Live: Gary Numan and Me Not You – Chicago, IL – November 29, 2017

I hadn’t seen electro / industrial legend Gary Numan live for many years.  His new album, Savage, is getting rave reviews and debuted as high as #2 in the U.K.  His live shows are loud, dazzling, and impressive affairs, and his November 29th show at Chicago’s Thalia Hall was no exception.

Opening for him were the Brooklyn quartet Me Not You, who put on a nice set of shoegaze and synth-rock.  I’d like to hear more of their material.  Unfortunately, I missed part of their set due to getting a phone call from work that I had to take.

Me Not You

Numan and his four-man band came out and immediately kicked down the back wall with a blast of industrial rock on “Ghost Nation” – the lead track from the new record.  Upon hearing it, I immediately thought, “Yeah, I need to get this record.”

“Ghost Nation”

Although he’s not much for nostalgia, Numan delivered a great version of “Metal” right afterwards.  He had the crowd in his hand by this point, and it was only the second song.  Other solid cuts from the new record were “Bed of Thorns,” “Mercy,” “Pray for the Pain You Serve,” “My Name Is Ruin,” and “When the World Comes Apart.”

Gary Numan might be a Green Lantern. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, really.

“Down in the Park,” of course, remains one of the best electro-goth songs ever, and Numan’s path down more industrial roads puts a new spin on a lot of his classic material.  He has the bass brought up on “Cars” to make it almost a metal track, for example.  “Love Hurt Bleed,” from his Splinter album, is a new highlight to his show.  It’s everything Trent Reznor owes Numan in one song.

Perhaps Mr. Numan is actually a herald of Galactus. I’d believe that, too.
“Cars”

He performed “M.E.” and “Are Friends Electric?” for an encore.  Both were stunning, especially “Are Friend Electric?” – which is the greatest song Phillip K. Dick never wrote.

“Are Friends Electric?”

This was easily one of the best performances I’ve seen all year.  The crowd was a fun mix of aging hipsters like yours truly, young industrial fans, old punks, metal heads, and goths.  I know this makes me sound old, but it was great to see people younger than I having a great time at the show.  It ensures me that Numan’s music will continue through new generations of fans.  Don’t miss this tour if it gets close to you.

Thanks to the lucky lady who scored this set list for letting me take a photo of it.

Keep your mind open.

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Jackie Shane – Any Other Way

Imagine what it takes to be a successful musician.  There are many long hours of touring, rehearsing, writing, negotiating, hustling, and branding.  This is hard enough for your Average Joe or Jane, but imagine doing this in the 1960’s when you couldn’t release a single on the Internet and have it heard by millions within moments, pay-for-play was still legal and widely practiced, and record labels held your master recordings in a vise-like grip.  Now imagine doing all of this before the civil rights movement while you’re black in an industry dominated at the top levels by white people.   Now imagine doing this as an openly transgendered woman in the same time period.  Jackie Shane did all of that, and she made it look easy.

Jackie Shane’s Any Other Way is a stunning collection of rare singles and live tracks from perhaps the most remarkable performer you haven’t heard and easily one of the best collections and reissues of 2017.  Ms. Shane burned up stages in Toronto throughout the 1960’s, releasing a handful of singles and recording some amazing performances, before disappearing for nearly half a century (relocating to Nashville to tend to her ill mother and deciding to stay after her passing).

The double album opens with the sizzling “Sticks and Stones,” a burner in which Shane sings about people trying to shame her and bring her down, but she really doesn’t give a damn.  This is a common theme in her catalogue.  Shane lived by her own rules and refused to compromise.  Her vocals are fierce and almost race ahead of the song, but the horn section of the Frank Motley’s Motley Crew band (for which she sang at the time) keeps up with her well.  The title track is a sad song about Shane trying to to convince an ex-lover that she’s happy.  The horn section almost has a Latin flavor to it that sets it apart from other similar tracks of the time period.

