Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Video (and Re-evalulation) of the Day: The Red Button-Cruel Girl

Stumbled across this video from The Red Button's She's About to Cross My Mind, perhaps the most "popular" power pop album of the year, given the buzz it's received. In fact, it's 2007's Alpacas Orgling; just like that project, this is an expert re-creation of a particular sound (mid-60s britpop vs ELO in the latter case) from power pop songwriting pros (Swirsky/Ruekberg vs Bleu/Sturmer). I didn't write much about the disc when it came out early this year, not because I didn't like it (it's #8 on my top 50 of the first half, and that's probably a bit too low) but because everyone else was raving about it, and I've never been a big fan of "me too" posts. Now that the hype has died down, I've really come to appreciate the disc even more - "Ooh Girl" might be my favorite song of the year, and "Floating By" and "Can't Stop Thinking About Her" might be in my top 10. Ironically (and perhaps another reason why I initially underrated this disc), the most publicized songs from the disc, "Cruel Girl" and the title track, are probably about my 7th and 8th favorite songs on the disc. Which doesn't mean "Cruel Girl" isn't a quality tune, and without further ado, here's the video:



UPDATE: Upon further thought, another possible reason I wasn't eager to jump on the Red Button bandwagon is that I'm not a real big fan of Swirsky's political views. It has nothing to do with his musical output, of course, and I'd never dream of telling him to "shut up and sing" like some of his political allies have done with outspoken musicians on the other side (cf. Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen).

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve! Great Review on a Great band! How do we contact you?

Steve said...

There's an email link over on the right side of the page.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is any moral high ground on the left in this matter. If his political views affect how you feel about his music, then that's your choice. I don't care what the Dixie Chicks do or say. If by ignoring them I'm censoring them, well I guess they really are the martyrs they think they are. If they choose to alienate their fans, they have the right to do it. If Seth Swirsky were to turn his concerts into political rallies, I'm sure he'd alienate people. It sounds effectively that you'd like his music better if he did actually shut up and sing, and that's your perogative. Just go easy on the generalizations. I find the Dixie Chicks martyrdom marketing ploy far more offensive than any of their politics.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Swirsky injects any of his political views into his music. From what I've read, his opinions are informed and thoughtful. Agree or disagree, he's not flying by the seat of his pants.
He's just stating his views like any other US citizen and not using his music to beat people over the head with them.
The only thing that would preclude me from purchasing and enjoying an artist's music would be the commission of some heinous crime.
The Red Button's She's About To Cross My Mind, is definitely one of the top powerpop releases of the last few years. True song-writing chops and consistency are in short supply these days.

Steve said...

I already had the disc ranked #8 for the year when I did the list back in July, which is hardly "shut up and sing". The comment on his politics related to the state of my general enthusiasm in raving about the disc at the time it came out, and was simply an partial explanation for why, 7 months after its release, I was suddenly waxing poetic about a disc most of those on the blog had already heard.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but aren't you saying you would or would've had more enthusiasm for his music if he would shut up and not sing, i.e. not voice a political opinion that you disagree with? You just don't feel strongly enough about it to use the phrase "shut up and sing", but in reality there are probably very few people who actually use that phrase about people on the other side of the fence. Luckily for the Dixie Chicks, some people eat that stuff up and that kind of straw man argument makes an effective marketing tool.

Anonymous said...

oops, I meant to say "if he would shut up and sing", not "not sing".

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment about the strawman argument working for the Dixie Chicks.
I read Seth's musings and think he sits in the middle politically.
I was saddened by the so called liberal posters attempting to discredit what he says by tearing him doewn (with the Beatle wannabe comment,alleging that he bought his way on to that self proclaimed braintrust (speaking of wannabes) with money and power that his music mogul wife has and more or less painting him with a large brush in one broad stroke. So much for open-mindedness and tolerance they claim to have.
btw...I think Bob Hutton should have stated he came across that link on your blog...but whatever
ryan

Steve said...

Well, I certainly wasn't looking for a political argument to spill over onto Audities, although I haven't seen some of the comments denigrating Swirsky there (probably because I subscribe to the digest and they haven't shown up yet.) There's plenty of intolerance to go around on all points along the political spectrum, including the self-styled "centrists" who look down their noses at partisans of both sides.

I certainly wasn't looking to bash Swirsky politically here, and those who have seized upon the opportunity to do so for its own sake denigrate themselves in the process rather than Swirsky.

Anonymous said...

Oh no..nothing like that on Audities. The comments to which I referred are from other Huffpost bloggers and are in the comments there.especially under the posting about his vacation time with his kid or kids.sorry for the confusion.