This Here’s A Story About Paul And Heather…

March 20, 2008

The verdict finally came down for the divorce case of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. Both sides put forth their cases, and most professional pundits gave forth their opinions on the outcome. Of course, those who were familiar with the case knew that Heather didn’t…uh…have a leg to stand on.

Great, now that that’s out of the way, wee may continue. Under normal circumstances, making fun of the handicapped is a reproachable breach of decorum, a tasteless last bastion of the talentless, humorless hack. On the other hand, it is Heather Mills, and being handicapped and being a gold-digging unrepentant whore cancel each other out.

Granted, we still don’t know all the behind-the-scenes information. Nor do I normally really care all that much. My involvement in the lives of the rich and famous has a pretty sharply declining cliff of interest for me. Without an incredibly graphically detailed description of exactly what it is that a drunken, coked-up Lindsay Lohan does in the darkened hallway of a Lisbon discotheque to earn her reputation as one whose knees are not, in fact, in any danger of permanently getting stuck together, I don’t much care all that much. Cest la vie, and all that, they said, as the Titanic crashed into Gomorrah.

And yet this particular story just irritated me to no end. Not irritated in the same sense that knowing that Social Security isn’t getting fixed or that it’s going to snow at the end of March irritates me, but knowing that there are people out there—undeserving people, mind you—that are getting more than they should ever be rewarded. And Heather Mills seemed to embody that exact, specific demographic.

Mills started off as a mere blip on my cultural radar. It’s not exactly unknown to those who know me that while I will concede that while the Beatles are a cultural icon, I put them right up there with Bear Stears and professional baseball as the single most overrated cultural entity of mankind. Partly it’s the songs—I find that their range of their early bubble-gum pop to their later psychedelic let’s-change-the-world-through-music nonsense has only a small overlapping era of a few years where they produced songs I actually enjoy. Granted, I think the Rolling Stones are overrated, too, but at least they don’t make any pretense about art or world peace or other intangible, unattainable things that sell records but also delude fans into thinking any of it matters. They’re officially known as the E*Trade Rolling Stones, for crying out loud, but at least they’re laughing all the way to the bank, which is more than Ringo Starr can say.

So the trials and tribulations of Paul McCartney’s love life weren’t exactly something I pondered over my toast and mango juice in the morning. I usually concentrate more on crafting new and creative ways to get out of doing any work for that day while still getting paid. So when I offhandedly heard about McCartney finally moving past his beloved Linda, a woman who is a saint because while she couldn’t sing and wasn’t very good within the music industry at least she wasn’t Yoko Ono, I kind of registered that in the back of my mind of things to dredge up from the stormy recesses of my brain if it could ever conceivably help me get in some girl’s pants.

The few times I actually saw Heather I wasn’t impressed. Sure, it’s possible it’s because I only saw her on Larry King Live, which is a painful enough process in and of itself, and it’s possibly that it was the first time I had seen Paul in quite some time, probably since “Band on the Run.” Will I still love him when he’s sixty four? Depends on whether all of his face has to be sixty four. Holy cats, did the doctors just paste big chunks of foam rubber on his face and hope he wouldn’t notice? Anyway, the entire process soured me to Heather, who kind of came off as a bossy witch. (Ahem.) I was willing to write it off at the time that it was because I was watching her try to converse with two extraordinarily old men who didn’t quite seem to grasp the fact that they were, in fact, being broadcast live on television.

But over the next few years my opinion did not approve. Again, I was more than willing to write it off to the grumpiness of someone who has gone through extensive physical trauma in their life, though I kind of assumed marrying a freakin’ Beatle would have been enough of a self-esteem boost. And I was also willing to cut her some slack, not being used to being hounded by the press—and not just the press but the British paparazzi, a relationship that is akin to comparing the jug of stale, fetid water sitting in your garage with an Indian typhoon that’s trying to eat your soul.

As the details of the divorce proceedings came out, though, I turned against the woman. I’m an objective person, or I like to pretend that I am, so I incorporate the fact that I’m probably only getting one side of the story. But somehow I doubt it. Mills maintains that she is not a gold digger, which only proves that she apparently does not exactly know what the definition of a gold digger is. (A good reference for her, by the way: any mirror.) And her protestations that $49 million just wasn’t enough to raise their daughter with—saying, in effect, well, I guess she won’t have enough money to fly home to see daddy—is something that would give any PR executive a heart attack. When she fired her lawyers and represented herself, it may have seemed an aggressive and bold move on her end but really just made her look like a deluded, power-hungry amateur former high-class prostitute and pornographic model. (I’m just sayin’.) The last straw, though, is when, after the verdict, she poured water over the head of Paul’s attorney, the last, desperate, childish act of a desperate, childish woman. And that is all the tasteless justification you need to call her Eileen.


