Once again we find our friends Dante and Virgil in the dismal gloom of Hell, bedraggled as they are on their pitiless journey into the Underworld, with each passing vignette of misery and torment they face naturally becoming more and more difficult to behold. Now in the Sixth Circle of Hell, our pair find themselves […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 7 of 10"
“Son, thou now beholdest The souls of those whom anger overcame; And likewise I would have thee know for certain Beneath the water people are who sigh And make this water bubble at the surface” The United States has a long history with anger, and though this may sound bad when read aloud, in truth some […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 6 of 10"
We come once again upon Dante and Virgil, who now find themselves amidst the damned in the Fourth Circle of Hell. Here upon Virgil has some choice words for Dante on the subject of greed and its ill-effects on people and nations alike: …behold the transient farce Of goods that are committed unto Fortune, For […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 5 of 10"
Now fully entrenched in the pitiless deep, Dante and his guide Virgil (of Medea fame), awake to find themselves wallowing in mire and filth falling from the sky, like a kind of sludgy rain, while Cerberus, the three-headed beast found in many a Greek myth looms above them, presumably to guard this, the Third Circle of Hell. […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 4 of 10"
I came into a place mute of all light, Which bellows as the sea does in a tempest, If by opposing winds‘t is combated. The infernal hurricane that never rests Hurtles the spirits onward in its rapine; Canto V, lines 28-32 I’ll admit it: there are potent arguments for and against fear as a motivator. Items in the […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 3 of 10"
“There, as it seemed to me from listening, Were lamentations none, but only sighs, That tremble made the everlasting air.” Inferno: Canto IV, Stanza 9 The First Ring of Hell: Limbo So, as Dante walked through the Gates of Hell, he eventually emerged within its first section – a drab, grey place known as Limbo. Limbo, […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 2 of 10"
“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita…” Introduction: I’m 36 at the time of this writing, just about the same age as Dante Alighieri – “halfway along our life’s path” – when he himself descended into the Hell, noble Virgil (and occasionally Beatrice) at his side. Dante, I should mention, was not received into Hell as are most: […]Read more "Top 10 Albums You Can Take Straight to Hell: 1 of 10"
Dear Kate, I have to come clean: I’m a phony. A poseur. I mean, am I really adding anything novel to the now sizable discourse on your work by naming Hounds of Love as your number one album of all time? Who doesn’t already think this? The truth is, my whole raison d’etre is to be […]Read more "The Top 3 Kate Bush Albums of All Time: A Love Letter (3 of 3)"
You’re probably like me: you started reading Ulysses because some college professor in a tweed jacket (or a fellow student with an immaculate set of breasts) told you to. You felt smart when you began, folding yourself into a corner somewhere with a well-worn copy, feeling as though you were about to embark on some life-changing journey through […]Read more "The Top 3 Kate Bush Albums of All Time: A Love Letter (2 of 3)"
Maybe there is no point to this list. There’s no conflict here. There was never a time that I didn’t love Kate Bush. No hard won battle to overcome her progressive rock-opera proclivities. Never at odds with her vocal ascendancy over at least five octaves, occupying spaces that were ghoulish, languid, sexual, motherly. No personal affront […]Read more "The Top 3 Kate Bush Albums of All Time: A Love Letter (1 of 3)"
Bach: The Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould (1955) Let’s be honest: this list is really more about me than you. I call it a ‘list for the dying’ because these songs, these artists, these albums lift me aloft to something akin to the Shakesperean or Donne-esque, metaphysical death: la petite mort, if you will. You know: the […]Read more "5 Records I Recommend to the Dying (PART 5 OF 5)"
Dear Reader, Believe me, I don’t feel the need to justify myself to you. In regards to the Western musical canon, I’m supremely confident that I know more than you do. In the event of those rare topics of which I am not properly versed, a subtle blend of WikiPedia and my superb writing talent […]Read more "5 Records I Recommend to the Dying (PART 4 OF 5)"
By David Schwittek A Love Supreme – John Coltrane Quartet (1964) I can tell you a whole story about this album. When I was a freshman in college, my creative writing instructor played A Love Supreme for the class as inspiration for…um… creative writing. Shortly thereafter I bought this album for myself at Area Records […]Read more "5 Records I Recommend to the Dying (PART 3 OF 5)"
by David Schwittek Remember when you thought the Grateful Dead were edgy because they used to close out shows with And I Bid You Goodnight? Remember when you were first heard New Riders of the Purple Sage and snickered fondly to yourself, “hippies…” Remember when you first heard Charles Manson’s Lie: The Love and Terror […]Read more "Ever feel kind of dumb for not knowing stuff?"
by David Schwittek Way to Blue: An Introduction to Nick Drake I don’t usually recommend compilations or retrospectives. At best they contain some stilted agenda, and are difficult to follow; at worst, no agenda at all: a musical hodgepodge where the only organizing principle is decade, or theme, or…I guess units shifted? Case in point, […]Read more "5 Records I Recommend to the Dying (PART 2 OF 5)"