Archive for June, 2018

nin

The third installment in a series of EPs (although this one has officially been deemed a full length album, but it runs 31 minutes, just slightly longer than the previous two) finds Trent Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross in fine form.

The previous two EPs, Add Violence and Not the Actual Events gave us what we expect from Nine Inch Nails, something Reznor didn’t deliver on his previous full-length Hesitation Marks. I never could get into that album because the songs sounded too much alike, and that’s a big no-no in Sod World.

Nine Inch Nails works best when they combine their industrial/ambient leanings with heavy guitar, and on Bad Witch they do a nice job of this. Opener Shit Mirror (gotta love the positive Reznor titles LOL) is heavy and catchy, leading into the more synth-driven “Ahead of Ourselves” which gives a scathing view of the American landscape today.

Throughout the album, Reznor plays the saxophone and it’s the featured instrument on the “Play the Goddamned Part,” one of two instrumental tracks of the six.

“God Break Down the Door” and album closer “Over and Out” find Reznor singing in a David Bowie croon, as a tribute to his longtime friend and former collaborator. And with the presence of the saxophone in both of them, they sound like they could have been outtakes from Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.

Overall, these three short collections of music are highly recommended. I like this one the best, followed by Events and then Add Violence. But if you take the best tracks off all three, they really could have made one killer NIN album.

Sod rating: ****

 

Ratings scale

*Vomit inducing

**Sucks ass, but has a few redeeming moments

***Solid effort

****Excellent, a few flaws

*****Classic, two thumbs way the hell up

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Mets-fans

It all seemed so perfect back in the mid 1980s. That’s when my love affair with baseball and the New York Mets began.

And believe it or not, at that time, the Mets – and not the Yankees – were the true kings of New York. Pitcher Dwight Gooden had a mural on the entire side of a building in Times Square for several years. Guys like Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Lenny Dykstra were household names. And while those teams probably underachieved a little bit (only one World Series win despite winning at least 90 games in six of seven years, with the other year being an 87-win season), they were fun to watch.

Since then, there have really only been three pockets of success for this franchise – 1997 through 2000 (with star catcher Mike Piazza joining the team in 1998 to give the organization a true jolt), 2006 to 2008 (which is hard to count since 2007 and 2008 both ended in epic September collapses, but at least the team was talented and more importantly, watchable), and finally a few months in both 2015 and 2016 that ended with playoff appearances. That’s been it, and in between has been losing. And more losing. And losers, starting at the top with the horrible Wilpon ownership group.

This year has been one of the most frustrating seasons I can remember, mainly because it started with so much promise. New manager Mickey Callaway seemed to bring a fresh perspective (or so we thought) from old geezer Terry Collins (always thought that guy looked like a garden gnome and wondered how anybody could take him seriously).

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They started the season 11-1 and with the Yankees stumbling out of the gate during those first two weeks, Met fans were actually taunting Yankee fans (dumb move, idiots). Soon enough, in typical Met fashion, it all came crashing down. While the starting rotation remains pretty strong (with the exception of the godawful Jason Vargas), the bullpen has coughed up leads like no other. It’s like these guys drink an entire bottle of Ipecac before each outing, they’re gagging so much. The defense is horrid. If they inserted a bunch of cardboard cutouts in the infield and outfield, they’d likely catch the ball more. The offense? Offensive of course. These guys couldn’t hit if you gave them an entire redwood tree as a bat. They’ve gone 21-46 since that 11-1 start. That’s a winning percentage of .368. This weekend, they’re battling the Miami Marlins – a team that’s pretty much made it no secret they’re tanking this year for better draft positioning – for last place in the NL East. And last night they got blown out 8-2. The Marlins are younger and flat out better than this collection of shit stains.

I think much of the problem would be solved if the Wilpons just sold the team, but I’m not convinced that’s happening anytime soon, so Mets fans are stuck.

The other day, after another putrid performance by the bullpen against the Pirates (Mets led 3-0 after 7 and of course lost), I did something that I usually don’t do until after a bad season. I got out my 1986 World Series championship DVDs and put in the video for Game 3. Lenny Dykstra’s leadoff homer against Oil Can Boyd ignited a four-run rally in the first and the Mets were well on their way back from a 2-0 series deficit. Still makes me feel the same way it did when I was 11. I’ll be 43 in August and I’m starting to feel like this will be the only championship I witness in my lifetime – it’s that bad of an organization. My son will be 2 next month, and maybe I should just have steer clear of these guys, save himself a lifetime of heartache.

Yet, there I will be tonight, following a meaningless game between two scrub teams. Because that’s what fans do. I never have gotten people that bail on their teams when they suck – the few years the Mets have actually done well were so sweet precisely because I watched them during the years of sorry ineptitude. Maybe one day, I’ll be rewarded again. But I’m not holding my breath…..

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