Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why the hell do I like Neon Bible, pt. 1

Are you ready for a few posts about why the Arcade Fire's Neon Bible is currently "my second favorite album of the year*"? I'm not sure I am either, but I've been thinking about the issue long enough that it's going to happen. I looked online to see what exactly Win Butler is singing about in hopes that it would either strengthen my convictions or knock it down a notch. But while the lyric sheet wasn't at all impressive, it had little effect on my appreciation. Maybe the muffled mediocrity is a good thing? It gives their BAR** enough ambiguity to let me appreciate it as mere college rock crossover beauty; their goal isn't clear aside from cathartic nervous crescendos. The SNL performance didn't grab me - just some quaker kids in a Waterboys cover band ("The Big Music!") with less endearing stage shtick then they had on Conan in 2004 - but on CD the songs take shape.

And what a mediocre shape it is! The humblest, least offensive BAR yet? Rock can't do better than that? Or rather, I get more joy out of that than almost anything else I've heard this year? Why doesn't harsh analysis make me play the album less?

*#1 being Sound Of Silver, in which a aging hipster realizes that being jaded about the scene is really about mortality, putting his post-techno Enoisms to better use.

**Benign Arena Rock - an ironic term for artists who seem to think their oversized pop music helps them Make The World A Better Place. Not just naughty, not just a self-adoring laser show, not a passive-agressive outpouring of psychedelic neuroses, not We Will Rock You, but Making The World A Better Place. Springsteen, U2, Green Day. You can not like their music, but you have to "appreciate where they're coming from." In principle, I think it's a way for artists to protect their ego trips from criticism and some serious False Idol bullshit. But I'm a liberal, well-meaning boy raised on the stuff.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I probably shouldn't mock a paper willing to pay me more than two dollars a word (I'll happily write again at that rate, guys), but I have to share the headline for the Village Voice review of Patti Smith's Twelve:

"Cheers (and Tears for Fears) for Patti's Own Biograph"

Note that Twelve is a covers album, not a 3CD retrospective. You'd think the Voice music section, at the very least, would still know its Dylan.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not to beat a dead horse, but Lois and Clark get it on in Superman II AFTER she discovers that Clark is Superman. In Superman Returns we're to believe that Superman FUCKED Lois WITHOUT telling her that he's also Clark Kent. When he returns FIVE YEARS after disappearing without notice, he stands next to her wearing those identity-concealing glasses, wishing she knew how much he loved her. Couldn't he have brought it up when he was TAPPING THAT ASS?!

America's hero, worse than syphilis

You ignore details like the suits Clark must leave all over Metropolis whenever he strips down to his Superduds (does he leave his wallet behind, too?), or that Superman never expects Luthor to have some Kryptonite handy. Suspension of disbelief, yadda yadda. But the surprising amount of critics who praised Superman Returns for restoring his respectability must not have noticed that 2/3rds of the movie was babymama drama skeevier than Kevin Federline's wildest dreams.

Also, if Lois Lane's current flame Richard White believes that HE'S the babydaddy, we may assume that her relationship with the boss's nephew was already in progress when she got busted out with the supersperm. The Man of Steel is down with O.P.P.! How exactly does this film restore his mythic luster again? Do all the slo-mo shots of him watching earth from above really make up for this?

"The movie may not be a single-bound building-leaper but Bryan Singer reconfigures the daddy of all comic-book sagas into something knowing, witty, and even sensitive. - J. Hoberman

(As these last two posts should make evident, there's no reason to assume that rants on here will be at all topical. All that matters is that it's on my mind.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Plot: Soon after having unprotected sex with his girlfriend, a man who suffers from severe multiple personality disorder disappears with no explanation. Upon his return five years later, he's horrified to discover that his former lover has a child and lives unmarried with her babydaddy. After a few days of spying on the family, he finally confronts her. She's understandably angry about his extended absence, and he explains that saying goodbye before his journey would have been "too hard." This is followed by a debate as to whether or not he's God's gift to mankind. While searching for the source of a catastrophic blackout (a subject which seems to only interest her - an unassigned journalist - and no government representatives), she brings her child with her while trespassing on a boat. They are discovered by the boat's owner, a middle-aged gigolo with dreams of mass-murder and real estate fraud. While rescuing her and her family, the troubled ex is rendered comatose by mineral poisoning. As he hovers near death, she whispers into his ear that he's the true father of her child. Revived by this revelation, he creeps into the child's room to tell the sleeping tot that his life will be hard, leaving through the window before the child awakens. As he departs, the woman asks him if she'll "see him around." He responds that he's "always around."

Running time: Two and a half hours.

Title: Superman Returns.

Most inexplicable casting choice: Kal Penn as Henchman #2, who gets fewer lines than The Ghost Of Marlon Brando (whose coherency and diction has not improved since death).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

People praising B Tarantino over A+ Rodriguez REALLY PISS ME OFF!!!

Death Proof didn't even have the best road violence!

Eric Rohmer is trash, so maybe Tarantino's homage to his languid pace was intentional. But Planet Terror still had better dialogue!