Everybody’s Restless, And They’ve Got No Place To Go

October 14, 2007

Warren Zevon’s been dead for a few years, but I’m not so sure anyone has told him.

Zevon was hardly an iconic member of the music industry. He remains largely unknown to the public, aside from the lamentable novelty recording “Werewolves of London,” his signature song detailing what appears to be a dapper werewolf hanging about in SoHo. This, clearly, was a story that needed to be written down, accompanied with lyrics and catchy piano samples.

Zevon was somewhat of a prankster musician, writing tales of quirky individuals and offbeat topics; his repertoire included since timeless singles as “Mohammed’s Radio” and “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.” He stretched his creative masterpieces to deal with such diverse topics as alcoholism (“Desperadoes Under the Eaves”); drug addiction (“Charlie’s Medicine”); divorce (“Empty-Handed Heart”); rape (“Excitable Boy”); lawyers, guns, and money (“Lawyers, Guns, and Money”); and, to knock on all the doors at once, suicide, abuse, and sadomasochism (“Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”). Once presumes had he ended just one day of his life smiling his head would have collapsed out of sheer lack of originality.

A product of the 70’s California music scene, Zevon’s relationship with the Los Angeles music industry was tenuous at best. When his addictions and proclivities prevented him from maintaining a stable work ethic, he withdrew in a sweaty pool of drug-addled resentment, calling the stars of the era friends while simultaneously burying an emberous jealousy he kept bottled up and eventually converted into another chartless song, no doubt about addiction to stimulants, or, perhaps as a creative change of pace, addiction to depressants. (When your high-water benchmark for success is tied to the achievements of Jackson Browne, you know you’ve sunk to a rather low artistic point.) As such, he gained only modest hits from time to time, and much of the 80’s and 90’s was spent on cheap, low-key solo appearances to pay the bills, the bulk of which I doubt involved receiving an actual W-2 at the end of the year.

Zevon was, of course, hailed as a genius within the music industry itself. The artists participating in his albums read like a Who’s Who Of People Winning The Awards You Probably Could Have Won Had You Kept Yourself From Getting Boozed Up All The Time, You Irresponsible Prick. Luminaries such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, George Clinton, Neil Young, and members of R.E.M., Pink Floyd, and The Grateful Dead all collaborated with Zevon, with mountains and mountains of highly original material that never had a chance of ever making any money or charting on any charts.

Early in life, Zevon apparently stumbled across (one presumes in Michael Hutchence’s billfold) a checklist of incredibly hedonistic things to do to reinforce the image of the wild-man musician. He was a notorious womanizer, consumed more drugs than the rabbit warren at Pfizer, and treated ex-wives and associates with detached disdain. Humorously, he also suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, an affliction he shared with (of all people) Billy Bob Thornton, his neighbor. One can imagine how THAT dinner conversation goes:

Zevon: I wash my hands sixteen times a meal, the number of original albums I’ve released.
Thornton: I open and close my mailbox twenty-five times, the number of movie releases I have starred in.
Zevon: I once injected horse tranquilizers in my rectum.
Thornton: I once drank a cocaine milkshake.
Zevon: I once had a threeway with Linda Ronstadt and Jerry Brown.
Thornton: Angelina Jolie reaches climax when I recite dialogue from Pushing Tin.
Zevon: I am scared of certain shades of fuscia.
Thornton: I’m afraid of antique furniture and silverware.
Zevon: Cool. Coffee?
Thornton: Yes, please. In three cups filled four-fifths of the way. Two and a half sugars, .25 liters milk, 4%.

OCD, of course, was the least of Zevon’s worries. In 2002, he was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer, something that almost went undetected. Zevon was scared of doctors, so never went to them, and even after he found out about his cancer refused pretty much all treatment, deciding instead to do his most important creative work to date: filling in for Paul Schaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman. Oh, and recording some material, as well.