“In My Tenement” has horns that belong in a Bond film soundtrack.  “Comin’ Down” has Shane coming down “with a heartache” as her band’s surf guitar and tight drumming back her assured vocals.  Her cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” is fun as a bit emblematic of Shane’s life, who never gave away her skills for free.  “I’ve Really Got the Blues” swings as hard as any Chubby Checker or Fats Domino record ever did.  “Send Me Some Lovin'” has Shane pining for even a photo of her distant lover.  “Walking the Dog” is full of sass and a groove you’ll have in your head all day.  The funky organ on “You Are My Sunshine” brings in a bit of a gospel groove, which is no surprise since Shane has openly spoken on the influence of gospel and spiritual classics on her.  “Stand Up Straight and Tall” is pretty much the theme of Shane’s life.  She lived how she wanted to live and never gave a damn what people thought.  You can’t help but wonder about the possible symbolism of “New Way of Love,” especially since Shane sings it with such fire (and the Motley Crew band slays on it).  “Cruel Cruel World” has Shane calling for someone to love and not needing sympathy from anyone.  It’s a great example of how her vocals could go from soulful ballad to rock wails all in the same song.

That’s just the first disc of this release, by the way.  Disc two is a compilation of rare live cuts (with backing band the Hitchhikers including Frank Motley leading it) that are jaw-dropping at times.  It opens with “High Heel Sneakers” and Shane singing / tearing through an ode to stepping out in high fashion and being ready to kick ass and take names.  Pharrell Williams wishes he could write a groove half as good as the one on “Barefootin’.”

Shane warns that the live version of “Money” is so dangerous that her doctor warned her that performing it could be bad for her heart.  It’s over nine minutes of funk, sass, and defibrillating beats.  The breakdown on it is fabulous as Shane talks about not caring about what others think of her as she smiles on her way to the back.  “I’m going to live while I’m here,” she says.  “I don’t satisfy nobody that’s a square,” she also says at another point.

Other high points among the live tracks are “You’re the One (That I Need),” which features some of Shane’s best torch song vocals, the tight horn section groove and Shane’s heartbroken vocals on “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” her fun cover of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (in which Shane appears to be cheering on an elderly man dancing in the crowd), the version of “Any Other Way” in which she sings, “Tell her that I’m happy.  Be sure to tell her this.  Tell her that I’m gay.” (which Shane claims wasn’t her openly admitting her sexuality, but the symbolism is hard to ignore), and the squawking, jumping “Shotgun” in which Shane advises, “You got to shoot your man before he runs.”

It’s a shame that Jackie Shane wasn’t bigger across the world and for longer a time than she was at her peak.  There are rumors that she might emerge from her self-imposed (and apparently enjoyable) exile in Nashville and return to perform in Toronto, so we can hope to see and hear more of her soon.  In the meantime, get this collection and be stunned by it.

Keep your mind open.

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Live: Goblin and Morricone Youth – Chicago, IL – October 25, 2017

The last time I saw horror / prog-rockers Goblin was in 2013 at Chicago’s Metro during their first tour of the United States.  It was a sold out show and one of the best I saw all year, so I was keen on catching them again on their “Sound of Fear” tour, especially since the lineup included four of the five original members – Massimo Morante, Maurizio Guarini, Fabio Pignaetti, and Agostino Marangolo (along with Aidan Zammit replacing keyboardist and founding member Claudio Simonetti).  They fact that they were playing in Thalia Hall – a former opera house – was a bonus.

Opening for them were the psychedelic / prog rockers Morricone Youth.  My friends and I arrived in time to catch the last two songs of their set.  Both were songs written as an alternate soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead.  The film played behind them as they rocked out and it was a great set-up for both Goblin and the Halloween season.

Goblin came out to a welcoming, albeit smaller than I expected, crowd.  I have no idea why more people weren’t at the show, unless the midweek date had something to do with it.  Regardless, Goblin came ready to play and to terrify.

They played a lot of stuff they didn’t play on their last tour, including tracks from the bizarre giallo film Beyond the Darkness (complete with grisly mortuary scenes playing behind them which might’ve made an intoxicated woman in front of us so woozy that she needed assistance leaving the main floor), another giallo Massimo Morante called Killer on the Train, and the bizarre alien invasion film Contamination.  I had no idea Goblin did the score for Contamination, so now I have extra incentive to track down that film.

Of course, they played tracks from their most famous film scores, starting with Profundo Russo (Deep Red).

They played not only the “Killer Doll” and main theme track, but also other songs from the film that you don’t hear often.  They did the same with Tenebrae, which is a giallo about a killer in an opera house no less.

They did the same with their score to Suspiria, playing music from the beginning of the film and the creepy scene in which the lead characters first start to suspect an evil witch is living among them.

It was another excellent performance that got better as it crawled along like some horrible thing creeping out of the shadows.  Goblin rarely get to the U.S., so don’t miss them.

