Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Bow Wow Of Their Day

Prepare for maximum blurbage in January, as I try to deal with the 70+ albums I was relatively grateful to hear this year. Not sure I'm going to get to wrap my head around every album that I'd like to (what is up with this December rap deluge? Is Jay-Z pulling a Greg Ginn and trying to keep his acts from upstaging him? Are they expecting to seduce kids with lots of Christmas money? I REALLY WANTED TO GIVE BOW WOW'S THE PRICE OF FAME A CHANCE!!! HONESTLY, KINDA!!), but there will be lots about lots.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hi! Are you a record critic? Did you receive a Pazz'n'Jop ballot this week? Rob Harvilla wrote "This will be the first poll in its 33- (or 34-) year history not to be compiled and organized by Robert Christgau, who created it, embodied it, and deserves all credit for its success.I have the highest respect for Bob, who has always been kind and gracious to me. I think what he started here is fantastic and vital, and worth preserving and continuing" in the e-mail. Do you think he's right, and that it's worth forgetting why it is that Robert Christgau doesn't get to run it for the 33rd (or 34th) time? I do too. Let's not worry about who fired who for no goddamn good reason after 30 years! Let's vote!



Hinder rocks. Hinder understands the pain of trying to be faithful when your ex has the lips of an angel. Hinder is like Nickelback without the distracting facial hair. If 100+ critics gave Hinder's Extreme Behavior (a top ten platinum smash!) 30 points each, the album would almost be guaranteed the top spot on this year's pazz'n'jop poll! What an exciting possibility! You don't even have to vote for anyone else, though if you feel it's necessary, you could give 9 albums less awesome than Hinder's your remaining 70 points. But if the rules are as they used to be, you don't have to. Plus there's always the Jackin' Pop poll for the ten albums you really liked this year that weren't by Hinder. Vote Billboard Top 5 ballad "Lips Of An Angel" as single of the year as well! What do you have to lose? I know you're worried that being a big fan of Hinder is uncool, but this year's Pazz'n'Jop isn't about cool. It's about Hinder.


Nothing would make me happier than to see Extreme Behavior sitting atop the first nu-Village Voice Pazz'n'Jop poll. I bet you'd get a kick out of it too, so why don't you help make this dream into a reality? Tell every rockcrit you know about the awesomeness of Hinder, and the many reasons they should give Extreme Behavior 30 points on their ballot. You don't want to be the only person in your circle of rockcrit friends who didn't acknowledge how much Hinder belongs at number one. If we can get 100+ people to agree, Hinder will be the album that Michael Lacey and the other proud members of Village Voice Media have to hail as the best album of the year. Unless they disqualify the ballots, which would be really fucking funny.

Please be awesome! Vote for Hinder!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The critics have spoken!

"It's hard to believe that anyone could honestly deny the ass-kickingness of Boys and Girls in America, the band's strongest offering to date. From start to finish, the album is filled with monster melodies in the form of dramatic monologues and screeching instrumentals. Don't believe me? Try opener 'Stuck Between Stations' which pauses two-thirds of the way through for some Ben Folds-esque piano tomfoolery before launching into some of the most searing lead-guitar licks pretty much ever!" - Tiny Mix Tapes

"On several tracks, the swirls of organ they've added to their hyper-literate stomping suggest Deep Purple with a library card!" - Entertainment Weekly

"Any album that starts off with a quote from On the Road is gonna score some points with me!" - Delusions Of Adequacy

"Finn's critics could say—justifiably—that he's in a songwriting rut, but it's hard to complain when he comes up with lines like She was a damn good dancer / But she wasn't all that great of a girlfriend or I got really high and then I came to in the chill-out tent / They gave me oranges and cigarettes!" - The Onion

"Once again Finn has proven himself highly quotable and perhaps one of today's strongest lyricists -- there's a reason why critics like him so much!" - Prefix

"'First Night' finds ex-Blackgirls and current Dear Enemy singer Dana Kletter dueting with Finn in a theatrically appealing manner reminiscent of Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley, closing with the potent observation that 'when they kiss they spit white noise'!" - Shaking Through

"'Gonna walk around and drink some more,' he says, making it sound like the smartest thing ever said, so he decides to repeat it!" - Neumu

"says something worth hearing!" - Pitchfork

"talking more than singing!" - Blender

"Finn sings more than speaks!" - Pitchfork

"Finn has a nasal, assured bleat!" - Stylus

"His insanely verbose yarn-spinning still links 1973 Bruce Springsteen to 1982 Mark E. Smith; and his Minneapolis-via-Brooklyn band sounds beefier and more melodramatic than ever!" - Blender

"The gentler surroundings encourage Finn to calm down and sing with a lilt of compassion!" - Paste

