Dance Song ’97

Pitchfork’s focus on the 20th anniversary of OK Computer a few weeks ago got me thinking: there were a ton of great albums made in 1997.

I came to them late — I’d just moved to Toronto that year and was far from current with this stuff — but once I found them, they took root. These albums pretty heavily in my rotation even today, and would probably all show up on my list of favourite albums of all time.

  • The Dandy Warhols . Come Down
  • Bob Dylan . Time Out Of Mind
  • Mogwai . Young Team
  • Neutral Milk Hotel . In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
  • Sleater-Kinney . Dig Me Out

To say nothing of Spiritualized‘s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, The RheostaticsDouble Live, or Bardo Pond‘s Lapsed. Man. What a year.

Cover photo from Pitchfork

An empowered and informed member of society

While I was in Europe this week Lindsay pointed out to me that, on the 20th anniversary of the album’s release, Pitchfork was dedicating a whole week of articles to Radiohead‘s OK Computer. The content is excellent, from other artists reflecting on the album to art inspired by each song to how the album’s view of technology predicted the current day.

Then there’s “Exit Music (for a Film),” which, four songs in, nearly brings the album to a dead halt, but doesn’t. There must be a thousand lonely bedroom balladeers who’ve tried to play this song and failed, then wondered why. Friends, you’ve been had: “Exit Music” may be still at its center, but only in the way that an astronaut strapped inside a space capsule is still.

It was a huge album for me. I knew and liked (liked, not loved) Radiohead before that, but I remember sitting in my first apartment in Toronto and hearing “Karma Police” on the radio (!) and just sinking into it. Letting it push me around. I was hooked, and it began a deep, fleeting love affair with the band. I’ve been listening to it for the past few days, and it’s just held up so well — maybe even better than Kid A.


Cover photo from Pitchfork.

Upon further reflection

I have edited my ‘50 best songs ever‘ list as follows.


  • Beastie Boys . “Sabotage”
  • Bob Dylan . “House Carpenter”
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor . “Storm”
  • Spiritualized . “Lord Can You Hear Me?”


  • Constantines . “Hyacinth”
  • Bob Dylan . “Desolation Row”
  • Fiery Furnaces . “We Got Back the Plague”
  • Radiohead . “The National Anthem”

I should also point out that a few songs are hanging on by their fingernails and Danger Mouse‘s mashup of “99 Problems” and “Helter Skelter” is waiting impatiently in the wings.

"You let the database go down while masturbating to Mexican donkey porn. Fix it."

I know the language issue in Quebec is contentious, and I’m all for a strong francophone culture, but when the Globe reports on lawyers and priests throwing around sentences like “respect the rights of Quebeckers to be served in French” and suggesting that ‘driving [Quebeckers] away from their traditional religious beliefs will only aggravate social tensions toward other religions and cultures’, it sounds to me like xenophobia and the desire for cultural purity. I doubt these gentlemen are representative of Quebec, but they do have very big soapboxes.

I also find it funny (and by funny, I mean tragic) that Saku Koivu has become the poster child for their criticism. Captain of Montreal’s beloved hockey team, cancer survivor, local philanthropist…insensitive jerk. At least his teammates stuck up for him.


My esteem for Radiohead has dropped a few notches.


Once again, I agree wholeheartedly with the Angry German:

Now, I learned that the proper way to say this is: “I know you are really busy, but I cannot continue my work while the database is inaccessible. If you don’t mind, could you look into the problem and let me know if there is a chance you can rectify it? Sorry to be a bother.” No wonder shit doesn’t get done in time when you have to write a freaking novel for each simple thing.



How wonderfully ironic that justice has fucked the Rev. Fred Phelps directly in the ass.

[tags]quebec, language laws, saku koivu, radiohead, angry german, fred phelps[/tags]

"Jesus Harold Christ on rubber crutches, Bobby!"

Once I finished my paper yesterday I actually had a little free time. Wasn’t quite sure what to do with that. We ended up watching Zodiac (imdb | rotten tomatoes). I really liked it; I have a thing for David Fincher films anyway, but this was really good work. Gripping, creepy, detailed, even funny in parts, and always interesting, despite the 2.5 hour running time. It was amazing how much like the 1960s/70s he made it feel. Highly recommended.


So, it looks like our condo repairs are very nearly done. Today they came in (without telling us) to repair the kitchen floor damaged in the toilet-flooding back in May, so they just have to fix the baseboards they tore up today. Still one or two things left like improperly mounted blinds — but at least we finally have our blinds — but they finally seem to be fixing everything. And all it took was pressure from Tarion: we followed the conciliation process because the condo hadn’t fixed most of the stuff on our 30-day list, which they seemed surprised by. I don’t know if I buy their excuses (“We thought all the problems in your unit had been addressed”; “We sent you a letter to confirm…didn’t you get it?”) but the alternative is that they vindictively blacklisted us because of how embarrassed they were by the gas leak fiasco. Hopefully it’s the former; I prefer to think that people aren’t that sinister.


Here’s an op-ed piece from Mogwai‘s Stuart Braithwaite on Radiohead‘s new business model. Especially delightful are the shots he takes at Madonna near the end.

“The braveness of [Radiohead’s] move was juxtaposed perfectly with the fact that last week Madonna signed her new record deal with Live Nation aka Clear Channel aka the bastards that got George W Bush elected. But since she speaks with a fake upper class English accent and kills animals for fun they frankly deserve each other.”

[tags]zodiac, david fincher, condo repairs, mogwai, radiohead, madonna[/tags]