e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


recently downloaded, and recommended

I spent part of yesterday reading for an article I'm writing, a lit-review-ish essay (or part of an essay) about the emotional dimension of civic engagement. Of interest, the disconnect regarding modes of engagement: the affective connection students in service learning courses sometimes have with volunteerism and the similar connect faculty have with advocacy/activism. Then I baked cookies for my students while listening to some recent i-tunes purchases:

The New Pornographers, "Don't Bring Me Down"
A note-for-note cover of the E.L.O. disco-pop, early-days-of-MTV gem. A perfect distillation of what the NPs do, that is, make pop music without apology or irony.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, "100 Days, 100 Nights"
More soul than anybody from the Mariah Carey, every-song-has-to-hit-three-different-octaves school of R&B. I'm crazy about this song. It's Amy Winehouse meets the Detroit Cobras.

Sonic's Rendezvous Band, "City Slang"
I had read about this 70s gaggle of Detroit rockers (members of the MC5 and the Rationals and the Stooges, oh my!) but never heard their stuff before. This punk ditty doesn't match the quality of the best work of the band members' original groups, but I really like piece's swagger. No sad sack shit here--just a loud, guitar-driven motor city anthem.

2Pac, "Hit 'Em Up"
Six minutes of 2Pac saying unkind things about the Notorious B.I.G. A remarkable piece of work, completely immersed in inflammatory nihilism.

Ciccone Youth, "Addicted to Love"
Weird. Kim Gordon doing karaoke. Yes, it's that "Addicted to Love." A long time ago, I had a bad cassette copy of this whole record, a Sonic Youth side project and homage to 80s excess (the record also had covers of several songs made famous by "Madonna Ciccone"). Gordon's robotic monotone calls to mind the mannequin-like women in the "Addicted to Love" video. The track is a kind of feminist manifesto, a SY forays into politics. So you might look at this as a companion to "Kool Thing," the Kim Gordon-Chuck D duet that slammed mysogyny in the hip hop world, or "Youth Against Fascism," with the famous "I believe Anita Hill" and "the president sucks/he's a warpig f***" lines. Or, you might just rock out to a Robert Palmer cover. Either way, weird.

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