"Lyrics can sometimes be summed up by lines that approximate the effect of a chorus, even if they're presented more like a thesis statement: 'I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere,' 'When they kiss they spit white noise,' the aforementioned 'Gonna walk around and drink some more'...Unlike many of those who've translated big, arena-ready guitars into arena-sized audiences, Finn doesn't resort to confidently sung platitudes like 'It's a beautiful day!', 'Look at the stars/ See how they shine for you,' or 'I'm not OK!'" - Pitchfork

"Whenever I feel helpless about the U.S.A., frozen in my tracks like a first day intern thrown into a frantic emergency room, I turn to the one band who seem truly able to crack open up the chest cavity of this country in critical condition, examining its heart (and its liver), and stamp a big, bold 'ROCK ON!' across its unclean bill of health. And I think to myself: Hell yeah. The Hold Steady, you see, distill everything down its essence. What is important are the people right in front of them. What matters are the Boys and Girls in America. They are our target audience; they drive the economy; as our oldest children, they are our immediate future. Morbidly self-involved, they are also our cultural barometer!" - PopMatters

"Nothing stands in the way or looks down upon this simplicity; it is what it is and that's a truth reflective of Boys and Girls and the Hold Steady on the whole. This is nothing more than what It is. This is simply rock. But, It has the strength of that simplicity. It can stand up to anything. You bash against It, searching for weakness. You turn around, and turn It on again. This is as good as American Rock gets, and that's a damn good thing!" -

"The Hold Steady's brand of rock is far too literate and specific for the masses anyway! Boys and Girls in America is party music for the indie nerds, over-educated and obsessives!" - Prefix

"a combo that sounds like nothing so much as latter period Soul Asylum fronted by Charles Nelson Reilly!" - Can't Stop The Bleeding

Monday, November 20, 2006

Part of the reason I haven't been writing much on here the last few months is that I've being doing some freelance song doctor work with a variety of stars from yesterday, today and tomorrow, including Billy Idol (who qualifies as a star of both yesterday and tomorrow in my estimation, if not today). Billy decided to fill his upcoming Christmas album with seasonal chestnuts rather than the holiday-themed interpretations of his classics we spent the better part of September working on (thanks again to the good people at Sanctuary Records for releasing the album so soon after its admittedly spontaneous creation - Billy's a spur of the moment guy), but I figured I could share one of our more inspired collaborations with you all.

Jingle Bell (Jesus and Santa, I Praise Thee In Song)
written by Billy Idol, Anthony Miccio and Steve Stevens

Last night a little santa came dancin' to my door
Last night I found some presents were dumped on the floor
He said, "Come on, Rudolph! I get one night for love"
And if it expires, pray help from above

Because in the midnight hour, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
With a jingle bell, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
In the midnight hour, baby, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"Ho! Ho! Ho!"

He don't like the naughty, he will give them coal
But when there's milk and cookies, he'll eat his belly full
Who set you free and brought you to me, Santa?
Who set you free? Christianity!

Because in the midnight hour, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
With a jingle bell, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
In the midnight hour, baby, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"Ho! Ho! Ho!"

He lives in his frozen heaven
And works from seven to seven
Well, he's out all night in the Christmas air
To show that, to show that Jesus cares

Jesus gave his life for you, babe
Turned water to wine, for you
He'll dry your tears of pain
every time for you
I give my soul to you, Lord
Money to burn just for you
Jesus gives you all and will have none, babe
Lets-a-lets-a-lets-a-lets-a have some Christmas cheer!

Because in the midnight hour, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
With a jingle bell, he cried "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
In the midnight hour, baby, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"Ho! Ho! Ho!"

I may post "Ice Without Capades" on here closer to the actual holiday.
Acknowledging Christmas before Thanksgiving always strikes me as a bit tacky, no matter what J. Crew says, but I felt this was worth making an exception. Though I'll miss the potential royalties (who won't be bringing this album home for their favorite MILF this holiday season?), I don't begrudge the absence of my work on the final product. It may take three hours for Albini to finish placing the mics, but he only needs one take to capture some true Idolatry. Observe:

It was unusually warm in Chicago that night, but Billy gave us chills.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I remain fascinated by the ambitious and goofy.

For the first time in months, I actually wrote some music reviews: John Mayer and Diddy for the Baltimore City Paper's crazy-underrated music section. It's currently the only rag I'll allow my magic to grace*.

*still accepting offers, though.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Brandon Flowers making fun of Craig Finn, whether or not he knows it.

