Dear Lover
Dear Future Collective 001
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I’ve been hearing the name of former A & M recording artist Matthew Ryan for several years, thus I was looking forward to his latest release. Now I’ve had a taste and I can’t say that I hunger for more. Ryan has a gravely voice—mildly reminiscent of John Mellencamp—and he pushes it to its limits. The latter effect, at least on Dear Lover, has the effect of robbing his character- and situation-filled narratives of much of their impact. So too does the trippy, trance-like tunes in which he wraps them. “City Life,” for instance, is framed in spacey tones and propulsive rave-like beats. It would work better as the backdrop for a sci-fi film score than as commentary on urban grit. In fact, much of the music is centered on tonal soundscaping and sustained chords in which melodic structures are pushed into the bottom of a thick aural soup. I mostly liked his sparser songs, such as the folky “The World Is.” Oddly enough, the songs that had the least going on are the ones that most engage the listener; they are, simply, more approachable. Ryan has made a dozen records in a very short period of time and perhaps it’s time to slow down and work on tunes more suitable for planet Earth.


Jesus, Stop These People!

Does this product endanger our souls?

Pity the poor parodist. Parody used to be an ignoble but lucrative profession where a guy could actually make a (semi-) honest buck making up stuff. No more. The world has grown so seriously weird that it’s impossible to invent anything that’s more absurd than reality.

Don’t believe me? Ladies and gentleman of the jury I direct your attention to Exhibit A from Dream Products Incorporated: the copper, magnetic Jesus bracelet. Boy, talk about covering all the bases. Why for three pennies shy of a Hamilton you get—as the ad promises—the “penetrating power of magnets,” the “soothing power of copper,” and the “healing power of Jesus.” Dream Products also tells us that this bracelet has the potential to cure tendonitis, arthritis, bursitis, back pain, poor circulation, “and more.”

The very existence of such a miracle product raises profound phenomenological and theological conundrums. I’ve got some of the aforementioned aches and pains, and this morning I broke out with a debilitating case of “and more.” So let’s say I shell out $9.97 for a bracelet (call toll free and pay no shipping or handling!). And let’s assume that one morning I wake up pain free. Who do I praise? Jesus? Anaconda Copper? Or maybe William Gilbert who, in 1600, unraveled the mystery of magnetic charges and coined the word “electric?” How do I know?

I think the National Institute of Health and the Attorney General’s office need to investigate this product. Far be it from me to suggest that the Jesus Bracelet should go the way of patent medicines or the electric belt. The word “fraud” never passed my lips. No, my friends, this product must be stopped because it threatens to induce nothing less than a crisis of faith in our fair land. After all, what would happen to my eternal soul after I die if I meet Gilbert on the other side of the great divide and he’s really pissed at me for lighting a candle for the wrong guy?