Despite his rather irresponsible lifestyle, he managed to keep his wit. Well, sort of. When you’ve spent a large portion of your life swimming in and out of alcohol, powder, and patented prescription drugs bought out of your pharmacist’s trunk, when you get the news that you’re terminal it’s Katy bar the door. With little repercussions, he spent his last years recording material, ingesting pills, and gaining limited respectability in the public’s eye, not necessarily in that order.

Zevon epitomized one of the greatest contradictions of classic rock. Most of his singles dealt in the abyss of his own character flaws, using music to either legitimize or eradicate them. And yet, unusually for the genre, the songs themselves are rather cheery and pleasant to listen to, something that forces you to drive 90 on the highway instead of sitting in the dark corner of the gym feeding off of your own self-pity at the high school dance. One of his final acts was to bless his ex-wife’s project, the recently released biography of himself, dictating to her that it show all sides of him, positive and negative, a rather tall order to give an ex-wife. Zevon, however, found hopeless escape in his music, as do we.


The King Is Dead! Long Live The Washed-Up Pill-Popping Hack!

August 15, 2007

Elvis has been dead for thirty years, a significant achievement for any deceased person. Elvis is one of those few cultural phenomena that are identified only by their first name, joining that highly esteemed club comprised of Cher, Roseanne, and The Rock. This fact no doubt irritates Elvis Costello to no end, and one suspects just about every baby boy (and one presumes the occasional girl) born in western Tennessee from the years of 1956-1960 or so.

To understate the impact Elvis had on American culture is almost unavoidable. He was one of the first entertainers to be almost universally successful, selling countless albums and racking up nearly twenty #1 hits. More importantly, he was the one person who introduced Middle America to a musical tradition that had at that point not been met with success, a movement so powerful it transformed the music industry forever. That movement was, of course, singing songs created and written by black people but improved by having them performed by people who had made the then-pioneering decision to be born white.

Elvis followed a rather normal ascent into the music industry, playing at gospel choirs and county fairs, slowly gaining fans and prescriptions. But by 1956, he had hit the big time with a mixture of upbeat tempos, crooning voice, and (let’s face it) sex appeal. Entertainment back in the day was almost painfully sanitized, where variety show hosts were routinely hired on the basis of how much they resembled roadkill that had been mulched, and women were cast upon with heated stones if they showed any skin below the neckline or above the hollow, hollow earth. And here comes Elvis—up to this point a literal choir boy—swinging his hips around like a damned hippie, had hippies existed in 1956, which they didn’t, though had he worn a beret and snapped his fingers while thrusting his pelvis about like an unattended garden hose turned up the whole way he could have been mistaken for a rather excitable and therefore uncharacteristic beatnik. Anyone who things it was just the songwriting or the voice are kidding themselves; Elvis introduced sex into music on a grand scale, which to many could only be the work of segregationists or Joseph Stalin.

Elvis managed to put ten singles in the #1 position in a remarkably short time, from the beginning of 1956 to the fall of 1957, one of which I just found out when I looked it up was called “Big Hunk O’ Love,” a title of which makes me seriously doubt the musical taste of anyone born after 1940. But his popularity skyrocketed, and he was easily the most recognizable face in music.

It was during this time that Elvis converted his singling style into something more important than all his previous accomplishments combined—that being, of course, using these songs as a platform to create some of the single worst movies ever put to film, the collective awfulness that had not been matched up until the production of any randomly selected ten minutes of Face/Off.

Time passed. As with all celebrities, his glamour wore off, and by the mid-sixties kids were more interested in licking LSD off of each others’ faces while everyone and their friends were out having sex, inhaling ground-up mushrooms, and shooting presidential candidates than buying his records. Like any good superstar, of course, he reinvented himself. Just as he had pretty much single-handedly brought rockabilly to be a viable commercial genre, in 1968 he invented the concept of the comeback concert. This grandiose concert was performed live in network television and with a jumpsuit that clearly had approximately eighty pounds of sequins, almost equal to the amount of flop sweat he produced during that hour. Once again he became a powerful force in the music industry.

