The Empire Strikes Bach

Sony has claimed that it owns the copyright for the works of Johann Sebastian Bach—more than 1,100 of them.

Now, you might think the fact that Bach died in 1750 would put his music safely in the public domain, seeing as how it’s 178 years out of copyright (under the American system of author’s death plus 70 years). But there the story was, appearing in several news accounts this past week, all prompted by a Boing Boing report about how “you can’t play Bach on Youtube” without getting served with a takedown notice. Even the jazz historian Ted Gioia, as sane a music critic as exists these days, was prompted to tweet “Sony says they own his compositions.”

What’s Your Politics? What’s Your Religion?

Josh Tillman has been praying in public under his haha-just-goofing-doesn’t-mean-anything-promise Father John Misty moniker for six years now, but never more openly than in his latest album, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’. The confessional is waiting and there are 10 lush songs to get through owning all the ways he’s made sacred love profane, with invitation for our souls to get naked, too. He’s hurt his wife, Emma; he has hurt himself; and, Jesus, the Almighty, He won’t leave Tillman the hell alone.

Athens and Yeezy

Kanye West broke the already broken brains of Twitter yesterday when he indicated a certain degree of “dragon energy” sympathy for President Donald Trump and Trump agreed. He tweeted a picture of his signed MAGA hat, too, poo-pooed Obama’s legacy, and also expressed a desire to hang out with everyone’s favorite Tolkien-loving Bond villain, Peter Thiel. That’s just a bit of West’s hot content that prompted Rolling Stone to call his online activities “a real threat,” and he hasn’t let up.

Matthew Walther’s Favorite Song

Judy Collins

I have never met anyone else who owns Judy Collins’s debut album. Fans prefer her lusher mid-’60s records, which are indeed some of the best pop-folk LPs of all time. Even though I value it more than any other record I own, I will concede that Maid of Constant Sorrow is mostly a forgettable affair. Its value lies with one song, the third cut on side one, her recording of “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

The Two Best Early ’70s Occult Lady Folk Singers

Carolanne Sills

I’m more than a little terrified of witches. So far from thinking that they are a harmless bunch of dorks playing around with tarot cards and soothing crystals, I agree with Fr. Montague Summers that the witch is “an evil liver: a social pest and parasite: the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed: an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes: a member of a powerful secret organization inimical to Church and State: a blasphemer in word and deed.” So what if they think that The Wheel and The Chariot are only symbols of natural forces? Satan doesn’t care.

On the Rocks

Did you hear that Mick Jagger and wife or girlfriend number-I’m-not-sure had a little boy? At age 73, he’s still a little more than a quarter-century shy of the Abrahamic hundred attested by Genesis 21:5—a record likely to stand for a long while, I would guess—but still, kudos. According to the Daily Star, he has promised to pay £14,000 (an oddly specific figure, no?) in child support and buy “a multi-million dollar home” for Melanie Hamrick and his eighth child.