The Word: March Issue and CD
An ambivalent-looking KT Tunstall graces the cover of March's The Word. She's not only ambivalent. She's "freewheelin'" and part of the "The New Folk Revival", deemed worthy of the mag's cover this month. You know it's a big story when it knocks "How Capote Got Away With Murder" to a small headline on the side, right above "Parody Album Sleeves". "Nick Drake: The case re-opened" is given a more prominent space at the top of The Word's cover. The headline refers to an article about a new biography about Drake, also excerpted in the mag, rather than to the actual re-opening of any investigation into Drake's death. Perhaps a trifle misleading, but as if to make up for it, The Word recommends a dozen Nick Drake songs: "Place To Be", "Time Has Told Me", "Cello Song", "River Man", "Fruit Tree", "Hazey Jane II", "Hazey Jane I", "Northern Sky", "At The Chime Of A City Clock", "Fly", "Pink Moon", and "Black Eyed Dog".
There are also plenty of acoustic music recommendations, cleverly placed immediately following The Word's interview with KT Tunstall. Like her? Then try Beth Gibbons! And Adem! And Stephen Fretwell! Seth Lakeman too! And... 26 other recommendations, although technically something like "Oxford Folk Festival" is more of a "festival" than an artist. Lots of artists are mentioned too.
Joss Whedon and Fiona Apple are interviewed in this issue, but not together.
Plus, the 20 worst and best cartoon characters ever "as decided arbitrarily by The Word".
Some of the "worst cartoons ever":
- Fred Bassett
- The entire cast of Doonesbury ("Does anyone have a clue what the hell is supposed to be going on here?")
- The Smurfs ("When someone goes blue, aren't they supposed to die?")
- The Love Is... couple ("Revolting, sugary, twee, precious little cartoons that make you a) vomit out your entire skeleton, and then b) wonder if hate was really all that bad.").
...The worst cartoon character ever according to The Word is The Crazy Frog.
Some of the "best cartoons ever":
- Spongebob Squarepants ("Enormously funny and lovable")
- Doctor Zoidberg (from Futurama)
- Dale Gribble (from King of the Hill)
- Beavis and Butthead ("The end of civilization when they came out in 1993. Now rather quaint and endearing." No explanation for why the two count as one)
- The Powerpuff Girls
- Cartman from South Park
- Brian from Family Guy ("Yes, there have been talking dogs on TV before. But not one that says, 'Hey, barkeep, whose leg do you have to hump before you get a dry martini round here?'")
... And the greatest cartoon character ever, according to the Word, is Homer Simpson.
Showing their versatility, some of the Word's writers have also written about their favorite love songs. Some of the choices: Deana Carter's "Did I Shave My Legs For This?", Billy Bragg's "The Price I Pay", The Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden", Bruce Springsteen's "Drive All Night", and Pet Shop Boys' "Love Comes Quickly".
Review-wise, Dar Williams' My Better Self is highly praised ("Music from the heart and the head, accomplished and highly listenable").
On She Will Have Her Way, an album combining Split Enz, Crowded House, and assorted solo Finn songs with covers of the songs sung by women from Australia and New Zealand, the reviewer feels "the women uncover a sensitivity and a delight in dancing on the edge of melancholy that makes the Finns such great songwriters and makes you wonder if the natural voice of their songs is actually female."
The response to William Orbit's Hello Waveforms is mixed ("the fun is never anything other than safe... Hello Waveforms is unquestionably a thing of beauty, but it's an ambient throwback rather than the herald of a new electronica age.")
The Word Magazine March 2006 CD Track Listing:
1. Nouvelle Vague - Teenage Kicks (from Nouvelle Vague)
2. The Minus Five - My Life As A Creep (from Minus 5 (aka The Gun Album))
3. Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
4. Citizen Cope - Bullet And A Target
5. Stephen Duffy - The Deal (from I Love My Friends)
6. The Czars - Song To The Siren
7. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins - Handle With Care
8. Sophie Solomon - Lazarus (from Poison Sweet Madeira, featuring vocals by KT Tunstall)
9. Judy Collins - Can't Cry Hard Enough
10. William Orbit - They Live In The Sky (from Hello Waveforms)
11. Richard Thompson - Shenandoah
12. Imogen Heap - Hide & Seek
13. Martha Redbone - Hard Livin'
14. Kris Kristofferson - The Last Thing To Go
~ Note: This month's CD is the first I've seen from The Word (or Word of Mouth when the mag went by that name) to come in a cardboard sleeve rather than in a jewel box ~