One reason I haven't been writing much is that I'm planning a year-end wrap-up that covers almost all of the albums that I've found worthy of acknowledgement. Another reason is the depressing lack of pop singles that I enjoy, or, more honestly, the lack of pop presences that I admire. The most egregiously failing genre is rock, and I say this as someone who can wax poetic about Good Charlotte and Puddle of Mudd. Emo currently lacks hooks or emotional pull, though I hope that will change with the increasing financial reward: Taking Back Sunday's "MakeDamnSure" and AFI's "Miss Murder" have the acts' first Weezer-worthy choruses, even if the songs are about wanting to see hotties suffer. Nu-metal's on its last hemorrhoid, and early-00s hipster crossovers seem to have mistaken a label-shat gold record for the pinnacle of stardom, getting insular before they've even learned to look directly into a camera. I haven't seen the soap operas Coldplayers are promoting, indie-stoner-"respectable" metal just makes me want to give my Blue Oyster Cult albums another go, and Good Charlotte's next album won't be coming out till 2007. If not for retro-goofballs like Eagles Of Death Metal and rule-proving indie exception the Thermals (whose albums seem like transmissions from a planet where the Clash is still remembered as a worthwhile influence), I'd only care about keyb freaks, singer-songwriters and the occasional sex jam. And the Killers.

It's too early to tell whether their attempt at rock grandeur will resonate, but if America decides Duran Duran shouldn't have teamed up with Meat Loaf to cover Rattle & Hum, I won't hold it against us; I haven't even decided myself whether Sam's Town's pleasures outweigh its bullshit. But my fondness for silly sweethearts helps make "When You Were Young" the only Big Rock Single of 2006 that I've got unabashed love for*.

One of the benefits of the Killers' 80s fixation is that when they decide to make a Springsteen move, they think Born In The U.S.A. rather than Born To Run, reining the soaring ambition with a steady pulse and some tight verse-chorus-verse. The song's gradual emotional build is blessedly free of the metal-riff lurchabout that plagues most modern rock - it's pro-dance and unafraid of simple euphoria. Lyrics like "we're burnin' down the highway skyline on the back of hurricane" are inarguably insipid (the back of a hurricane?), and "every once in a little while" is a grammatical war crime. I'm almost surprised Brandon Flowers didn't throw the word "literally" in front of one of his metaphors, as he transcends the sophomorical and dives headlong into the asinine. But what makes this idiocy preferable to the original '70s rock showtunery is the influence of U2. The post-punk (read: post-disco) rhythm decreases the sagginess of the bombast, while Brandon Flowers' melding of Bono and the Boss creates one of the hootable hollers in rock history. That Flowers can bellow such obvious camp with a straight face is almost miraculous, but then so is the existence of a sober Mormon Duranee in Las Vegas.

Free of the weight of cultural hosannas, his earnest wail is easy to love. For under the bells and warbles of "When You Were Young" is a song of joy for young Rosalita, who's finally found the saint in the city whose Chevy '59 is going to take her hungry heart down Thunder Road. Acknowledging romantic compromise without shedding a bit of emotional hysteria, it attempts to wed sensitivity and fireworks in a time where most groups are strictly either/or. If you accept that rock died in the mid-sixties (which I sometimes do), then that means some sinister monstrosity of pap has been pretending to the mantle for the last forty years, for longer than most of us have been alive. Right now, nobody's getting more out of that post-apocalyptic oatmeal than these guys.


*Evanescence's "Call Me When You're Sober" could compete if the vocal was mixed to a clarity worthy of its title.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Yeah, I'm from the illest part of the Western Hemisphere
So if you into sight seein', don't visit there
It's somewhere between Jersey and Delaware"

Game Theory has some fine beats, but even if I didn't live in south Philadelphia (in a neighborhood that's not unlike the original Wicker Man redone by the cast of Copland), I don't think I could get over that couplet. Black Thought is quite possibly the lamest bragger in rap, the embodiment of this town's Napoleon syndrome. "The Dalai Lama Of The Microphone"? What, powerless, boring and loved by college students? Until the Roots drop a concept album about cheating (the only topic that seems to remotely inspire BT) or replace this albatross (seriously, a rap group whose drummer is more famous than their vocalist? A rap group whose drummer is more quotable than their vocalist?), everybody's going to interview Ringo and remember nothing but the guest vocal hook.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

One less rag worth reading.

