13 Truly Bad Lyrics

Picking bad lyrics from pop music is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s too easy. Pop music, in and of itself, is supposed to be about the hook, the melody, the chord progressions – not the lyrics. We leave that to Bob Dylan and Springsteen. I’m sure I’ll get lots of additions to this list, but …

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Identical Suns: The Interview

Last week, I reviewed the debut album by Identical Suns. But I found their songwriting and recording process so fascinating that I had some follow-up questions. Below is an interview I had with Rene Rodriguez and Todd Stanton, the core members of the power-pop group. 1. How did the recording process work? Todd: For the …

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Album review: Identical Suns

The Internet is an amazing thing. It’s created pen pals, marriages, business dealings, debates and in the case of Identical Suns, a songwriting collaboration. Rene Rodriguez and Todd Stanton were acquaintances in the Mike Viola Facebook group. The two discovered that they both had a passion for songwriting and began writing, first via old-school technology …

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Movie Review: Love & Mercy

Brian Wilson is the forgotten genius of the 1960s. His group, the Beach Boys, was constantly being compared to the Beatles, and some say that Sergeant Pepper drove him to madness as he tried to up the ante with his (until recently) unfinished magnum opus Smile. And his image has been tainted by Mike Love touring the country with …

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A Second Listen: ‘Up,’ R.E.M.

I remember hearing “Airportman,” the first track from the 1998 R.E.M. album Up, and thinking, That’s it, they’ve lost it. Drummer Bill Berry had just quit the band, and they had steadfastly refused to replace him, opting to remain a trio and adding a session drummer when and if needed. From the sounds of “Airportman,” …

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Introducing ‘The Death and Life of Mal Evans: A Novel’

I’m excited to announce the future publication of “The Death and Life of Mal Evans,” my first novel, due in July 2015. I’ve always been bothered that the Beatles broke up too soon. Granted, I didn’t expect them to be the Rolling Stones, playing together for 50 years, but eight years wasn’t enough. I had …

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