Though not for long. The next decade was stop-and-start, culminating in one of the single greatest cultural achievements of mankind—a picture of Richard M. Nixon, standing awkwardly as he always does in the Oval Office, commissioning one Elvis Aaron Presley as “Federal Agent At Large” for the Bureau of Narcotics. This was insanely laughable in retrospect. Here was Elvis, who by this point no doubt suffered side effects every time he broke a sweat, which, given his weight, was pretty much a perpetual state of being, having the authority bestowed upon him equivalent of a drug enforcement officer. This was so odd that even Richard Nixon later had misgivings about his own judgment about handing a badge over to the King.

It descended quickly from there. While the musical product was good, if sparsely created, his live concerts were jokes and he became a parody of himself, crooning half-asleep in a tired old jumpsuit and sequins locally weighted to help him keep his balance. And had someone sat down and devised the single most inglorious manner in which any man should die, it’s doubtful he could have come up with anything much worse than how Elvis died—at the john, hopped up on drugs and unable to move.

There’s more to Elvis than simply his life and death, of course. Elvis’s rather strange peccadilloes are legendary. Fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches, for instance, seem kind of quaint now in hindsight, what with the fact that he was ingesting about 2% of the profits from Merck for breakfast each morning. But back then, it was just a good ole boy feeding a strange appetite with something that was apparently designed by a four-year-old given the opportunity to create a sandwich out of all the random crap found in the kitchen.

The Elvis fans—then and since—have always been a bit unfortunate to witness. I mean, sure, sure, sure, all singers and movie stars have their fans that are—let’s stay charitable here—crazier than a drunken moonbat. But Elvis fans have somehow origamied this into an entire industry. Graceland, Elvis’s home, is one step away from installing roller coasters and have a pantomime Colonel walking around handing out paraffin pink-Cadillacs-on-a-stick. And they have single-handedly managed to keep the Elvis Is Alive! rumor—with a little bit of help from all of us—for a few decades.

Despite his success, immense wealth, and cultural impact, one can’t help but feel a little sorry for the man. Well, I can. Elvis has the distinction of dying mere weeks before I was born, so I have lived in this world completely Elvis-free. More importantly, the fact that the 30th anniversary of his death is approaching means that the 30th anniversary of my birth is, also. Don’t be cruel, my ass.


Dance Like A Girl, Clap Like A White Boy

May 13, 2007

As many would correctly presume given my disinclination for merriment and my laughably sedentary lifestyle, concert-going is not my preferred choice of entertainment. I certainly do not begrudge anyone else this indulgence; for those who wish to stand in either a intimately crowded, sweltering barroom swilling warm beer and getting jostled by strangers listening to criminally disorganized acoustics or a stadium-packed starlights-and-pony show with all the intimacy of receiving a manufacturer’s rebate check, a concert can be a fun activity even when one realizes they have paid $100 for doing something they could have done in their back yard with a case of Corona Light, a poolside radio, a tire that has just been set on fire, and someone with the necessary surgical skills to disable your eardrums for about eighteen hours.

But, sometimes, it can admittedly be fun. Live performances differ dramatically from the studio-produced albums, so many individuals are willing to pay much, much more to see a two-hour show for their favorite performers. Very few artists, alas, fit this particular threshold for myself, since as a general rule all forms of music stopped being produced approximately in 1978 or so, and most of those artists have found some way to make themselves unavailable for a performance, usually via a combination of pharmaceuticals and distilled spirits. A few have managed to escape this rule, though, and one of those particular bands is They Might Be Giants.

The last concert I had gone to also happened to be They Might Be Giants, which was approximately six thousand years ago. Back then, I was still in high school and, standing in the amphitheater, was deceptively bewildered. TMBG was a known, if not particularly famous, quantity, and there were enough people multiplying the sum total of enthusiasm in the world there to be aware that we were participating in something that was much more than a simple music concert, something that was destined to be an event greater than ourselves. We were there to witness the glory for all that is good and significant in the world—we saw, live and in person, a decidedly phoned-in performance by the individuals eventually responsible for composing the theme song to “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Though, to be fair, accusing the Johns of not giving their all for that concert is an unfair assessment. As my first concert, I deduced that the best thing for me to do would be to stand approximately two nautical miles from the stage and spend most of the time making sure we weren’t going to be assaulted by college punks who I was certain were eyeing us all up as girlfriend-impressing beat-up targets. So perhaps I was too preoccupied to be making such judgments at the time, though to be fair I had more than adequate facilities to make a judgment call, as I was able to reduce the amount of my brain that was concentrating exclusively on women to about 95%.

