You Want It Darker

The 14th and last album from the legendary Leonard Cohen is released on October 21, 2016 … just days before he passes away.

The Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n’ Roll had made many a comment in his last years that he was ready to go. Thus, many of his lyrics deal with God and death but with that classic twist of Leonard Cohen humor. The album went on to win a Grammy for Best Rock Performance for the title track.

“This is the only story now.”

“In my life, I have watched John Kennedy talk on television about missiles in Cuba. I saw Lyndon Johnson look Richard Russell squarely in the eye and and say, ‘And we shall overcome.’ I saw Richard Nixon resign and Gerald Ford tell the Congress that our long national nightmare was over. I saw Jimmy Carter talk about malaise and Ronald Reagan talk about a shining city on a hill. I saw George H.W. Bush deliver the eulogy for the Soviet bloc, and Bill Clinton comfort the survivors of Timothy McVeigh’s madness in Oklahoma City. I saw George W. Bush struggle to make sense of it all on September 11, 2001, and I saw Barack Obama sing “Amazing Grace” in the wounded sanctuary of Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

These were the presidents of my lifetime. These were not perfect men. They were not perfect presidents, god knows. Not one of them was that. But they approached the job, and they took to the podium, with all the gravitas they could muster as appropriate to the job. They tried, at least, to reach for something in the presidency that was beyond their grasp as ordinary human beings. They were not all ennobled by the attempt, but they tried nonetheless.

And comes now this hopeless, vicious buffoon, and the audience of equally hopeless and vicious buffoons who laughed and cheered when he made sport of a woman whose lasting memory of the trauma she suffered is the laughter of the perpetrators. Now he comes, a man swathed in scandal, with no interest beyond what he can put in his pocket and what he can put over on a universe of suckers, and he does something like this while occupying an office that we gave him, and while endowed with a public trust that he dishonors every day he wakes up in the White House.

The scion of a multigenerational criminal enterprise, the parameters of which we are only now beginning to comprehend. A vessel for all the worst elements of the American condition. And a cheap, soulless bully besides. Watch him again, behind the seal of the President of the United States. Isn’t he a funny man? Isn’t what happened to that lady hilarious? Watch the assembled morons cheer. This is the only story now.”

– Charles P. Pierce

Bad As Me

October 21, 2011 ~ Tom Waits releases his 17th album, his first in nearly 7 years. The album raised considerable pre-release anticipation and rumors to the point where Waits would take to social media to “set the record straight” and release the title track digitally on YouTube and iTunes.

The album would go on to earn a Grammy nomination as Best Alternative Music Album.

“A brief candle …”

October 20, 1977 ~ I was sitting in the studio at UW-O’s student radio station, WRST, and picked up Street Survivors, the new album released a few days earlier from Lynyrd Skynyrd. I played That Smell and remember like it was yesterday whispering to myself, “fuuuuuck.”  Half hour later I was reading about the band’s demise outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The band still plays on today but, as is often the case, in name only. The real Lynyrd Skynrd died along with Stevie Gaines, Cassie Gaines and Ronnie Van Zant on October 20, 1977.