Jeffrey writes, "The song 'Hotel California,' which I have just written about for the hybrid (academia-meets-journalism) periodical Boom: A Journal of California, has garnered legions of fans (and detractors) and taken on a variety of meanings as it has made its way around the globe. Well known in China and India, among other places, it even made a cameo appearance in the American spy plane incident of 2001, when Chinese guards asked members of the U.S. crew of a downed surveillance jet to tell them the words to this well known song from their country."
Perhaps the first to reflect on the curious international fame of the song was Pico Iyer, who is quoted by and interviewed for my essay. In his Video Night in Katmandu, Iyer has a memorable description of hearing that tune and John Denver's "Country Roads" (another that can quality for "global ear-worm status", to borrow a phrase from a tweet about my piece by @mauracunningham ) in Manila in the 1980s. On the site, you will find my comments on what it meant to have "Hotel California" be the first song I ever heard in India, as well as on topics such as how often, despite the dark lyrics the Eagles wrote, it is assumed in Asia to be an upbeat take on the American state so often associated with sunny Hollywood, happy Beach Boys numbers, and Disneyland. BOOM's editor has also peppered the online version with photographs of actual places called "Hotel California" that can be found around the world.
Pussy Riot’s video for “Straight Outta Vagina” frames the poppy, danceable song with visuals calculated to enrage the Kremlin, with LA’s Ace Hotel standing in for church where various genderbent dancers receive communion while singing the praises of vaginas. Given that the last iteration of this theme landed the musicians in a hard labor gulag […]
Pete Burns, fabulous freak singer of 1980s dance-pop group Dead or Alive, died yesterday of cardiac arrest. He was 57. From The Guardian: Burns rose to fame in the 1980s with the band’s hit so ng You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). He also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, coming fifth in […]
Are you jonesing for a dose of optimism and possibility? In the mood to contemplate the cosmos? Want to experience a musical message for extraterrestrials the way it was meant to be played? The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, a project I launched with Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, is a lavish vinyl box […]
TV antennas are making a comeback, and the Ghost Indoor HDTV antenna is a great example of why. Unlike the old bunny ear-style antennas, this compact antenna is barely noticeable and picks up channels easily. Plus with the addition of streaming services like Netflix, we find ourselves with plenty to watch without a pricey monthly cable bill. The Ghost […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]