Fast forward a few generations later, and one of my friends presented me with an opportunity to see them again. They Might Be Giants’s popularity never waned with me, though I honestly only thought about them when they had a new album released, which seemed to come along about once every Supreme Court retirement. So when I realized that this would be a good opportunity to do something I haven’t done in quite some time, I was first in line to buy a ticket, and by “first in line” I mean “spent fourty-five seconds of my life purchasing a ticket off of the internet.”

The venue of choice was Mr. Smalls Funhouse in Pittsburgh—specifically Millvale, a small, rather ordinary former industrial town known primarily for having the highest Family-Dollar-To-Population ratio in America. Mr. Smalls, itself, is a rather notable choice for a venue, as it boasts two particularly striking features: it used to be a church, and when at full capacity has the ability to reach an interior temperature of a thousand degrees Kelvin with 100% humidity. To say that Mr. Smalls is somewhat poorly ventilated is like saying that Mountain Dew is a somewhat inadequate source of nutrition. And, gratefully, the smoking ban in Allegheny County was conveniently lifted merely seconds before all the ticket-holders passed through the now-desecrated cathedral doors, producing an atmosphere that, had any secret agents decided to construct any elaborate laser-based traps to thwart the plans of independently-labeled prank rock bands from putting on a show, they would have not been successful.

The most startling thing that occurred as the concert began was how quickly it made me feel old. Granted, most things make me feel old, such as watching television or reading US magazine, or the dawning realization that I no longer choose the line at the grocery store by the size of the checkout girl’s bust line but on how fast they can get me through so I can beat the rush at the gas station. But in this case, as I watched the fans stroll into line, I realized that They Might Be Giants’s target demographic was based primarily on fourteen year old girls and fat, lazy middle-aged guys, with an approximate ratio of everyone else to me.

But then the show started, and any apprehension of John Linnell and John Flansburg’s abilities for live performance were quickly put to rest. They blew the roof off the dump—though, in reality, I wish they really would have, since it would have injected some oxygen into the place. They rocked harder than Kansas. And they were just the same as they were years ago, Flansburg strutting about the stage with that rather awkward guitar-playing stance, and Linnell’s head rocking back and forth like one of those oiled castors you find primary in Soviet industrial films. The remaining members of the band were a rather energetic lot who I am convinced were all actually the same person. They placated the crowds with quite a few classics, gave us all a preview of their upcoming album, and did one thing that no one, including most Popes, were unable to do: get me to dance.

Hopefully, I didn’t dance much. Or at least I didn’t mean to—there were friends of friends there, friends who may someday be on my jury. And I certainly didn’t dance as much or as intently as this fellow in front of us, whose level of enthusiastic passion roughly equaled that of the Battle of Britain. And watching me dance is like watching Uncle Mike hit on the flower girl at the wedding reception: embarrassing, astonishing in his lack of self-awareness, and something everyone agrees should never have happened and no one will ever speak of again.

And it’s not like They Might Be Giants is a noted producer of dance music. Getting down with, say, “Birdhouse in Your Soul” is like eating pudding with a fork. And yet there’s something oddly electrifying about a live performance that makes you realize that this is fundamentally different that shouting out the lyrics when listening to it in the car and stifling your mouth movements at traffic lights so other drivers don’t notice you sing. And so I was moved to clap, sway, and move jerkingly about in what can only be described as “stroke-like.”

And it’s not like I was physically able to dance all that much, since by this time I had sweated out about twelve bottles of Evian and my oxygen intake had roughly been reduced to moon-landing quantities. And it didn’t help that some moron beside us decided to pull the old hold-the-lighter-up trick after a song. All I wanted to do was tackle him to the ground and shout “You’re sucking up all the precious, precious air!” Thankfully the performers, perhaps sensing my violent intentions, distracted me by playing a particularly impressive version of “James K. Polk.”

But, alas, all things good must soon come to an end, and the mighty show descended quietly to an adequately inspiring conclusion. As we filtered out of the theater, taking in acres of cool, fresh air as it came to us and watching sweaty teenagers wander deliriously to their cars, I slowly worked my way home (or, more accurately, to the grocery store—a hard-fought concert is not complete until you have to stop at the 24 hour market on the way home to get a pint of sour cream and some milk). Hopefully, by the time I see them again, there will be more songs to dance to, better oxygen-distribution systems developed, and a whole new generation of fans to make me feel even older than I do right now.


