As I’m still two comics behind, I figured a quick sketch would be a good way to knock out some of the deficit. I did this one on actual paper! That doesn’t happen much anymore, though it’ll probably happen more next month when I’m visiting family (many of whom lack basic, fundamental things like wifi).
I was looking back through several of my posts from the past couple of months last night (insomnia is a curse, I tell ya). I noticed while cruising through my archives that I’ve made a considerable number of typos.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal; this is, after all, the Internet, where typos are just the natural order and cats “can has cheezburger.” But I worked as a writing consultant in graduate school, and I’ve always prided myself on using (mostly) proper and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation in my writing, whether it’s for the Internet or a business letter.
Admittedly, part of the problem is that I’ve been doing most of my posting for the past four months on the iPad. And, while there are many things to recommend the iPad, the whole “typing on a touchscreen” thing ain’t one of ’em. I make a lot of mistakes, and I often miss said mistakes.
So, if you notice that some older posts have been edited and that the text below a comic suddenly is grammatically correct, it’s because I got annoyed and decided to make some corrections.
After all, it’s the Internet. If I couldn’t go back and rewrite history to suit my needs, what would be the point?
I’m a big fan of all things Dylan. That includes both Bob and his son, Jakob. I got into the latter’s band, the Wallflowers, like pretty much every single other person in the world: the songs “6th Avenue Heartache” and “One Headlight” off their second album, the excellent Bringing Down the Horse. But then, unlike most people, I went ahead and stuck with them, picking up every album since then and even their debut, the self-title The Wallflowers.
When I first encountered the record, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it. it seemed too unfocused, too sloppy, too meandering to really have much of an impact on me. You could actually almost hear Jakob Dylan making an effort to say, “See? I’m not my dad, I’m my own man making my own music!” There are conscious stabs at making deep statements (“Hollywood” and “Somebody Else’s Money,” mostly), but mostly it’s just Dylan and his band trying to craft convincing American rock and roll.
Looking back at it now, I can see that they actually managed to succeed a little, despite the lack of critical praise or much public interest. As my brother mentioned when I was discussing the album with him yesterday, there are songs where you can hear the members of the band straining to play to the best of their ability, moments when they’re clearly just balls-to-the-wall tearing into a song and playing it as hard and as affectingly as possible. And those are some damn good moments, as it turns out: “Sugarfoot” remains the best song on the album, as far as I’m concerned. I was convinced of it the first time I heard the record, and I remain convinced to this day. But other tracks, such as “Sidewalk Annie,” “Ashes to Ashes,” and “After the Blackbird Sings,” are all just as strong. Jakbob Dylan may have still needed some polish on his lyrics and delivery, but the emotion was definitely there and the underlying structures were usually pretty solid.
Admittedly, some of the songs do run a bit long (looking at you again, “Hollywood” and “Somebody Else’s Money”), and some of them are rather repetitive (I love “Asleep at the Wheel,” but it gets old after about three minutes and then decides to run for another minute forty-eight after that), while others are just downright boring (“Honeybee” and “Be Your Own Girl”). But honestly, as albums go, it’s more killer than filler. Of the twelve songs on the album, I really only want to skip over four, and that’s better than a lot of debuts go.
Ultimately, The Wallflowers is a flawed but promising start. It’s interesting to think that, after this album tanked commercially, Dylan and his organist, Jaffe, ditched the rest of the group and got a new drummer, guitarist, and bass player for Wallflowers 2.0. This new incarnation, of course, went on to record Bringing Down the Horse, and the rest is history, as it were. But there’s still a part of me that wonders where the band could have gone if that first album had been more of a success…