So wtf? Shots of spinning records are better than shots of spinning guns or something? The Village Voice rightly points out that "the tradition [Tarantino is] elaborating on is the Tarantino Movie," only who the hell thought after Kill Bill that the Tarantino movie required further "elaboration"?!!? I'm not saying Death Proof was without its merits, but preferring it to Planet Terror means you walked into the wrong theatre. I'll take Tarantino screaming with a stake in one eye and a syringe in the other over Tarantino touching himself behind the camera while a group of women discuss the glory of Vanishing Point (actually, watching Mary Elizabeth Winstead eat bacon in a cheerleader outfit was some sort of fantasy fulfillment for me too).

Anyhow, Planet Terror rules and I can't wait till Harvey Weinstein does a King Solomon on Grindhouse so I can go see it a couple more times.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm visiting State College, and almost immediately upon arrival I was reminded how much I've missed radio. Current hits like Xtina's "Candyman" and Avril's "Girlfriend," songs I could find enough quibbles with to delete when they existed solely in the context of my windows media player, sound outstanding when driving around or getting a McLanahan's sub (which I called a hoagie while standing in line! Philly should be proud). I don't know if it's the size of the place, the emotional baggage of visiting my hometown, or the change in sound quality (I have no idea whether mp3 or radio is worse), but hearing married teen poppers use the Andrew Sisters and echo effects to praise penile girth and incoherently trash competition means a little more to me here.

I've considered putting the US top 40 on my ipod as a placebo, but I'll also have to throw on a bunch of earlier hits like "Pon De Replay," "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Semi-Charmed Life" to truly re-create the vibe of randomized pop cheese. As long as I can't get good reception in the city, it might be worth it. No ads, too!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fred Durst's latest Myspace blog (3/16/07), saved for posterity in case he deletes this one like all the rest. :(


i really want to do a limp bizkit tour. not just any tour. one that is monumental. a landmark event. i would love to do a tour with the ORIGINAL limp bizkit. john, sam, wes, me, and lethal. that's what i truly want. i miss touring SO FUCKING BAD. the feeling we have on stage as limp bizkit is like no other feeling i have ever had and no other feeling has been so rewarding. wouldn't that be fantastic? wouldn't it be a blessing? imagine that me and wes could work things out together and be a band again, friends again. fucking imagine that!! we had so many wonderful times. so many magically unforgettable moments. i am proud to say that i have learned so much from my mistakes and it has taken a long time to evolve to this place where i finally let myself be healed. without limp bizkit i would have never gotten here. without wes i wouldn't know what it is like to work with the best. without john i wouldn't know how to protect my family. without sam i wouldn't have ever learned to trust anyone. without lethal i would have never been house of pain and without house of pain i would be missing too much of my inspiration. the list goes on and on and on. i just want to say that limp bizkit is my life whether i am holding onto the past or pushing for the future. imagine how impossible i am to deal with. that alone fueled many of the fires. when i look back i can only study and learn. so here we are NOW. i want limp bizkit. always. that is what i want. i want it so bad. wouldn't that just be the absolute best? it is time!!!!!!!!!!!!! now!!!!!!!!!!!!! rock and roll is not rock and roll without the pain we experience along the way. today is another day. today can be the day. what if we could just let the drama go and rock the fuck out because we can and because that is what we do? i listent to all the limp albums all of the time and i get so mental and emotional. it tears my heart in half the same time it makes my adrenaline boil. i live it. we all live it. all of us. i want limp bizkit.

as for your madness on here....lighten the fuck up. or don't. either way you will always be heard and understood. we connect with all of you. you connect with all of us. we know you're pain. you must know ours. there is no right and there is no wrong, but there is limp bizkit. so don't you worry your precious little minds when there is silence. remember there is always a calm before any storm. put your energy into wanting the bizkit as bad as we do and something is bound to provide for us all.
have some faith. now turn it the fuck up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Earlier today I realized that no potential celebrity death would make me sadder than Fred Durst's. The idea that he'd never blog or rap or direct a music video again is like a raincloud over my soul.

Mission Impossible III may feature the finest opening (re-enacted above, presumably in jest) of a Tom Cruise film ever, in which a tired, contemptuous actor kills the superstar's wife as punishment for his inability to give a convincing performance. We learn later that all is not as it seems, but J.J. Abrams knew we would enjoy the out-of-context implications. Two montages of the Cruise ouvre (incorporating every film except Losin' It and Legend, as far as I noticed) are included on the DVD as ancillary evidence.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I can't think of a band alive that wouldn't be improved by this footwork. MAYBE My Chemical Romance, but that's it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Both versions of Black Christmas have Andrea Martin and a woman resembling Margot Kidder, but only one has holiday ringtones!

Tried to watch three of Jacques Tati's movies over the last week or so. Each one longer than the last, the cast pushed further away as he focuses more and more on architecture and consumer products. Some would assume this is cultural critique, but the gangly, awkward hero, played by Tati himself, is monochromatic, mute and duller than anyone else in shot, despite the occasional gurgle of slapstick included to guarantee "Chaplinesque" status. Ebert says Tati gives us as "an amused affection for human nature," which must be beneficial if you're doomed to watch it from afar.