Cop Shoot Cop are pretty strong though.

  13. I'm with the Ladies and Gents on this one. Poor Bobby D, all my favorite dylan albums are either eliminated or never were in the tourney in the first place.

  14. i'm totally fine with blood on the tracks biting the dust, but i can't let this thing end without giving props to "idiot wind"...this is one of the most badass break up songs ever...the last verse just kills...go read the lyrics...the singing on this is a great example of why dylan was ranked #7 on rolling stone's best singers one else could sing this without sounding weird and out of's so personal and totally's not about notes or melody, but about phrasing and two cents...

  15. I have to keep this brief because of travelling, but:
    I'm sad to see that our votes will not sway things. I thought we might have either Karl or Jane for a tie, but it seems like maybe Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts had a large part in killing it for both of you.
    As seems to be typical for me, I was totally unaware of all of this album until I heard Tangled Up in Blue performed by The Heart Of Gold Band (anyone? hippie Grand Rapids band?) and I really liked it. I really like just about all of this album. I'm having a hard time thinking what the low point would be. While the sound is maybe a little trite, I actually enjoy Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts. And I second Andy's words on Idiot Wind. It was only today when we stopped at a Wal Mart to buy this on CD (only have it on vinyl) that I finally got the entirety of this song through the last verse (or kind of got it in the way I feel like I can only kind get any Dylan). And You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You go kills me. Almost tears kills me. Buckets of Rain, etc. It's all good in my eyes.
    Spiritualized - Also not so negative on the noise (listened to this one in the car today, too). One of my problems with this album is how thick the first 2/3 of the album is. I just get worn out sonically. I think if the last three or four songs had been smattered about the beginning of the album I would like it better, though it wouldn't work as well thematically. I do like this album, but not as much as Blood on the Tracks. Long live the Jack of Hearts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And now I must go so Sarah can write. That wasn't short.

  16. Part of me says this is where it gets good: when two albums so differently fascinating go head to head. But then, damn. Now I have to say goodbye to Blood on the Tracks.

    I won't say much on Spiritualized, since you all have covered much of what I'd rejoice & complain about on the album.

    One of the reasons I love Blood on the Tracks, and chose it over a whole bunch of other great Dylan albums: it is about the middle of life, where things get messy, dare I say "tangled." It's about facing the disarray. Time Out of Mind, on the other hand, seems an album about nearing an end. But I'm stuck here in the middle, and hopefully will be for a good long while.

    Life is sad
    Life is a bust
    All you can do
    is do what you must
    You do what you must do
    and you do it well

    I love this because it's actually not dark. (In the end, "you do it well.")

    And then here are just a few of the reasons I love Dylan:
    1. He has been able to take the materials of his medium and the history of his genre(s) and make himself an original, and his art fresh, less recognizable, all the while talking to and through rich traditions. I suppose this is what most artist strive for, and Dylan hits the mark quite frequently, and throughout his long career.
    2. I love learning about the line, the lyric, and the rhyme from Dylan, both how they can be played straight and how they can be twisted. I could go on about Dylan and the poetic tricks he has up his sleeve ad nauseum, but aren't I on vacation?

  17. Eric Smith, you construe me just fine.

  18. i re-listened to idiot wind on your recommendation, andyw, and with sarahbj's comments in mind about his use of language, and i admit it's pretty amazing.