Unless you really need that hundred bucks to feed your children and/or smack habit, with no other way to acquire it than to write a blurb about Musical Act X for one of the most offensively nihilistic companies in journalism, I don't know why the fuck you'd bother writing freelance for Lacey and the Nu-Voice Media (staffers have my pity). It can't be for the glamour, respect or financial reward.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

10. Limp Bizkit feat. Eminem - "Turn Me Loose" (unreleased '90s track)

9. Fred Durst, Wes Scantlin and Jimmy Page - "Thank You" (live)

8. Limp Bizkit - "You Know You're Right" (live)

7. Fred Durst, Wes Borland and Johnny Rzeznik - "Wish You Were Here" (live)

6. Limp Bizkit - "1999" (live)

5. Christina Aguilera feat. Fred Durst - "Come On Over/Livin' It Up" (live)

4. Paris Hilton feat. Fred Durst - "It's A Tit Nipply Out" (live)

3. Fred Durst - "Demo Tape"

2. Fred Durst - "Eruption" (live)

1. Fred Durst - "I Melt With You"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What really gets me about the video for "Deja Vu" is that it's an all too rare example of the kind of bad that's only capable of being achieved by the great. Sophie Muller's my favorite video director of all time. As much as I enjoy Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze shenanigans, Muller's finest videos draw attention to the artist rather than the director, making appealing advertisements for the act rather than short films for their own eventual Director's Label DVD. From Annie Lennox to Gwen Stefani, from "Love Is Stronger Than Pride" to "Black Horse & The Cherry Tree," countless artists can credit Muller for their most memorable, endearing visual portraits. But here, she gives us a crystal vista of Beyonce at her most absurd and clueless. A weak video wouldn't be enough to inspire horrified fans to start an online petition demanding a re-shoot. Muller, Beyonce and the president of Island Def Jam have collaborated to make a video that's resolutely wrong-headed.

The first half-minute of the video is prologue, with Jay-Z sitting comfortably, flapping his wrist and lazily hollering as Beyonce's sweaty parts gradually merge into a whole. He announces she's about to speak, and Beyonce licks her fingers, jabs them at the camera and hisses to signify her heat. Seated in a variety of outfits and flapping her arms, her eyes aggresively fixate on something off-screen. As the verse continues, she begins to kick her feet while holding her quivering hands up to her face and jerking her head to and fro. These frenetic, artless gestures are commonplace post-Flashdance, but her wide-eyed expressions are psychotic rather than seductive in nature. She seems happier during the chorus, as she runs through high grass until she's alerted a foreign presence. This is revealed to be another Beyonce, now in a slinky red dress, holding her head and looking concerned, as if she can't tell if the noise is coming from inside her skull or not. Shots of Beyonce shaking the hem of a longer dress at the camera are intercut with these images of extreme paranoia.

Then things get really awkward. Beyonce is indoors again, with her hair pulled back, wearing a blue dress appropriate for an extra in a Baz Luhrmann pic. Breathing heavily and appearing exasperated, she finds Sean Carter, her alleged boyfriend, leaning against a wall, talking about himself to someone off-screen. She flutters her legs in front of a window before approaching him and popping some J-Lo aerobics against his crotch. After giving her ass a solitary pat, he continues talking to the person to his left, ignoring her bumping and grinding, turning his head away even as she bites his ear and yanks at his belt. It's as if they decided to visually display the same "he's great/Yes, I'm great" lyrical disconnect evident in the song "Crazy In Love," as well as evoke the titular romantic insanity.

Following this disconcerting metaphor for their sex life, we see her outside again in a bikini top and frilly mini-skirt, kicking dirt, offering some apropos-of-nothing West African dance and coming off like Shakira under attack by moths. The final chorus brings us Beyonce in a tight black ensemble, painfully underlining that if there was an actual choreographer used on this shoot, they should be drawn and quartered. She riffs on "Walk Like An Egyptian" and karate chops X's in the air before grabbing her left ankle, waiting a beat, throwing her hands in the air, and shrugging carefreely. This is intercut with flailings from previous locales, as if to reaffirm the improvisatory nature of her movements. Muller's close-ups and sense of staging benefit the graceful, but give us no distraction from Beyonce's conniptions or apparent lunacy (this is a woman who named her new album Bidet - sorry, B'Day).

In a very real sense, videos like this are so much more endearing than the unimaginative, mere competence that keeps me from ever considering writing a video column. Just as the clip for "Mr. Brightside," with its extreme close-ups and campy, emotional drive, saved Brandon Flowers and the boys from Kills/Thrills/Stills anonymity, the one for "Deja Vu" turns a passable retread of a song into a blatant career bellyflop, giving Beyonce something to overcome and keeping her fresh in the minds of her audience. It's the kind of heartwarming catastrophe that reminds me how philistine and misguided the concept of rating creative endeavors is - praising the mediocre over the extreme, despite the latter being more truly worth your attention.


