Friday, January 09, 2015

the Barbs dynamic

hi there

the post that i was going to do the other day when i wasn't going to do any but did that other thing instead, then. the so-called Spiros Card one.

Barbs, ladies and gents, or 'Babs' as a fringe yet devout Canadian element of her fanbase would appear to call her, condescended to release a technically new album during the course of 2014. i am not looking for it or linking it here, but at that time she, you might recall, granted them off the tele, Sky, a one question interview in promotion of that release.

when it comes to purchasing a new Barbs release i, as you can well imagine, immediately waited for six or so months until i saw the price drop at least twice, then bought it five or so days later.

i bought the Barbs CD Partners as the ostensibly main part of a 2 for £10, the secondary disc or if you like discs of which will be revealed later, look you see.

getting a Barbs album for £5 is a coup of note, ladies and gentlemen, is it not? Barbs lives a life in which she imagines people should be paying at least that much just to be inside a shop that sells her products, at which point one is encouraged to spend a good deal more on Barbs merchandise. off the top of my head, if i recall right £10 or thereabouts is the amount she currently charges for a plastic bag from a tour from some 20 years ago, back then when she got all giddy and animated about Bill Clinton being President and decided to, once more, be amongst her people. and we are all, dear reader, her people.

so what is the new album? a fair question, since the "one question only" approach to an interview about it allowed for little of what one would generally see as promotion or indication of content. on a somewhat superficial level, it takes its title, that being Partners, as a means of referencing the fact that the album features the Barbs doing duets. on a rather more practical level, it reveals that Barbs has a somewhat unorthodox view of what does or does not count as a duet or a partnership. probably a lasting legacy of her time doing Yentl or similar, but no matter.

a look at the CD tray insert thing? why, certainly, since you asked. it delves somewhat further into the world of the peculiar ideas that the Barbs has.

appreciating that this image is not too clear, from what you can make out of it your question no doubt is just what the hell is that which Barbs is stood next to and smiling about. in truth, i have no firm knowledge, but i can take a guess.

as far as my (considerably) better half and i can work out, the above is supposed to be some sort of bed. not any normal sort of bed that you, i or about seven billion other people would be allowed to use, or if you like lay on, of course. no, it's a special Barbs bed. the isolar casket nature of it allows the person in it to gaze exclusively at the most Barbs thing in the world whilst asleep, which is Barbs.
here is a lunch that i had during the week. it is actually a chicken sandwich, but yes that is a stack of bacon on it. here in England, look you see, the phrase "with bacon" does not exist, for that implies that for some reason one would purchase something that does not have bacon with it.

this is a pretty regular lunch for a chap at verk to have, i suppose. nothing grandiose, fancy or clever. this, ladies and gents, represents the problem faced with the Barbs album. beyond the fact that, if my memory serves me right in respect of her persuasions or proclivity when it comes to issues of faith, it's very unlikely that she would happily have bacon, Barbs does not "get" what other people are, and has no wish to do so. Barbs has a life which is all New York apartment Monday, private ski ranch (or whatever) in Aspen for a few days on Tuesday, a stop off in Washington to demand that whoever the President is (her people mention it in passing) "do good" on a Thursday, and then off to Malibu on a Friday for Barbs things, like having a passion for design and allowing those who she will tolerate to visit and pay homage to her.

in short, Barbs simply does not quite get or really appreciate that not everyone has the exquisite dynamics of her existence. i can, for instance and at random, understand how her uber-mega luxury production of the song What Kind Of Fool with John Legend made perfect sense to her in her surroundings, but as i listened to it whilst sat on a somewhat suspension-free and shock absorber lacking bus heading to the wonders of a petrochemical winterland one fine morning i couldn't but help feel that i was not in the correct setting to fully appreciate the song.

the world is at fault for not everyone having the Barbs life, of course, and not Barbs.

in respect of the important element of the above statement, here is an image of me "ripping" the CD to my PC, ahead of transferring it to my pod of i. and oh, don't you worry, there's a very, very good whine about Apple coming up later, kids.

beyond me listening to the album in entirely the wrong setting, or if you like locale, what's it like? exquisite, brilliant and amazing across the board, except for the bits where it is all "blergh" and "meh" and "um".

fans of the artists that Barbs theoretically duet with are in for something of a surprise. they sound different than they do on their usual, lesser records, as they have had to perform to a standard that did not displease Barbs. what happens when one displeases Barbs? i would not wish to find out.

a particular treat, and strong example of the above, is the presence of Billy Joel, doing a Billy Joel song. for once, and arguably for the first time since those halcyon days of Piano Man, he sings with an immense clarity, seemingly dropping that "let me sing this so it makes it sound like it is coming out of my arse" approach which has served him so very well for a number of decades.

a brief break from Barbs, then, to look at the other disc, or if you like discs (for it was and remains a 2CD set) purchased as part of the 2 for £10 deal. i looked at what they offered, saw a best of Fleetwood Mac set, observed that it commenced with Monday Morning, and promptly selected it..

man. i mean, wow. just how rock and roll is Lindsey Buckingham in that picture? that's how i want to look, dudes. he is awesome, the personification of how 70s rock looked at its best.

