Archive for May, 2011

As the Mets have performed better than expected given the injuries and negativity surrounding the team, the focus should be on the team’s inspired play of late, not the words of their embattled and clueless owner Fred Wilpon. But in an article published in the New Yorker magazine, Wilpon criticizes three of his star players – Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran.
Now, I don’t really have a problem with the criticism per se, no one should be immune to it and George Steinbrenner did much worse in the past, and often his words would fire up his players and get more out of them. Wilpon has a right to say what he wants, but his timing is pretty bad, particularly in the case of Reyes.
The Mets are at a bit of a crossroads with Reyes. They have to decide whether to go forward with him as a star on the team or to trade him for prospects. The owner coming down on the player does nothing to help the Mets on either end. It certainly could alienate Reyes and force him to look elsewhere (if they’re leaning on attempting to re-sign him) or it could hinder the team’s ability to get top value for him in a trade. It’s just an idiotic move for a guy who probably should leave his mouth shut these days.
He calls out the Mets for giving Beltran a huge contract, yet he was the one who signed off on it. His timing for ripping Beltran is curious as well, as Carlos is as healthy as he’s been in a long time and producing like he did in his heyday. Most Mets fans have had it with this ownership group.
I don’t like to wish bad on anyone, but I’m certainly hoping the fallout from the Madoff fiasco forces the Wilpons to sell their majority stake in the Mets. Everyone, fans included, could use a fresh start.

I grew up listening to the Cars. Their lifespan as a band (1978-1987) coincided with my formative years, the years I really got into music. Their feel-good tunes were always on the radio, songs such as “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Good Times Roll,” “Let’s Go,” “You Might Think” and “Drive.” The band had a gift for coming up with hooks, as their songs could get permanently lodged into your brain.
They quietly broke up in early 1988, following the only lackluster album in their canon, Door to Door. For years, lead singer/guitarist Ric Ocasek insisted the band would never record again, a thought further advanced when fellow vocalist and bassist Benjamin Orr died of cancer in 2000. A few of the non-singing members of the band reunited with producer Todd Rundgren to form the New Cars in the middle part of the last decade, and although their shows were a success, a true reunion was impossible without chief songwriter Ocasek.
Which makes the recent release Move Like This a pleasant surprise indeed. Ocasek was working on a solo album when he got the notion to get the band back together, and at the risk of sounding too cliche, it seems as if they never left.
On Move Like This, you are transported into the mid 80s again, as the band is in peak form. Ocasek sounds just as he did on those classic hits, his voice hasn’t aged a bit. The album revs up (pardon the pun) with a strong opener, the synth-fueled “Blue Tip” and never lets up momentum in a brisk 10-track affair, just like the old days.
The album manages to sound fresh despite its familiar feel, as the band doesn’t so much recycle the old hits as use new paints from its already tried and true template. The ballad “Soon” sounds like a distant cousin to “Drive” without lifting any melodies from that track. “Sad Song” belies its title with its bouncy synths and upbeat rhythm. “Hits Me” closes the album in fine fashion, leaving you wanting more.
There’s not a weak track on this album, and any fan of the band’s 70s and 80s work will love this. Even if you’re not acquainted with the band’s back catalog, you’ll enjoy this if you like well-executed power-pop. Glad the Cars are ruling the road again.

Sod review: ****

It’s been seven long years since the Beastie Boys last graced us with their presence (no, I’m not counting that all-instrumental album they did in 2007), which isn’t all that surprising since the Beasties always take a long time between releases.
They had a good excuse this time, though. They were ready to unleash Hot Sauce Committee, Part 1 in 2009, but just months before it’s release, Adam “MCA” Yauch was diagnosed with salivary cancer. The album was scrapped as MCA underwent treatment, which appears to be successful as MCA is feeling better (but still not quite out of the woods yet). With their bandmate’s health improving, the Beastie Boys reworked the album a bit, keeping many of the tracks intended for the first album and now (with their twisted sense of humor) releasing it as Hot Sauce Committee, Part 2 (with no Part 1 in sight).
The new album finds the boys in fine form, and it’s a nice cut above the somewhat disappointing 2004 release To the Five Boroughs.
Hot Sauce has many old-school throw-back tracks, with the production showing hints of the keyboard chicanery of Hello Nasty sprinkled with some of the hardcore punk leanings of Ill Communication all rolled into one release. For me, the punk tracks shine the brightest, particularly the kick-ass track with a typical goofy title, “Lee Majors Come Again.”
Elsewhere, the band dabbles a bit in reggae (with an expert guest spot by Santogold in the breezy ‘Don’t Play No Game that I Can’t Win’) and enlists Nas for a killer cameo in “Too Many Rappers.”
The track “OK” sounds like it could have been produced by Gary Numan, with its 80s style synths taking hold of the proceedings.
“Tadlock’s Glasses” is a murky mess, but somehow in a good way, with its almost video-game sounds providing the backdrop for some hard-to-decipher lyrics from the guys.
Meanwhile, “Funky Donkey” indeed brings the funk, while “Crazy-Ass Shit” is fueled by kiddie vocal samples.
The mainly instrumental “Multinational Nuclear Disarmament” is a nice laid-back track in the midst of all the chaos, with only the only lyrics “we can make it happen” being provided by what sounds like a robot.
There’s enough here for every Beastie Boys fan, and again a welcome return to form.

Sod rating: ****

Giants 2, Mets 0

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Mets

The once-again free-falling Mets lost for the fifth time in six games tonight, getting dominated by Tim Lincecum and the Giants 2-0. Lincecum struck out 12 batters in 7 innings, as the Mets lacked any semblance of an offense. What’s worse, San Francisco fans seemed to take over CitiField late in the game. Guess the Mets fans that were there had no reason to make noise, but it’s pretty embarassing when NL West fans, let alone the Phillies, are making a mockery of the Mets in their own stadium.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, one of the Mets’ top prospects was lost for the season earlier this week with a tear in his elbow. Jenrry Mejia won’t be back until sometime next year, therefore ruining one of the things I was actually looking forward to in this sad sack of a season, seeing the youngster pitch. Wake me up when its 2015 and the Mets are a viable franchise again.