I've got a lot to say about the Killers' "When You Were Young," probably my favorite Big Rock Single of the year by depressing default, but I want to wait until the video comes out. It's being directed by Anthony Mandler, the man behind "Bucky Done Gun," "When I'm Gone" and "Hustler's Ambition." Jury's still out on this guy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I can't be bothered to make a half-year top 50 singles list and my 20 albums are constantly in flux, so allow me to piggyback onto Matos' half-year mix meme.

If I Wanted To See Clerks II, I'd Look In A Mirror:
Jan-June 2006 CD-R

Mudhoney "Where Is The Future?" (5:38)
Eagles Of Death Metal "Shasta Beast" (2:28)
LL Cool J feat. Jennifer Lopez "Control Myself" (3:54)
E-40 feat. Keak Da Sneak "Tell Me When To Go" (4:03)
Tiga "Far From Home" (2:42)
Grandaddy "Elevate Myself" (3:41)
Ne-Yo "When You're Mad" (3:43)
H.I.M. "Wings Of A Butterfly" (3:30)
The Spores "(Don't) Kill Yourself" (3:36)
Blue October "Hate Me" (4:00)
Phoenix "Long Distance Call" (3:04)
Pussycat Dolls "Buttons" (3:45)
Be Your Own Pet "Wildcat!" (1:24)
Field Mob "At The Park" (3:40)
Tre 380 "Hokey Pokey" (4:36)
Juvenile feat. Lil Jon "Why Not" (2:45)
Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" (3:01)
Camera Obscura "Dory Previn" (4:16)
Eef Barzelay "N.M.A." (3:28)
Rainer Maria "Clear And True" (2:42)
Ghostface Killah "Underwater" (2:03)
K.T. Tunstall "Black Horse & The Cherry Tree" (2:51)
Black Eyed Peas "Pump It" (3:36)

They showed us a filmreel in 4th grade where skyscrapers blasted into space once Earth became inhospitable. Mudhoney and their horn section must have seen that one too, cuz they miss '60s futurism bad. Eagles Of Death Metal settle for earthly pleasures (falsetto, hitting on girls who still live with their parents, gregarious facial hair), which explains why their retro-clomp's a little more sprightly. LL's retro-clap revisits his "Goin' Back To Cali" vocal pacing with a self-parodying relish I won't begrudge (I've heard the rest of the album), and its highly possible the closing chant of "zun-zun-zun-zun-zun"s is a reference to a song I don't know (kudos if its a genuine original improv, though). E-40, whose KRS delivery - good way to convey authority without dropping energy - is refreshing, shares Bay Area street lingo for the first two thirds of his album, before repeatedly declaring that he doesn't love the many women who blow him. "Tell Me When To Go" is from the first third.

Tiga makes wry synth-pop covers of hipster memories (Public Enemy, Talking Heads), but "Far From Home" is an original collaboration with Soulwax that just sounds like one. Grandaddy's Jason Lyle makes wry synth-pop about how tired he is of making wry synth-pop, which may make Just Like The Fambly Cat his best album as long as its his last. Ne-Yo wrote a valentine about his addiction to angry sex, but satanic metal sexors H.I.M. won't settle for less than butterfly mutilation and your soul, while The Spores just want you to (not) kill yourself in their (not) fucked-up rewrite of "Since U Been Gone."

It wouldn't be a year in pop music if we didn't have a self-loathing power ballad, and Blue October opens "Hate Me" with an answering machine message from the singer's late mother, followed by an outpouring of gratitude and regret over the unconditional love he received while battling addiction, realizing the sacrifices she made for him; a three-hanky classic. The problem with the Strokes is they're not French enough, so God invented Phoenix. I haven't heard that new Beyonce single, but "Buttons" is "Naughty Girl" warmed over or heated up, depending on your perspective. Be Your Own Pet is like Love Is All in the sense that they've got enough energy and hook to make me dig their noisy tumbles when I'm in the mood to put up with inherently inchoate indie, but BYOP songs are shorter. Field Mob rewrite "Sugar (Gimme Some)" to further praise Georgia peaches, but their verse about food ("Got a plate of macaroni pork and beans and ribs/Two pieces of light bread/Kool-aid to sip") isn't metaphorical (I pray). The level of wit in Tre 380's rewrite of "Hokey Pokey" is well below metaphors, unless you count "lookin' for dat Monica Lewinsky."

Juvenile is one of a dozen plus competent rappers who are going gold (sometimes platinum) by describing their ability to stay the course, make money while staying true to the streets, and continue hustling (imagine Too Short as Ian MacKaye). I could have put T.I. on, but I thought King was disqualified by going multiplatinum (turns out it hasn't). Two-thirds of a classic soul song is three quarters more than we're used to, so thanks, Cee-Lo (fuck Dangermouse and his tepid, overrated, slapdash, two-decent-hooks-per-album career, though). Camera Obscura aint Belle & Sebastian's sidekicks no more - only the woman sings now and the band's beefed up the lush, giving her warm-blooded, literary ballads the backdrop they deserve. I have to find out if Eef Barzelay's band Clem Snide is worth a shit; his songs on Bitter Honey, less whimsical than John Prine's ("N.M.A." stands for "Nothing Means Anything") but not due to increased intelligence so much as generational temperment, hold up fine in skeletal solo arrangements.