Keep your mind open.

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Live: Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop – Chicago, IL – October 17, 2017

One of my best friends and I first saw and heard the Psychedelic Furs in the early days of MTV and thought they had the weirdest name of any band we’d seen.  They soon became favorites of ours and I’ve been keen to see them for years.  The day finally arrived when I could see their first of two nights at Chicago’s Thalia Hall (one of my top three favorite venues in the city) on October 17th.

Rockers Bash & Pop opened for them, and my friend, Steve, and I got there in time to check out the last three songs of their set.  They had a good blend of hard rock and a bit of garage punk.

Bash & Pop

It was a good crowd for a Tuesday night, and an interesting blend of aged punks, young hipsters, and music fanatics.  The Psychedelic Furs came out and opened with “Dumb Waiters.”  I’d guessed this would’ve been their closer, but they unleashed it right away and grabbed everyone’s attention.

Getting right down to business with “Dumb Waiters.”

What especially grabbed my attention is how lead singer Richard Butler‘s voice has seemingly not aged.  He sounded great, as did the entire band.  Mars Williams, the saxophone player (who also used to play for the Waitresses), shredded the entire night.

L-R: Mars Williams, Richard Butler, Tim Butler, and Amanda Kramer

The double whammy of “Pretty in Pink” followed by “Love My Way” had the entire crowd jumping.  One guy to my right was almost in throes of ecstasy by this point.  “Until She Comes” and “The Ghost in You” were also especially sharp.

“Pretty in Pink”

The lyrics of “All That Money Wants” is rather biting in this country right now, and they ended with “Heaven” before coming out to two encores.  The first had a powerful rendition of “Sister Europe” that cooked up a witches’ brew of post-punk, acid jazz, and shoegaze.  The second was a performance of the song I thought they’d have as the opener – “President Gas.”  Like “All That Money Wants,” you can’t help but hear the lyrics in a new light right now.

A killer rendition of “Sister Europe”

It was worth the wait to see them, and $40.00 for a signed tour poster was a steal.

Keep your mind open.

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Thank you, Tom Petty.

To say that Tom Petty had a legendary career is an understatement, but that is how he should be remembered.  I was lucky enough to catch his 40th anniversary (and final) tour earlier this year at a packed St. Louis arena.  It was a solid show with many great tracks throughout it.

Petty’s songs are a part of Americana even if you didn’t grow up in the 1970’s or 1970’s.  He could play everything from garage rock to country blues, and his influence on music reaches around the globe.

Many forget his great contributions to music videos.  Petty was a known lover of music videos, and he and his band came to prominence as MTV skyrocketed in popularity and outreach.  Petty took an active role in the scripts, art, and filming of his music videos and made some of the more innovative ones of the time.

Not many of us get to do what we love for forty years, let alone receive worldwide accolades for it.  It’s okay to mourn Petty, but don’t let it ruin you.  He lived and he rocked.  Do the same.

Keep your mind open.

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Live: Brian Wilson – South Bend, IN – October 03, 2017

My wife and I had missed Brian Wilson at Levitation Austin last year when the entire festival (and thus his performance) was cancelled due to bad weather.  I learned he and his band were touring the world and performing many Beach Boys tracks as well as all of their masterpiece, Pet Sounds.  I was determined to catch this tour and to hear such an important record played by the man who wrote it.  Luckily for me, Mr. Wilson brought his show to a theatre less than an hour’s drive from my house.

He had a killer backing band that included one of the founding Beach Boys – Al Jardine – and another Beach Boys guitarist – Blondie Chapman, and they opened with the the classic “California Girls.”

Other treats included Wilson having a fun time singing “I Get Around,” a lovely rendition of “In My Room,” and Al Jardine’s son doing a great job on the vocals for “Don’t Worry, Baby.”

The highlight of the night, of course, was hearing Pet Sounds played from beginning to end.  I’d been humming “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” all day leading up to the show and the band nailed it right out of the gate to open the second half.  “Sloop John B” was a crowd favorite, and I forgot about the two fine instrumentals on the record.

Wilson got a standing ovation for “God Only Knows,” and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” seems rather relevant today.  The encore started with “Good Vibrations.”  When Wilson asked, “Did you come here for bad vibrations?”  I briefly hoped the Black Angels would come on stage, but it was fun to hear the best psych-surf ever written live.

