The Consumption: Nov. 19-ish

FILM: The Third Man: First and foremost, the zither score is fantastic. I want it as a ringtone, which is not something that usually occurs to me, because I have never used a tone other than chimes. But the mood that it sets is so… off. The music is upbeat but not exactly happy. It’s propulsive but not hugely energetic. It’s just… singular seems like a good word for it.
Aside from that, it’s gorgeous. Black and white always looks better, but the old Vienna setting is beautiful and the actual photography is beautiful, vivid… they supposedly hosed down the roads to make the cobblestones more reflective, to give an idea of the amount of effort they put in. And as for the actual film, it’s classic noir, with an effortlessly good turn by Orson Welles as Harry Lime, the dead man who drives all the film’s action. Understandably classic.

VINYL: The Turtles – Happy Together Again: “Happy Together” is the song that most people know, and “Elenore” is the reason I bought it, but I was still surprised at how good the rest of this two-disc collection is (yes, yes, I’m overwhelmingly positive in this blog, but why would I go out of my way to consume crappy things?). I’d known that the two main Turtles went on to back up T. Rex and work with Zappa, but that was always an oddity to me. Listening to this, it now makes more sense. The songs are pure pop (they were reliable hitmakers) but the chords are a lot more interesting than you’d think. Even in “Happy Together,” if you listen to the lead guitar, there’s more going on than you likely remember.

CD: Tom Waits – Glitter and Doom Live: Last time Waits went live, it was on the stone classic Big Time, which brought even more bark to tunes like “16 Shells from a 30.06.” But that was pre-Bone Machine, pre-Mule Variations, Alice, Blood Money… all of which leaves a lot of room for Glitter and Doom to play. On the plus side, he goes as far back as Rain Dogs and touches on some tracks from most of the albums up to Real Gone and Orphans (though Alice and Blood Money are conspicuously absent) but the trouble is, he’s stuck solely in gruff-man vocal mode. Which means “Dirt in the Ground” doesn’t have the falsetto that made the original so haunting, for example, and the whole thing starts to wear a bit thin by the end. Seeing it live would’ve been something, as the stage experience is supposedly quite elabourate, but it’s missing something here. A second disc of rambling storytelling and banter is almost more entertaining, somehow, and makes a great addition.

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