Rainer Maria, who actually broke up without anyone noticing, came back with their hookiest album to date (guess what? only the woman sings now!), but nobody gave a shit because their old fanbase has graduated and didn't stay bright, burning, clear and true. Ghostface made another great Ghostface album this year, but my favorite track is the one where he turns into Prince Be. I liked the Sophie Muller video for "Black Horse & The Cherry Tree," but it wasn't until I saw KT's loop-happy one-woman band shtick on Leno that it got its hooks in (probably helped that she was following Ann Coulter). "Pump It" was in Best Buy ads in 2005, but the video didn't come out till December and I didn't revel in its inclusive glee (they're so good at that!) until February. "Pump It" is currently my Favorite Single Of 2006, which would seem to imply that nothing I've heard that actually dropped in the first six months of 2006 sounds better than the Black Eyed Peas doing the wop over "Misirlou."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

You'd scroll through fields of Pin to read my solipsistic take on alternative rock. Thank you.

The countdown is over! Mazel tov! In closing, I'd like to address some false assumptions people may have made based upon the top ten over at modernrock4eva.

Myth: Jesus fucking christ, Anthony sure loves white rap!

Fact: There is only one white rapper in the top ten. While Evanesence sidekick Paul McCoy does sound like a constipated Nelly, he's no more rapping on "Bring Me To Life" than Nelly is on "Over & Over" (both are easily the oddest adult contemporary hits of the decade, by the way). Mike Shinoda, Rakim to Mr. Hahn's Eric B. in Linkin Park, is half-Japanese, while Sonny Sandoval, P.O.D.'s rapper/singer/yeller, is of Guamanian, Italian, Hawaiian, and Mexican descent (thank you, Wikipedia). Despite the connotations of his band's name, Doug Robb of Hoobastank does not rap and is half-Japanese. Robert Smith, Billie Joe Armstrong, the guy from Better From Ezra, Kurt Cobain and Bono also do not rap. The only white rapper in the top ten is Shifty. Send him a congratulatory message!

Myth: Anthony likes that Hoobastank piece of shit more than "Black" by Pearl Jam! More than that beautiful ballad by Candlebox or "Interstate Love Song!" WTF?!

Fact: While the above statement is true, you couldn't deduce that from the countdown, as none of the songs mentioned were #1 hits on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. Here are 25 non-#1 charting hits that would have definitely crashed the top 10, possibly topping "High," depending on what I had for dinner and how long it had been since I'd last had sex.

Frank Black, "Headache"
Blur, "Song 2"
Breeders, "Cannonball"
Counting Crows, "Mr. Jones"
Cure, "Love Song"
Elastica, "Stutter"
Erasure, "A Little Respect"
Gin Blossoms, "Hey Jealousy"
Harvey Danger, "Flagpole Sitta"
Limp Bizkit, "Nookie"
Morrissey, "Last Of The Famous International Playboys"
Nine Inch Nails, "Closer"
Pavement, "Cut Your Hair"
Pearl Jam, "Jeremy"
Liz Phair, "Supernova"
Queens Of The Stone Age, "Go With The Flow"
Rage Against The Machine, "Bulls On Parade"
Rancid, "Time Bomb"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight"
Sonic Youth, "Kool Thing"
Sugar, "Your Favorite Thing"
Teenage Fanclub, "The Concept"
They Might Be Giants, "Birdhouse In Your Soul"
Vines, "Get Free"
Weezer, "Buddy Holly"

You might be wondering if any of 2006's #1s to date would have rated highly on the chart if they were eligible. Pearl Jam's incoherent but spirited "World Wide Suicide" would have fit in between "My Sister" and "Policy Of Truth" at #107.5, with Weezer's melodic but insipid "Perfect Situation" almost ten spots lower and the inescapable oatmeal that is "Dani California" resting down in the 170s, so the answer is no.

What Modern Rock hits would you say are more awesome than all the alt-ditties America pushed to #1? Which singles have I and this country robbed?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Random notes

1. I'd like "Promiscuous" a lot more if Furtado's verse vocal didn't make me think about how much I'd rather be listening to LL's "Doin' It." Despite their obvious craft, there's something about both her singles that leaves me a little cold.

2. The ad where the Fruits Of The Loom pretend they're Coldplay is kind of the most wonderful thing I've seen on TV all year.