Monday Morning is awesome. every line of the song, every striking of the guitar, carries with it a sense of the fact that the band preceded it with an awful lot of cocaine. every song ever that they did for the next 3 or 4 years had the same sense, and it was awesome, man. i have said this before, and shall say it again now - going on how awesome the album Rumours is, it should be law that every band that makes an album should be locked in a studio with a mountain of cocaine and encouraged to randomly, sporadically f*** each other to make great music.

but we must leave such vices now, and return to the virtue of Barbs. inside the booklet, which is printed on very nice, shiny glossy paper that it doesn't really matter how many people died to produce, one gets to see the full, uncensored image which in an abridged way serves as the cover for the album. 

i have alluded to the possibility that the Barbs interpretation of what is a duet or partnership might in many ways differ from the conventional. 

an awful lot of this album sounds not so much as being "duets" in the traditional sense, but rather more a case of Barbs singing along to tapes that lesser musicians ("artists") have sent her and having her people record her as she wanders around, doing all them amazing Barbs things. from this project, one suspects, they simply selected the ones that Barbs sang over with the least amount of condescending tone and decided that they were the album.

there is, ladies and gentlemen, scant evidence that any of the musicians ("artists") that Barbs sang over were even in the same timezone as her when these were done, let alone the same studio. the beautiful booklet, of the most finest and lavish of shiny paper known to man or dolphin, features pictures of the non-Barbs people in the studio recording stuff that they hope, if they value life, does not displease Barbs.

i was particularly impressed with the picture of Lionel Richie, as it seems that he brought Danny DeVito into the studio with him. smart brown jacket, that.

is Partners worth getting, then? if you can get it for £5 then yes. for that money i got the "exclusive deluxe" version, which features the classic song Guilty shoved on the end. it is nice for Barbs to give us that song again, and means that you can listen to it without changing the CD.

not that i listened to the CD. i "ripped" it and eventually put it on my pod of i. i say eventually, because of course this means using an Apple product, and that is something that Apple do not like you doing, no matter how much money you throw at them for the honour and privilege of owning one of their products.

oh yes, here we go with the whine and the moan and groan section of this blog post. move along if you have no interest, dear reader.

here is a photo of iTunes. that exclamation mark is indicating that, in their wisdom, Apple have decided to do an update to iTunes which erased everything that i had on my pod of i as i attempted to put Barbs on. cheers for that.

i do get sick of this. Apple have made one - one - decent product, in the form of the iPod, or iPod "classic" as we are now supposed to call it. make no mistake, and do not get me wrong - i am absolutely thrilled and delighted for them that they have managed to convince so many people that it is "cool" and "class" to own their sh!t iPhone and their sh!t iPad. i would have no quarrel at all, except that the completely sh!t hardware in all of their other "i" products necessitates almost hourly updates to iTunes and "iOS". every now and then this seems to just completely trash whatever it is i have on my humble iPod. great, cheers for that.

"oh, you can just restore it", you say. a fair point, but why exactly is it that i should be in a position where i have to frequently restore a product? would you be impressed, dear reader, if you had a car that at random Ford or BMW or whoever made you try and put a new engine in once a month, and then hear the words "sorry, just put the old one back" when it didn't quite work.

the iPod "classic" is the only truly peerless, excellent product that Apple made. i wish there were a rival to it, as i would happily switch. i was excited when i heard that Sony were going to rejuvenate the Walkman brand; slightly less excited when they indicated the price for this would be £900. yes, one hundred short of a thousand notes.

and i know Apple do not care. i know their CEO says Apple are "all about profit, not market". they do not care about consumers, they just want the money and leave you to it, acting cool with their sh!t product instead of accepting you have paid money for sh!t. this particular bough of convincing everyone that they are buying a brilliant product when they are not shall eventually break, i suspect.

anyway, as you can clock, the pod of i is more or less back to being as it should be, and i had Barbs on and listened to it and it was good.

a picture of me holding the CD to conclude? sure, why would i not include such a thing?

what does the sticker on the CD case have on it? the artists that Barbs has ostensibly done a "partner" with saying things that they hope will not displease Barbs. highlights include that Michael Bobble (or whatever, not Bolton, Bubbly or something) fella saying "God kissed her throat", and the no-nonsense, please let me live words of John Legend; "to sing with Barbra is an honor". yes, American spelling of honour for authenticity. for Barbs there is nowhere else but America.

i will probably have a listen to that Fleetwood Mac set next week, and let my mind wander at just how rich Colombia as a nation got off the back of the band and their recording sessions in the 70s.

many thanks, as ever, for reading, and happy listening to Barbs.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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