Henk-Jan’s soundtrack to 11-20 February 2021

Each day I add music to my soundtrack to 2021 Spotify playlist. Here is the second batch for February.

Thursday 11 February: Danna Paola & MIKA – It Must Have Been Love

It’s #throwbackthursday and It Must Have Been Love, made famous by Roxette in 1986 was covered recently by Mexican actress, singer and model Danna Paola & MIKA.

Friday 12 February: Alexandre Desplat – Ice Skating

Yes, after a couple of winter seasons, I could go ice skating nearby in Ommerschans again!

Saturday 13 February: Mellow Drive – Walking Closer in a White Winter Morning

Chill meets jazz to illustrate my Saturday walking in the outskirts of Houten.

Sunday 14 February: Natasha Jovan – #Antivaxxer

Let me be clear: I do appreciate vaccination programs, I love to discuss based on facts and figures, but I can’t withstand people, especially when they mingle their personal beliefs with a claim to speak inspired by God’s spirit and doubtful sources falsified multiple times when it comes down to pure evil poured into our veins. Troublesome to use the pulpit for broadcasting that message, excluding all with a different opinion.

Monday 15 February: Remedy Drive – Imago Amor

Latin is not the strength of American rock band Remedy Drive, but you get the message. We’re made to love each other. The title track of the new album that was released last Friday.

Tuesday 16 February: Carman – The Champion

Singer Carman Licciardello, a former Tulsa resident who shaped Contemporary Christian music in the 1980s and 1990s passed away today at age 65 at a Las Vegas, Nevada hospital after fighting a series of complications resulting from surgery to repair a hiatal hernia. One of his landmark songs is my selection for today. Godspeed, Carman!

Wednesday 17 February: Maari – Silver Whispers

Sydney-based duo Maari (Dominic Cabusi and Bronte Maree O’Neill) presented their smooth pop rock single Silver Whispers last Friday.

Thursday 18 February: Ghostfeeder – I’m On Fire

It’s #throwbackthursday What about a recent cover by New-York based electropop outfit Ghostfeeder of Bruce Springsteen‘s I’m On Fire (1984)?

Friday 19 February: Of Monsters and Men – Visitor

As children and partners, we set up a schedule to visit and celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. Sorry, we can’t put aside all social habits and love for dear ones during the imposed lockdown.

Saturday 20 February: Hawke – Gonna Be Alright

Sarah Berman – Don’t Call It a Cult : The Shocking Story of Keith Raniere and the Women of NXIVM

Although I missed the verdict of Keith Raniere, leader of NXIVM to 120 Years in Prison in October 2020 entirely, learning about this sex trafficking, modern slavery cult built around a very strong personality, is good. Think back to Scientology Church (1953) and their courses, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practices that can do harm if conducted with wrong intentions, and the many Ponzi schemes and multi-level marketing (MLM) initiatives that have been around for decades.

Investigative journalist Sarah Berman interviewed women that fell for Keith Raniere, read documents, articles, rare video interviews to unearth the Raniere’s youth, claims to be super intelligent, the early years of the organization that was founded in 1998, its inner workings, the perverse abuse of women, money, and power. “They draw you in with the promise of empowerment, self-discovery, women helping women. The more secretive those connections are, the more exclusive you feel. Little did you know, you just joined a cult.”

“How is it that our brains can allow for one person to see sex trafficking and another to see self-actualization? Can concentrated social influence really change what a person thinks, feels, experiences?” The book, which takes 5-7 hours to read entirely, is responding confirmative. Only in 2018, Raniere was arrested, one year later Allison Mack, NXIVM co-founder Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman, and bookkeeper Kathy Russell pleaded guilty to various charges. And, true to nature, the cult leader continued his practices even from behind prison bars, still holding tens of followers very loyal. Don’t Call It a Cult expresses that individual defense of loyalty and recounts very thoroughly the shocking story of Keith Raniere and the women of NXIVM. Unfortunately, this is nonfiction.

About the author

SARAH BERMAN is an investigative journalist based in Vancouver covering crime, drugs, cults, politics, and culture. She is a former senior editor at VICE and past contributor to Adbusters, Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and other publications.

I received a free advanced review copy from the publisher Penguin Random House Canada through Edelweiss in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion upon reading.

See also:

Jerry McTigue – Business Blather: Stop Using Words That Sound Good But Say Nothing!

Advertizing copy professional Jerry McTigue offers in-your-face guidelines to avoid business blather in e-mails, articles, LinkedIn profiles, and internal communications. Stop using words that sound good but say nothing. Think of industry-specific jargon, vague words, blunt exaggeration, or annoying acronyms. The business communication expert provides bite-size chapters on specific topics with bad examples, improved versions, and additional tips. Sentences can become way shorter and concrete. Learn to speak the language your audience understands. No one benefits from being lost in translation, misunderstanding the meaning, and purpose of poor communication.