Other hits like “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “Surfin’ USA” followed, but Wilson ended the show, which he dedicated to his wife (It was her birthday that day.), the victims of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, and Tom Petty, with the heartfelt “Love and Mercy.”

It was a lovely, fun show.  Wilson’s songs are so ingrained into American culture that you can sometimes forget how good and fun they are.  See this tour if you get the chance.  Wilson is getting up there in age, and sometimes needed a steadying hand to walk him to his piano.  He’s claimed this is the final time he’ll perform Pet Sounds, so don’t wait.

Keep your mind open.

The Damned’s Paul Gray rejoins the band in time to record their new album.

BRITISH PUNK ROYALTY THE DAMNED REVEAL
UPCOMING ALBUM DETAILS AND MORE
TONY VISCONTI SET TO PRODUCE NEW DAMNED ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE 2018 
FORMER BASSIST PAUL GRAY REJOINS BAND 
 
Photos: Dod Morrison
As reported in early spring, legendary punk band The Damned signed a new label deal with Search & Destroy and announced plans for their 11th studio album. Now the band is pleased to announce that preparations are underway.
The band’s raw, primal and macabre energy will see its match in the studio this October in Brooklyn, NY with famed Producer Tony Visconti who for over five decades has produced some of the world’s most influential artists and their greatest albums (David Bowie, T.Rex, Morrisey, U2, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and Thin Lizzy). On Engineer duties is four time Grammy-winning Producer /Engineer/Mixer Kevin Kline, who has also worked with Bowie and has spent the last several decades compiling an impressive list of credentials featuring premiere pop artists Peter Gabriel, Elvis
Costello, Burt Bacharach, Bryan Ferry and Brandon Flowers.
The New York Observer proclaimed, “The Damned are a band of infinite depth and a wide variety of pleasures… high-quality blurs of melodic punk, Beach Boys-ish flowery psych-pop, chiming, bittersweet post-punk, Moody Blues-ish bombastmopherics, spiraling goth and soaring faux soul, all brilliantly executed…”
It’s rather fitting that the band who in 1976 launched an alchemic, heady new British rock sound collaborates with one of the most important and influential producers in the history of rock.  “We want to do the unexpected,” noting that the new album will offer some of the old and a lot of the new. “We’ve never been predictable and well, neither has Tony. There will be a measure of experimentation and we know he’ll do his best to artistically challenge us. He’s been at the top of our producer list since we first started thinking about recording the album, dream come true he’s on board!” The as-yet-unnamed new album will be their first new album for nearly ten years and is the follow up to, ‘So, Who’s Paranoid?’ which came out in 2008.
This news also comes with a change in The Damned’s line up. The Damned  announce the bitter sweet news of the departure of bassist Stu West. “We had a great time with Stu on this long journey. We have infinite respect for him and are forever grateful for his contributions to The Damned. As a result of this mutual understanding, we respect his decision, support him wholeheartedly and wish him the best of luck and success.”
Furthermore, The Damned reveal that once again they will reunite with their former bass player Paul Gray (Eddie and the Hot Rods/Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls, Rob Tyner (MC5)/UFO), who was an essential part of the Damned during the 80s and who played bass on previous Damned albums “The Black Album” and “Strawberries”. Gray will be joining the Damned in the studio this fall.
A dizzying mix of dedication, creativity and stubborn will continues to fuel Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxymoron, and Pinch.  While The Damned’s 40 year journey has been challenging, rewarding and shocking at best, they continue to reign as Punk’s original connoisseurs and feel very positive about what lies ahead in the future.  That evidence will be heard on their new album and in venues worldwide as the blitz continues on their Evil Spirits Tour set to rock intimate venues through out the UK this January.
The Damned ‘Evil Spirits’ 2018 UK Tour Dates:
26 January Newcastle O2 Academy
27 January Dundee Caird Hall
28 January Glasgow O2 Academy
30 January Leeds O2 Academy Leeds
31 January Manchester Academy 1
1 February Birmingham O2 Academy
3 February Leicester O2 Academy
4 February Nottingham Rock City
6 February Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
7 February Southend Cliffs Pavilion
9 February Cardiff Great Hall
10 February Bristol O2 Academy Bristol
11 February Bournemouth O2 Academy
13 February Southampton O2 Guildhall
14 February Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
17 February London O2 Forum
About The Damned:
Formed in 1976, The Damned really need no introduction…  As well as releasing the first ever British punk single and album, they also broke further new ground as the first UK punk act to tour America. The Damned still receive their dues in the US, where they are often cited as a major influence on many future rock acts, including bastions of the nascent US hardcore scene such as Black Flag and Bad Brains plus heavy metal heavyweights such as Green Day, The Offspring and Guns ’N’ Roses. The band recently celebrated four decades together with a deluxe reissues package and a world tour.
About Search and Destroy:
Raw Power Management oversee a roster of internationally successful acts which include: Bring Me The Horizon, At The Drive In, While She Sleeps, Of Mice and Men, Don Broco, Mallory Knox, and others.  The company’s record label Search and Destroy is home to, among others, Bullet For My Valentine & Atreyu.  Search and Destroy is a joint venture with Spinefarm Records / Universal.
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Live: Buddy Guy and Quinn Sullivan – Elkhart, IN – September 09, 2017

