One thing about Aretha Franklin: She knows how to keep a man. Since the early '60s, Franklin has told the ladies a thing or two about how to stay on top of things, so to speak (barring that fluke anthem she did with Annie Lennox in 1985, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves," with a cornball factor so high that the Spice Girls covered it.) No doubt, the woman's one no-excuses authority on relationships. So you say you got problems? Forget Dr. Phil, sister. Listen to Dr. Franklin instead. Take some guidance from her most famous songs:
"Jump to It" (1981)
DO be at your lover's beck and call. Rehearse this phrase over and over, so when your baby calls you'll know what to say to your friends: "Girl, I've got to go! I got to go, now, really." (Click)
DON'T forget to answer your lover in scat-sung gibberish like you're Zippy the Pinhead.
DO speak in abstractions and rely on telepathy.
DON'T expect speaking in abstractions and relying on telepathy to actually get through to him.
DO give your man money. Especially if he's a good kisser.
DON'T assume he's entirely literate. Teach him how to spell words important to you, like R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Maybe he'll look it up in the dictionary and find out what it means to you and the rest of the planet.
"A Rose Is Still a Rose (What I Am)" featuring Lauryn Hill (1998)
DO memorize Shakespeare's oeuvre. It will come in handy at some point during the relationship.
DON'T sleep on Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Whatever happened to them anyway?
"Until You Come Back to Me" (1974)
DO rap on doors, tap on windowpanes, and camp out on the steps of lovers who jilted you.
DON'T think it's odd to sing a breakup song in an upbeat major key with trilling flutes. This isn't happening, remember?
"Do-Right Woman, Do-Right Man" (1967)
DO order yourself a Do-Right Man blow-up doll in three easy payments of just $29.99. Lord knows he don't do right all night.
DON'T worry. The Do-Right Woman version will be included as our special gift to your guy at no additional cost. You can't be perfect all the time. -- Makkada Selah
Aretha Franklin plays at 8 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $43 to $75. Call 561-750-1668.
Let My Poseurs Go
As the Jews toiled in the land of Egypt in ancient times so does pop-punk refuse to yield to its oppressors today. In the spirit of Passover, which starts on Sunday, the youngsters at New Times ask the Four Questions of the upcoming Bowling for Soup/American Hi-Fi show at the Culture Room. (By the by, the youngest kid at a Jewish seder asks everyone else the four big ones each Pesach, you goyim. )
Question Number 1: Why is it that all other shows during the year offer either pop or punk, but this show offers only pop-punk?
Answer: Pop-punk reminds us that critics and adults are clueless. We listen to Bowling for Soup because we cherish our all-knowing, not-caring youth. Or whatever.
Question Number 2: Why is it at other shows we drink all kinds of beverages, but at this show we drink only soft drinks?
Answer: Soft drinks remind us that we're underage and fake-ID-less. Like Moses confronted Pharoah, we will, with all our might, attempt to wrangle beers from the upstairs bartender.
Question Number 3: Why is it that at other shows we do not visit the bathroom even once, but at this show we visit it several times?
Answer: Does my hair look OK? That girl in the tube top keeps looking over here and the bathroom mirror is covered in stickers.
Question Number 4: Why is it at other shows we dance either with our arms folded or not at all, but at this show we dance like horny baboons?
Answer: Dancing like baboons reminds us that even though it's worse than the Ten Plagues, pop-punk wields the holy power to move our asses. And forget the tube top-chick, dude. She's out of your league. -- Jonathan Zwickel
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Bowling for Soup, American Hi-Fi, Riddlin' Kids, and MC Lars play at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-564-1074.
Sight + Sound
If you haven't already been convinced that the Drive-by Truckers are the shit-stormin', hell-raisin', three-guitar-grindin' saviors of Southern Rawk, goddamn son, you need to park it in front of your TV and take in the raucous proof. The Alabama five-piece makes records that punch like a desperate bar brawler, recounting gritty tales of crooked lawmen, righteous sinners, and reluctant salvation. But the visual testimony offered by Live at the 40 Watt, which came out last month, is impossible to deny. During their two-night stand at the venerable Athens, Georgia, venue in August of last year, the band showed not just its full-throated, raw power but the bleak, back-roads poetics that draw listeners into a half-true Southern gothic tragedy. The Truckers have a triple threat up front -- guitarists/vocalists Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and Jason Isbell rotate as lead dog with almost every song. In the film, their connections to rock's greatest icons are illuminated -- especially in Hood's Petty-like drawl and Isbell's Springsteen rasp. In fact, the Truckers are the Dixie-bred version of the E Street Band, playing like the Boss would if he came from rural Alabama instead of central Jersey.
The DVD is almost exclusively straight concert footage; a few dressing-room forays catch Hood and Cooley ornery and garrulous. The editing is flawless, offering kaleidoscopic close-up angles of the stage but perhaps too few crowd shots. Greater behind-the-scenes footage would've been nice also, but that's not what the band was going for here. Instead, the experience is like being on-stage at the show, watching the DBTs run through most of the Dirty South album and a few older tunes, including "Marry Me" and "The Living Bubba," which comes with an extended, emotive introduction by Hood. This is a group that has deserved greater attention since it broke out ten years ago. If enough of the uninitiated stumble onto these two hours of digitally pure, Drive-by grandeur, they might finally get it. -- Jonathan Zwickel