The onetime lead singer of the bluesiest of the 1960s British Invasion bands returns to form and then some on his best album in many years. Still in fine form vocally, his raw and passionate voice addresses such political concerns as “Water” (the coming global concern), his own youthful rebellion and the recent Arab Spring (“Old Habits Die Hard”), and how New Orleans has yet to recover from Hurricane Katrina (“River Is Rising”). The music is rich blues-inflected rock, still close to the primal influences that originally inspired him such as Bo Diddley, who Burdon pays homage to (“Bo Diddley Special”) and closes out the set by covering (“Before You Accuse Me”). A fine work of maturity that still bristles with youthful piss and vinegar.
This tale of heroism, scandal and redemption will probably give you pause about flying, but it’s also a fine human drama that takes on substance abuse with brutal truthfulness. Denzel Washington plays an airline pilot who crash lands a malfunctioning plane and saves the lives of most everyone on board despite having drank alcohol and ingesting cocaine before the flight. The emotional consequences plus the airline's attempt to cover up his issues create powerful dynamics in a story in which the aftermath is as gripping as the opening scenes that show the airliner break down and the struggle to put it down without killing all aboard. In the end it's really not about air crashes, drugs and alcohol but what it means to be a man.
I came to this show created by and starring the masterful comedian Louis C.K. a bit late in the game as its three seasons have passed, but it's one of those gems well worth seeking out. C.K. plays a character not unlike himself: a divorced father of two kids and standup comedian living in New York City. Its loose structure and the fashion in which it was shot give Louie an almost documentarian feel that further heightens its resonance. The laughs come often and frequently with meaning and commentary behind them, and the splice of real life with absurdity results in great comic effect. And like the movie above, in the end this too is all about what it means to be a man.
From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2013
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