My wife and I caught Buddy Guy at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indiana.  It was our first show at the Lerner, even though we’ve lived a 30-minute drive from Elkhart for over 20 years.  I don’t know how this happened, but we got some good seats (after a ticket mix-up at the box office) and settled in for the opener – 17-year-old blues guitarist wunderkind Quinn Sullivan.

Quinn Sullivan

Sullivan first played on stage with Buddy Guy when he was seven years old.  He shreds like he’s been playing for far longer than seventeen years.  He played a few cuts from his three albums, as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”

Buddy Guy came out to meet a rowdy crowd (many of whom had done plenty of pre-game drinking) and got right down to business by breaking a guitar string on the first note.

Buddy Guy with replacement guitar.

Once a replacement guitar was brought to him, he proceeded to shred through “Damn Right I Got the Blues” and then played around with classics like “Rock Me Baby,” “Fever,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and “Who’s Making Love to Your Old Lady?”

Guy had plenty of fun stories as well, including one lively rant about genetically engineered chickens and tomatoes (“When I was a kid, a tomato was like cotton.  You could make a sandwich out of it.  Now you get a tomato and you could play baseball with it.”) and how you should buy produce that still has bugs on it (“Because it hasn’t been sprayed with stuff you shouldn’t eat.”).

One wild part of the show was when he played a guitar solo using a drum stick and a shirt.

Playing guitar with a shirt and a drumstick. Really.

Trust me, it worked.  It worked quite well, in fact.  He was flailing his guitar with a T-shirt and playing Cream riffs while doing it.  He also walked through the crowd, shredding and singing the whole time.

He brought his son, Greg Guy, and Quinn Sullivan back onstage for the end.  His back-up band was, just like the last time I saw him, killer.  They can play seemingly any tune and stop on a dime.  Greg Guy and Sullivan played along during Buddy’s hit “Feels Like Rain” and then tore through Clapton and Hendrix covers to end the show.

Buddy Guy (right) watches his son, Greg, and Quinn Sullivan carry on the blues tradition.

The show was close to three hours total, and a fun performance that had everyone cheering and hollering.  Buddy Guy is eighty-one years old now, so don’t miss him if he comes close.  He’ll probably tour until he drops dead, but make sure you see him shred.  There aren’t many living legends anymore.

Keep your mind open.

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Live: Depeche Mode and Warpaint – Toronto, ON – September 03, 2017

The calm before the storm at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Somehow multiple decades have gone by without me catching electro legends Depeche Mode live.  The dates finally worked out, and my wife and I were able to see them and shoegaze / post-punk newcomers Warpaint at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Warpaint impressing a lot of us.

Warpaint played a good set of crisp post-punk with snappy bass lines and even snappier drumming (which would be a theme for the entire night).  I’d heard a lot of good things about them, and they didn’t disappoint.  I need to find more of their material.

Looking down the “Barrel of a Gun” with Depeche Mode.

Out came Depeche Mode to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” a major theme for their new album – Spirit.  They rolled into “Going Backwards,” “So Much Love,” and “Barrel of a Gun” (which included a snippet of Grand Master Flash’s “The Message,” which cracked me up).

“World In My Eyes”

The crowd (which filled the stadium, apart from the unsold / unused seats behind the stage, by the way) jumped to its feet when they broke into “World In My Eyes.”  It was a reminder of not only their electro prowess, but how much influence they’ve had on Trent Reznor.  An acoustic version of “Question of Lust,” sung by Martin Gore, was a crowd favorite, and the follow-up of “Home” was excellent.