In the second half of Business Blather: Stop Using Words That Sound Good But Say Nothing! very concrete tips are shared to improve your LinkedIn profile, resume, website, e-mail campaign, social media ads, press release, presentation, white paper, and more. Business Blather is helpful, for everyone in modern age businesses who thinks to be proficient in writing, or wants to be.

I received a free review copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion upon reading.

Transatlantic – The Absolute Universe

Transatlantic, de sinds 1999 actieve multinationale progressive rock supergroep met zanger/toetsenist Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, The Neal Morse Band, Flying Colors), drummer Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo, Dream Theater, Flying Colors), bassist Pete Trewavas (Marillion) en gitarist Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) hebben hun vijfde studioalbum uitgebracht. The Absolute Universe is de opvolger van Kaleidoscope (2014). Van het bij InsideOut Music uitgebrachte album zijn diverse versies gemaakt. The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version van 60 minuten) op LP en CD, The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version van 90 minuten) op Spotify, LP en CD, en voor de liefhebber The Ultimate Edition die de beide andere versies verenigt op 5LPs, 3CDs en een blu-ray met een a 5.1 Surround Sound mix met visuals, een behind-the-scenes documentaire. Elke editie heeft een eigen hoesontwerp van Thomas Ewerhard. Portnoy verkoopt via de eigen website een DVD of digital download met een Isolated Drum & Mike Portnoy Vox Mix en een stereo Headphone Mix die de full-band en alternatieve mix combineert. Bij de Duitse InsideOut webshop wordt een blu-ray versie van de Ultimate Edition 5.1 mix verkocht.

De opnames startten in september 2019 toen de mannen elkaar ontmoetten voor schrijfsessies. In enkele weken waren de basisversies geschreven. In de eigen thuisstudio’s werden de beeld- en geluidopnames gemaakt, geproduceerd door Rich Mouser en aan elkaar gemonteerd. In 2020 werden al de singles en videoclips van Overture/Reaching for the Sky, The World We Used to Know en Looking for the Light, een wat zwaardere track uitgebracht.

Het conceptalbum rond strubbelingen die we als volwassenen allemaal meemaken tekent de composities. De mannen zijn creatief geweest. Zo is The Extended Version niet zomaar wat aanvullingen op de basis, maar zijn andere opnames gemaakt met andere instrumenten, nieuwe teksten geschreven en songtitels gewijzigd. In dat opzicht zijn het dus twee verschillende albums met meer Roine of Morse invloeden. Wil je het complete pakket, moet je voor The Ultimate Edition gaan. Afwisseling en muzikale hoogstandjes vind ik meer bij Flying Colors. Toch is de nieuwste Transatlantic van constante hoge kwaliteit en verveel ik me geen minuut.

Bob Brink – Blood on their Hands

Alec Monceau is a young black man working to support his daughter’s family in Trinidad. His 2008 presidential campaign car bumper sticker to support Barack Obama triggers a violent beating by police officers, that happen to be racists and local Klu Klux Klan members.

In Blood on Their Hands, you follow Hiram Garbuncle, a veteran criminal defense attorney and alcoholic investigating this case ultimately putting his own life in danger. Bob Brink explains every single move in the jury selection, trial, and attempts by the offenders to escape their fate. It is a reason for me to be reading this crime fiction for hours without the feeling to have a fast-paced page-turner in my hands.

The changed opinion and behavior of former racists Garbuncle throughout time, the realistic slang and limited English uttered by Alex Monceau, and the fine mechanics of police officers’ side projects, compensate for this.

About the author

Bob Brink is a journalist who worked with the Palm Beach Post, The Associated Press in Chicago, Milwaukee Journal, Tampa Tribune, Joliet Herald-News, and Palm Beach Media Group (magazines). His byline has been on thousands of news stories, features, and entertainment reviews.
He has been a freelance writer for several years and now is embarked on writing novels.

Brink has won numerous writing accolades and several awards, including three for Palm Beach Illustrated, which won the Best Written Magazine award from the Florida Magazine Association after he became copy chief and writer. Besides dabbling in short-story writing over the years, Brink immersed himself in learning to play the clarinet and tenor saxophone. He performed many years with an estimable, 65-piece community symphonic band, and played a few professional big band gigs. He relegated music to the back seat after embarking on writing novels. A product of Michigan and Iowa, Brink has a bachelor’s degree in English from Drake University in Des Moines and completed graduate journalism studies at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion upon reading.