Stone Gossard is the rhythm guitarist for Pearl jam. He’s also one of their major songwriters. He has one or two songs that he sings with the band. This is a solo effort which indicates that he might be a heavier influence on the band.
Stone Gossard last released a solo album 12 years ago. There’s a new Pearl Jam album in progress and Stone’s other band Brad put out an album not too long ago, so why not release a solo album?
I don’t know how much Gossard does on this song, but I rather imagine he plays everything (the solo is fine but not amazing and the drums are solid but don’t really standout). And while that sounds dismissive, it’s not meant to be. Gossard creates a solid sound of simple rock.
The guitars are loud and bouncy. Stone’s voice is rough and workmanlike—there’s a reason he’s not a lead singer. But his voice works great for this aggressive slice of rock.
The riff is continuous and non stop, while he sings I need something different. And then at the mid way part the keyboards start—perhaps this is the something different. The keys break the propulsion with a poppiness that you wouldn’t expect in the song.
Then the song returns to its original style. It’s not a terribly original song, but it would be a fun bar anthem.
[READ: June 10, 2013] Speak, Commentary
When this book first came out I was pretty delighted. What a funny concept—overblown writers and political pundits do DVD commentary about films they had nothing to do with. It seemed like it would be very funny indeed.
And here’s the thing. It is. For a few pages. But each one of these things feels as long as the actual movie they are commenting on. Alexander and Bissell have done their research—they know what these figures will say. And say. And say.
As I said the premise is awesome, check out these wonderful combinations:
- NOAM CHOMSKY & HOWARD ZINN on The Fellowship of the Ring
ANN COULTER & DINESH D’SOUZA on Aliens
- TERRY DWIBBLE & STEVEN McCRAY on Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- JERRY FALWELL & PAT ROBERTSON on Planet of the Apes (1968)
WILLIAM BENNETT & DICK CHENEY on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
[Terry Dwibble & Steven McCray are (presumably) fictional characters—die hard Trekkies who are thrilled to be able to add this commentary and, frankly, this is the best one of these pieces.]
I think part of the problem with the book is the sequencing. The first piece is incredibly dry. I recall reading this when I first got it. I don’t know if I read all the way through Chomsky and Zinn. And I know I didn’t make it through all of the second one (Coulter and D’Souza)—my d0g eared page failure still lingers to this day.
But I finished this time.
I’m not sure that Chomsky and Zinn are well-known enough as left wing thinkers to make this very funny. The things they say (in real life) are very rarely inflammatory, they may say things that people disagree with, but they’re very rational in their arguments, and as such, don’t make for very funny commentators. True, they take the side of the orcs in the comments, but I’m not even entirely sure that would come about from the discussion they are given. It seems more forced than it ought to.
Coulter and D’Souza are funnier because they are so reactionary. The problem is that this joke about them is pretty one note (as is everything they say in real life) so it gets a little old fast. The argument that Aliens is a paean to capitalism is pretty funny and does seem to be born out for a time.
The Star Trek one is very funny because it is two trekkies who have been really, really into Trek lo all these years. They even have their own fan fiction sites (one guy writes about a Captain who dies early in Star Trek II and appears nowhere else in the series). It overstays itself by a few pages, but overall this one brought the laughs.
But really it was the last two which were the best. Primarily because all four men are largely clueless about what they are watching, so that adds an extra level of humor to the commentaries.
Falwell & Roberston have never seen Planet of the Apes, but they love Charlton Heston, and so they are perfect commentators for this film which they believe will glorify God and mankind over apes. They also imagine a whole bunch of about the right to self-defense. Their attempts to wrangle their own point of view (especially since they don’t know how it will end) is very funny. And it’s all fairly believable which makes it funnier.
The final one, Star Wars Episode I has the added humor of Cheney and Bennett not realizing that this is not the first Star Wars film. The remember all of the hype and excitement about the movie in the 70s (and their nephews and such being really into it). So they believe they are doing the commentary on Episode IV. They are continually amazed at how great the special effects look for a 1977 film. They also get all of the characters wrong, desperately trying to fit Luke Skywalker into the story and wondering where Darth Vader is.
But added to the cluelessness is enough of their personality to make their commentary appropriate to them. They have a wonderful time with the whole opening of the film about taxation. They are desperately looking for a morality issue to jump on but as Cheney says “it’s hard to find a clear-cut morality about tax issues.” Which leads to the wonderful comment (again thinking that this is Episode IV), ” I have to say the popularity of this film mystifies me.”
By the end of the commentary, Cheney has absolutely had it with young Anakin “You know this is some terrible acting here .This little kid is really awful.” Before the movie even ends, Cheney says “I’m bored to tears I have to tell you. This is the worst movie I have ever seen. It’s just terrible.”
As the commentary goes on Bennett & Cheney place a bet on the pod race (which is hilarious as Bennett lost a fortune on gambling). The race is the only thing they like. And Bennett loses $50,000 on the race. When the commentary ends, long before the movie ends, Cheney gets a great final comment: “If I hadn’t won money off of you watching this movie I’d think this was the biggest waste of time in my life.”
Clearly Cheney is the best thing in the book. Start with that one and work backwards.