3. I don't miss writing freelance.

4. I do miss the relationship I had with pop singles when I'd listen to the radio a lot - I liked the sense of common experience I don't get from the net and videos are a really tainted way of experiencing songs. I like not having my ears strapped to a discman every time I step outside even more, though.

5. I still have a Top Ten Singles Of 2006 (So Far):

Black Eyed Peas "Pump It"
E-40 "Tell Me When To Go"
Busta Rhymes "Touch It"
Pussycat Dolls "Buttons"
Kelly Clarkson "Walk Away"
Gnarls Barkley "Crazy"
LL Cool J feat. Jennifer Lopez "Control Myself"
Ne-Yo "When You're Mad"
Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean "Hips Don't Lie"
Eagles Of Death Metal "I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Top 5 imdb user reviews for Get Rich And Die Trying:

5. I hope that the right people get a hold of the comments I'm about to make. Motion pictures still have the ability to be used as an art form that can be a medium of effective communication. As a culture have we forgotten how to use gifts and talent? As a nation (USA) have we decided that freedom means that "gangsters' can pimp the arts with money and influence? Let's face it, music, TV and motion pictures are the hallmark of artistry in our world. And, at the same time the abuse of these mediums has caused talent and gifts to be eroded from the next generation. There is pot of gold in our youth and young adults that executives and media directors have a MORAL and CULTURAL obligation to ensure art is not bastardized for profit. Mr. Jackson (50 Cents) is just one of the many symptoms of what we are becoming as a people, a cancer. As an American of African heritage I feel a burden for my peers of caucasion ethnicity, please don't "help" black people by lavishing wealth and opportunity on the loudest, most threatening and menacing people in our communities. Say "no" to the next 50 Cent, no to his music, his "acting," and his abuse of 1st Amendment rights. Lets send a message as leaders in media that everything isn't acceptable. Lets educate people to what is good, positive, life affirming and yes creative as well. Lets fund and support education in the arts and create new industries starting in the places with the least opportunity and hope. Art can be made in the hood, but its born from the Heart.

With great power comes great responsibility. -Stan Lee


4. The movie was full of action. There were no dull moments. Throughout the whole movie I was wondering whats going to happen next and who is doing this and who is doing that. I must say that this is a very good movie in my opinion. Before I saw the movie I didn't even really like 50 cent due to his attitude, but his acting was good the movie was very well put together. I cant lie I might just go see that again. At least I know once it go to video I will pick it up. For the ladies yall gon enjoy 3 parts cause all ima say is naked lol i give it a 10 because I wasn't expecting it to be halfway decent and it was actually good I just cant hate. Most people may give it a 5 and up but there's nothing awful about it unless u as a person don't like anything dramatic, action packed, and real


3. "Hi my name is - Who? - My name is - What? - My name's Cheeky Cheeky Slim Shady!" Cheeky Cheeky Slim Shady there with the song that kick-started the whole rap music scene! Little did Cheeky Slim know that his jolly, upbeat, life affirming music would pave the way for a more sinister type of rapping… Slim Shady and his cheery tunes were soon pushed aside in favour of ruder artists like Marshall Mathers or the despicable Eminem. These didn't want to rap about saying hello and explaining what their name is anymore, they wanted to rap about guns and drugs, and pimps and hoes. And drugged up pimps with gun-toting hoes, who drug their clients and then force them at gunpoint to ho themselves to pimps. For drugs.

Now it seems that every new rappist feels that he has to outdo the last in a bid to be ever more offensive, cramming profanities into every song like a pimp with a gun cramming drugs into a ho. The latest young man to try his hand at profanity cramming is one 50 cent, a man who raps harder than an Elf at Christmas. 50 cent is so called because he was kidnapped as a small child, but was so unloved by his family that the abductors were only able to ask for a ransom of half a dollar. Now Fifty has taken his tragic upbringing and transformed it into a hit movie, Get Killed Or Die Trying'! In Get Killed Or Try Dyin' Fifty plays a young man who has to find a way to escape a life on the streets in America! Life on the street isn't easy, believe me, I know. I have to walk past homeless people every day. Well, I tend to jog past. Even though I cross to the other side of the road so that I don't have to smell them, I can still see that they have it pretty tough. When I say that I can 'see' that they have it tough, it's not strictly true, because I try not to look directly at the homeless. It's depressing, isn't it? Nevertheless, I can perceive out of the corner of my eye that they have it tough. I suppose that technically all they have to do is sit there, so it's not tough in any obvious way, but I'm confident that it's tough in theory.