Road to the Winehouse

May 6, 2007

We don’t do too many personal endorsements here at American Lament. I have a rather personal belief that there is a certain level of subjectivity that affronts all forms of media entertainment, and making such judgments often will elicit equal parts praise and condemnation, and my self-esteem just can’t handle that 50/50 split. But there’s one thing that I’m rather certain about, and that’s the fact that if listening to Amy Winehouse doesn’t cause you to wet your pants with any of the three eligible methods, you are clinically a jackass.

It’s not that Amy Winehouse is a household name in the states. And it’s a bit surprising that I’ve fallen madly and deeply in love with her, since her demographics and genre normally don’t fit into my tastes. As a general rule, anything written, recorded, or produced after approximately 1975 has to meet the increasingly demanding threshold of a J-curve of rockability. And unless a female artist 1) makes me cry, 2) is unafraid of massive displays of cleavage, or, preferably, 3) both, it’s highly doubtful I’m all that interested. And once instruments that require you blow into them to make the appropriate noise required in the song are introduced, there’d better be a color guard unit or a Mexican chain restaurant commercial handy, else I’m gonna be pissed.

And yet Amy Winehouse stands tall and firm atop the crushed skulls of those she has defeated for my heart. Winehouse would hardly fit into my CD collection, which a gay observer once described as “really gay.” I got my first exhilarating taste of Winehouse whilst riding in the car with one of my friends, when the intimately replayable “Rehab” came on. I was transfixed by the throaty vocals, the almost deceptively childish lyrics, and the aggressively forceful meter (or, perhaps, metre).

It was a rather odd thing for me to perk my ears up at. I mean, the songs I usually enjoy listening to involve the inability to receive satisfaction in a sufficient manner or how you cannot change those birds that have had that glorious opportunity to be free. And here it is, emitting through the airwaves, a rather blatant harkening to the days of Phil-Spector-produced manufactured oldies, before he started killing B-movie actresses and using microwaved crude oil as hair gel.

It wasn’t long until I learned a little bit more about her biography. As is the wont for pretty much every rock star ever in the entire course of all of history, she has had repeated issues with drugs and alcohol, often showing up at awards shows and bat mitzvahs for rich professionals either lit up or thumbing rides on passing kites. While she claims that she’s lost weight by hitting the gym more frequently as an alternative to smoking pot (if only!), many assume that repeated offhand comments by catty columnists about her weight tapped into some sort of long-suppressed anorexic and/or bulimic impulse. And she has occasionally reacted violently in embarrassingly public forums, such as heckling Bono and suckerpunching grateful fans. In one fell swoop, then, she has tapped into the angst of elderly African-American blues artists, young blonde starlets, and Madonna ex-husbands all at once.

The most important thing to remember is that Winehouse is attempting to infuse a little bit of originality into the modern music scene. Granted, she’s just kind of ripping off every single girl band from the years 1962-1965, but what form of music isn’t an unashamed plagiarism of style of a form of music that became popular when whites performed it about ten years after blacks perfected it? And the music today, it’s probably yet another boy band or sluttily dressed preteens belting out studio-corrected vaguely defined prevarications about “being together forever” or “living life to the fullest” and spelling words in their song titles like they’re sending a telegram that costs by the syllable. The jazz-inspired songs of Winehouse are a fusion of many of these things, but with the attitude of not wanting to sound like everybody else. While this hasn’t necessarily translated into commercial success, of course—and, let’s face it, it never does—it’s caught the critics’ eyes and has made her a remarkably prescient music entity in the Commonwealth.

Still, one can only hope that this errant strain of creativity will continue to produce ever-increasing results. Listening to one of Amy Winehouse’s full albums, alas, makes one wonder if her drum machine is rented by the bridge, and the smooth, tender vocals make you eventually believe that significantly more depressants might actually make her sound much brighter. One suspects that if things don’t become a bit more diverse by the third album, she’ll be relegated to coffee shop muzak and a coaching slot on American Idol 14. Still, rumor has it she’s one of the select few to be chosen to compose a James Bond title track, so she’ll always have that. At least in the context of a second-rate moderately successful artist with more exposure on British late-night tabloid shows than on the actual live radio or album sales, if you’re a Jewish British faux-little-l-lesbian jazz artist, you can make it big in this world.