Depeche Mode never letting us down.

“Where’s the Revolution?” – the first single off Spirit – was another standout and essentially the band’s rallying cry for fans old and new to stand up against The Man. “Everything Counts” is also staggeringly relevant for these times, even though it’s decades old by now.  It preceded “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence” (which  was almost entirely sung by the now-bonkers crowd), and “Never Let Me Down Again” – which was better live than I even hoped it would be (and drummer Christian Eigner was absolutely slaying his kit by this point).

“Somebody”

The encore started with “Somebody,” included a nice cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and finished with big hits “I Feel You” and “Personal Jesus,” which had everyone raising their hands to “reach out and touch faith.”

“Personal Jesus”

It was long overdue, but very welcome.  My wife immediately listened to their new album as soon as we got back from the show.  She woke up the next day with Depeche Mode songs in their head, and I’ve had “Never Let Me Down Again” stuck in my brain for days.

Thanks for the fun, DM and Warpaint.

Keep your mind open.

 

Gary Wilson – Let’s Go to Outer Space

It’s a bit surprising that experimental psych-lounge musician Gary Wilson has taken so long to release an album entitled Let’s Go to Outer Space because I’m fairly certain Mr. Wilson is from Saturn or perhaps somewhere outside this solar system.

The album opens with “Back to Where I Belong” and Wilson boldly proclaiming that he met an alien at a bus stop in Johnson City and they then walked all the way to his hometown of Endicott in the rain.  Theremin rolls all around the track as Wilson tells her she’s the prettiest girl from outer space, meaning he’s met others (which shouldn’t surprise anyone).  She offers to take him back with her, but he stays.

“Gary Kissed a Mannequin” is self-explanatory as Wilson falls in love with a mannequin who looks like the girl next door and takes her out to talk to the trees and dance all night long.  It’s quite possible that his encounter with an alien beauty drove him mad.  “Lost in a Mystery” is a song with a familiar theme on Wilson’s records – loneliness.  The song’s peppy keyboards and jazz lounge beats (and more Theremin!) can’t conceal Wilson’s confusion about why his alien girl left (“I want to cry.  I don’t know just why.  You took my heart and ran away.  I’m gonna save my heartache for another day.”).

“Gary Feels Cool” has the never-ending optimism you also find on Wilson’s records.  He’s never completely out of the dating game, despite his many setbacks.  His keyboard solo emphasizes his confident swagger.  He’s just as cool when he dreams of a lovely lady in “You’re the Girl from a Magazine.”  He can’t name her or the magazine.  He just knows she’s pretty and famous for something.  It’s not a sleazy song either.  Wilson just wants to take this pretty girl for a nice walk.

Wilson admits his story is “insane” in “She’s the Girl from Mars,” but he’s so sincere (and his quirky synths are so fun) that you can’t help but believe him.  “Let’s Go on a Walk Tonight” is another plea from Wilson to his Martian girlfriend to stroll with him through Endicott and beyond.  It’s a toe-tapper that you can’t get out of your head for a while after hearing it.

The song’s beats and even the “la la la” chorus continues in “I’m Not Ashamed of You,” as Wilson’s keyboards sound more like a harpsichord.  Wilson has no fear of walking around with an alien, even as others around him are running away in terror.  He’s finally found love, and everyone should be envying him.

The honeymoon ends, however, when we get to “I Want to Cry.”  Everything had been going so well that Wilson even took his outer space lover to his high school reunion, but yet he still wants to weep.  Is it from joy or misery?  It can’t be from his sweet electric piano solo, that’s for sure.

“Let’s Go to Mars” is simple, yet catchy with Wilson singing another song about marrying his Martian girlfriend in front of his hometown pals and then driving her in his new car out of orbit.  He can’t find love on Earth, so will he find it on another planet?

Probably not, if “My Beautiful Wife Walked Away” is any indication.  Wilson has been dumped yet again.  “I don’t know just what do.  I just wanna be with you,” he sings.  Finding a lasting love is an eternal quest for Wilson, and things beyond his control or understanding always seem to screw it up for him.  On “My Pretty Little Space Girl,” Wilson laments the departure of his alien beauty who never plans to return.  “All things gotta come to an end,” Wilson tells us.  That includes his quest, by the way.  It might not have ended with a woman from another planet, but Wilson will find someone someday.

Keep your mind open.

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