Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.
Subscribe

Archive for ‘The Faith Project’

The Faith Project: Bon Jovi—New Jersey

October 25, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Matt:

New Jersey was the first CD I ever owned. I won it in a radio contest in the summer of 1989. I was the right caller. I wrote down the previous night’s top twenty and recited it back to the DJ. I didn’t have a CD player then. My parents didn’t have a CD player. I went to the neighbor’s to listen to it because they had one. I listened to it a lot for not having any way to play it back myself.

So I was expecting this one to sound like the summer of ’89 all over again, which maybe it does. It’s just that summer is a lot cheesier than I remember it being. Which, why is this a surprise? It was middle school. I liked a lot of cornball Top 40 hair metal in middle school. Slaughter, anyone? But Bon Jovi had to have been doing something right in the late ’80′s because they’re still around and literally everyone from that era isn’t. I am not counting Brett Michael’s second career as being “still around.”

So what did they do right? Well, they found a way to make hair metal less about the metal and more about the pop rock, more so than any of their contemporaries. Nobody was confusing them with Judas Priest. They had a charming and versatile front man who could also sort of act—and I don’t believe I’ve seen David Coverdale make a cameo on 30 Rock yet. They hired Desmond Child to write their hits. And they never took themselves terribly seriously. (more…)

The Faith Project: Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

September 17, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Jeffrey:

Wait ... there was another dude in GnR who wore a top hat? And when have you ever seen Axl wear a gay turquoise biker cap?

I never had a metal phase. Well, that’s not entirely true: I had a brief flirtation with best-forgotten hair metal bands like White Lion and Kingdom Come in the ’80s, but in my defense I only listened to them because I wanted my older sister to think I was cool. (Didn’t work.) But the real metal bands, your Metallicas, your Iron Maidens, your Slayers … I never felt pulled to those bands as a way of working out my adolescent male angst. Instead, I went straight from pop to the Sex Pistols and Ramones, and from then on my tastes were pretty well focused on punk and what was once called “college rock.” I guess I’ve always preferred the scariness of shitty recordings and bad singing to the scariness of wicked guitar solos and evil lyrics.

So then, what to make of my 23-year (gulp) love affair with Appetite for Destruction? If I don’t particularly feel drawn to metal, what is it about this record that still keeps me enthralled every time I hear it?

Well, for starters, where does Appetite even fit in the rock music spectrum? Is it hair metal? Metal metal? Glam? Hard rock? Dirty blues? Punk? Pop? In truth, it’s a little of everything, and that’s what makes it such a fascinating record 23 (stop saying that!) years after its release. (more…)

The Faith Project: Tone Loc – Loc-ed After Dark

July 29, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Music, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Matt:

Let’s do it.

You know those words. You remember those words. You don’t even have to hear the beat—one of the most immediately recognizable beats of all time—to know what comes next. Not one of you leaning on the carpeted benches at the roller rink didn’t scramble out there when “Wild Thing” came on, I guarantee it.

Yes! Hip hop is back to par-tay! We got pretty worried during those couple of years between Licensed to Ill and Straight Outta Compton. Don’t get me wrong, we ate up N.W.A., too—god did we laugh at all the swearing!—but when Tone-Loc hit the scene it was suddenly like, okay maybe I can play this guy for my mom. Yeah, it’s probably too raunchy for her but it’s on the radio and check it out, he’s a rappin’ Robert Palmer in his video! And Spuds McKenzie!

Tone-Loc brought hip hop to all the white kids who hadn’t yet discovered hip hop through Run-D.M.C. Sure, the Beastie Boys stormed suburbia with “Fight for Your Right” three years earlier, but that song was really more garage rock and besides, they were a bunch of Jewish kids from New York. Tone-Loc was a black guy from LA—home to Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Ice-T, Dr. Dre, the hardcore tough dudes—and all Loc wanted to do was drink potions that made him sexy to girls. He didn’t want to shoot nobody! (more…)

The Faith Project: INXS – Kick

July 20, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Jeffrey:

About a month ago, I learned that Beck’s record club was doing a song-by-song cover album of INXS’s nearly forgotten classic Kick. I immediately sent the link to Matt, knowing him to be a Kick fan from way back. The covers got us motivated to dust off the original, and we spent the next 2 weeks on a serious Kick bender. When talk came around about the next old favorite we should put into rotation, I brought up George Michael’s Faith. Matt came up with the idea of calling our newly-formed record club The Faith Project. Then he suggested that it would be better if we called it the Faith Project and never actually listened to Faith. Thus, the Faith Project was born. This week, we take a listen to the record that got the whole thing started, Kick.

I don’t have memories of listening to Kick the way I do some of my other early favorites, like R.E.M.’s Document or U2′s The Joshua Tree. The main thing I remember about INXS is that my friend Jon Harmon’s sister Libby was super into them, and I thought she was cool because she was older than us and dressed like Molly Ringwald’s wacky friend in Pretty in Pink and knew what KROQ was even though we lived in Michigan. I know I listened to this record over and over again, I just can’t recall how old I was, or where, or with who. I have repressed all memories of listening to this record. I have also repressed all pictures of me trying to grow my hair out to look more like Michael Hutchence, because yowch.

Any discussion of INXS has to begin by acknowledging that Michael Hutchence died by choking while wanking himself off. In my opinion, the less said about that, the better. Autoerotic asphyxiation is one of those things that should theoretically be funny, but really is just a reminder that even the coolest guys in the world are nothing more than dick-spanking apes desperately groping for a few seconds of happiness in an otherwise miserable existence. I’m sure there isn’t a man among us who doesn’t have at least one adventure in his long history of self-cultivation that maybe wasn’t such a great idea in retrospect. Michael Hutchence didn’t just look like a rock n’ roll Jesus: he died for our sins. (more…)