“The Ballad of Vegas”

I was made aware of this song late Friday night (2/23).  It’s a spare, quiet song that squarely places the blame of inactivity on the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, even using his speech upon accepting the NRA endorsement as part of the song.

Vegas is a reference to the mass shooting that happened in Las Vegas.

I had a friend who was murdered in a random act of gun violence.  We were 16.  Now, more than 20 years later, I have never fired a gun as a tribute to his life.  Granted, that pales in comparison to a mass shooting incident, but hearing a musician place the blame where it belongs was nice to hear.


It Was 20 Years Ago Today…February 1998

Neutral Milk Hotel:  In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Thanks to a friend of mine for telling me why this album meant so much to her…


In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was the second studio album from Neutral Milk Hotel.; proceeded by a handful of demos and the EP “Everything Is”.

Merge had only suspected they would sell 5,500 CDs and 1,600 Vinyl copies of this album which became a critically acclaimed, and wildly outselling any predictions.  Given a snapshot of time, this record has mediocre commercial performance. The album could have been written 50 years ago or today. Its timelessness has attributed to its success.

The album starts with the song “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One” This song is unbelievable icebreaker. It starts with a strumming acoustic guitar and a voice. Slowly adding instruments and texture, each verse is timid and fearless in the same breath.


Pt 1 leads into, “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. Two & Three.. You walk into this track feeling eerily absolved. It feels like a victory, for what, I do not know. About half way in, they have a confetti parade. From a rooftop, these proclamations are made. “I will float until I learn how to swim”, “I will spit until I learn how to speak”, and “ I will shout until they know what I mean”. This song celebrates our imperfections, or at least tries to convince us to celebrate them, maybe.



In the Aeroplane Over the Sea begins sweetly with that strummy guitar and vocals that befriended us in King of Carrot Flowers, Pt1. Then in comes the saw playing its siren song. I’m going to shut the fu up now and listen to that saw.


Dance Break! The fool


“Holland, 1945” was the only single off this album. I’m not sure if I can say more than this song is a fuzzy, boomboastic elegy.

Here is a video of Steven Colbert signing off with “Holland, 145”


This album is so related to so many people because it oscillates between feeling and time so seamlessly. It is here and there and now and then on one plane, an aeroplane over the sea..

Neutral Milk Hotel would go on to release one more EP before going on an indefinite hiatus.  They returned to performing live intermittently between 2010 and 2014.  Their last tour was spring/summer 2015.  They have yet to record new albums since returning from hiatus.


I got gifted this song yesterday from Consequence of Sound.  Great to hear a jazzy rap featuring references to Batman, Star Wars & the XFiles…

Joseph Chilliams, you have yourself a new fan.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today…January 1998

Dixie Chicks:  Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces was originally released January 27, 1998.  I’m going to admit, while I like several songs the Dixie Chicks did over the course of their careers, I never got into either the album of the song “Wide Open Spaces”.

The title track is about longing to strike out on your own in an attempt to follow and hopefully achieve your dreams.  There’s something to be said for that, as many people fall short of their dreams, but nonetheless end up with happy and fulfilling lives.

This album was a jumping off point for the band, their followup, Fly, featured more of the tracks people came to know and love from the band.  Their 2006 album, Taking the Long Way, was their last album before breaking up, but two years ago they went on tour and recorded a version of “Daddy Issues” by Beyonce.  I look forward to hearing that the band has more to say, especially with Natalie Maines’ political orientations…