The Key’s Year-End Mania: The Django Pages – A.D. Amorosi’s greyhound rates the hits, disses the misses of the year gone by

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Django Amorosi | photo by Reese Amorosi | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributor A.D. Amorosi turns to his trusty greyhound Django for some musical feedback.

Your best friend does not always like the music that you like. That’s what friends are for. At least this is the case of Django, our greyhound, with whom my wife and I share a loving bond and living/listening space on a daily basis. It’s his house, he just lets us live there.

If I am reviewing a Migos single with Pharrell Williams, he is reviewing it too.  Same with a Johnny Cash box set, a Sheer Mag download, an Archie Shepp YouTube moment, or what-have-you.  If I am laughing at Love & Hip Hop: New York and watching the dilemma between Remy Ma and her husband/manager Papoose, chances are Django is observing this behavior – and my reaction – with his ears pricked high. Does he enjoy everything on Love & Hip Hop? No. Can I tell the difference? Yes.

If I think of the dogs that I have had in my life, I can pretty much recall what it is they liked and didn’t like when it came to music. I lived with a wire haired springer spaniel boy dog named Spundie who loved Prince, Roxy Music and Aerosmith and little else. I had a chocolate lab girl dog named Brownie who was too sweet not to pretend she loved most of what I loved, but I dare say, she was no fan of noise – so no Sonic Youth, Matmos, early Nick Cave or anything of the jungle genre or Orleans parish ceremonial music. My toy poodle Pierre nuzzled and cuddled to the sounds of MGM musicals and slow standards from Sinatra and Bennett.

This brings us to the opinionated Django and how he shows approval and disapproval. When he’s into something and happy with a sound, his ears relax and he rolls over on his back with his long feet and legs dangling in mid-air. And yes, he smiles: the better the musical moment to him, the wider the grin. When he doesn’t like a sound, he growls.

For 2017, what he loved was:

Kelly Clarkson and Pink’s duet at the American Music Awards
Personally, I didn’t think the R.E.M. classic “Everybody Hurts” had enough melody for these two belting vocalists, yet they found dynamism, nuance and power in this tender tune – at least Django and my wife thought so.

Gary Numan – Savage: Songs from a Broken World
Maybe Numan’s view of a broken planet and bruised souls was cold and heavy for most, but his crushing brand of electro pop was right up Django’s alley.

N.E.R.D. – No One Ever Really Dies
As a whole, Django liked the funky party ball aspects of the first N.E.R.D. album in a decade, especially the Rihanna duet on “Lemon.” There was an exception however – the Future track “!000.” Not a Future fan is Django.

The sounds of the Italian Market
Whether it’s my neighboring social club playing Dean Martin and Connie Francis Italian songs through an outdoor loud speaker, Molly’s Books & Records blasting the occasion Dixy Blood 45’ or produce stands blaring Mexican music or 90s R&B classics, my dog prances down Ninth Street as if he’s Boogaloo-ing down Broadway.

Cardi B – “Bodak Yellow”
She’s not dancing anymore, and he’s not running competitive races anymore. Not to compare the lovely Cardi B to a dog, AT ALL, but he understands that sentiment. He’s down with Cardi.

The music of Twin Peaks: The Return
I can’t be sure whether or not Django had an appreciation of David Lynch’s Woodsmen sing-speaking the phrase “this is the water and this is the well,” but I do know that he had a fondness for the songs and performers at the end of each episode who appeared at the Bang Bang Bar – including Chromatics, Au Revoir Simone and Eddie Vedder. Django even liked the music of one of its stars, Crysta Bell, which I played incessantly before her PhilaMOCA gig. So, all things Lynch are OK by Django.

Now, here are several musical things of 2017 that Django did not care for:

The Eminem cypher during the BET Awards
Like Stephen Colbert, Django referred to Em as Mackelmore. I haven’t even had the heart to play Revival in front of the dog.

The Budweiser ad with Goodbye June’s “Across America”
This is a hateful song for sure – a screechy, gabby third rate White Stripes imitation if ever there was – to which Django responds by rubbing his ears on the bed or leaving the room.

DJ Khaled
Anything. Everything.  Even the commercials for Pitch Perfect 3 and The Four

U2 on Saturday Night Live
Again, Django sat up – and many greyhounds don’t sit up because of their developed hind muscles  – heard Bono squawk his way through the turgid, imitative likes of “American Soul” and “Get Out Of Your Own Way,” and made a mad dash down the steps. Before you ask – no, he didn’t have to go to the bathroom. He just hated those songs that much.

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