Movies have taught me that there are only three possible career choices for a young black man on the streets of America, drug dealer, ho pimper, or word… rapper. Each choice presents its share of problems. Drug dealing is hard. Getting up every morning, reading the scruffy handwriting on all those prescriptions, weighing out exactly the right amount of pills, putting them into those tiny little bottles that have the caps that are really difficult to get off, advising people about what kind of tissues are best. The life of a drug dealer isn't one that I would wish on anyone. Similarly pimping is no walk in the park either. Unless your hoes work in and around a park. Finally we have the life of a millionaire rap 'musician'. Do you think it's easy to be a rapper? Just because it's easy to swear, and easy to do things in time to music, you think it's easy to SWEAR IN TIME TO MUSIC? Is that what you think?! Well you're right, that's why it's easier to be a rapper than a pimp or a drug dealer.

The real trick to being a rap star is to make sure that a lot of bad things happen to you. Get Killed Or Get Rich Trying' follow Fifty as he embarks on his quest to have lots of things happen to him that make him really angry. Once Fifty has been involved in enough anger-causing incidents, he will be able to write raps about them and escape his life on the street, but can he do so before someone 'pops a cap up his ass'? Or shoots him? You'll have to watch the incredible Get Rich Quick Or Your Money Back to find out!


2. Look man ... I'm from Romania .. yeah .. I know you don't care .. but listen to this...

My English may be bad ... but ...

It's VERY hard to make a movie of someone's life and try not to modify the truth too much. In my opinion that 8 mile movie is NO better than this movie.

50 had a hard time ... and you're saying this movie is bad?? That's his life.Don't you get it? Tell me .. what great things did you do in YOUR life??

What are you doing with your life that's SO great ?? huhh?? Send me an email and tell me.My address is

Word up all


1. Is this not the kind of art written by the bourgeoisie between the entrée and pudding? Imagine a film that shows 50 cent as a hero, a sensitive man. Imagine violent criminals breaking into diatribes declaring their manly love and respect for each other. Imagine what it must be like to not be able to read or write, and have friends like this man.

Fortunately, I don't have to. Instead I can gladly submit to this effective marketing tool. I'm glad to have brought him a burger through watching this film.

Do you want to see what an average film is like? Watch this, and appreciate how good an average film actually is.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Anybody know why Buckcherry has been hovering near the bottom of the Billboard album chart's top 50, where the album debuted, for nine weeks? Never drops down, never rises, it just stays there...x number of people buy the new Buckcherry album every week. The reunion album by Buckcherry. It's creepy! Is their non-delightful new single "Crazy Bitch" in a TV ad? At least I can write off the enduring top 10 pop success of "Dani California" as some kind of embarassing digital download quirk.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Attention, fellow Scrawl fans! Somewhere to go next time you're stuck in the middle of Ohio.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Last.Fm "Last Week" Top Ten Round-Up

1. Ghostface
If my enthusiasm for Fishscale is rather muted, it's because I finally checked out Ironman and Supreme Clientele, making Fishscale my fourth favorite Ghostface album. And who knows, maybe Bulletproof Wallets is better too. I can't join the Tony Starks cult, in part because his hooks tend to reach me before he does, but they reach me pretty quickly.

2. Bowling For Soup
Are Good Charlotte still my favorite pop-punk band of the decade, or have BFS taken the crown? Their next releases will decide for sure. The drama...

3. Jay-Z
I'm all about '90s NYC debut rap albums right now. Illmatic, Ironman, Reasonable Doubt, It's Dark And Hell Is Hot...missed them at the time - none released on Matador.

4. Tarkio
My tags say Tariko, but accoring to google they're called Tarkio! The system is flawed.

5. Madonna
She has enough great songs to make a decent box set, but the only full-length I truly enjoy is You Can Dance! Most album filler is intolerable and the hits comps are flawed. I'm making a 2CD-R comp for my own pleasure soon, feel free to recommend some album tracks that deserve attention.

6. The Go-Betweens
I didn't actually check out Oceans Apart until a month or two before McLennan's death. The only band I can think of who were actually better when they re-united than beforehand.

7. Amadou & Mariam

Some awful, ignorant articles about this duo came out recently, and I don't feel like throwing more bwana asshattery out there (the words "Manu" and "Chao" appear on all the "world music" I own). Hear Dimanche A Bamako, though.

8. Mogwai
It's been a good year for indie bands I never gave a shit about before. Debating revisiting Young Team, but nothing on the albums that followed led me to believe I'd enjoy Mr. Beast as much as I do. I wonder if they were in danger of having to lower their gaurantee or something.

9. Phoenix
I can't believe I'm actually enjoying a continental European rock band!

10. Sia
I'd say more, but I'm late for an Ikea run...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

If I'm going to have a comments box, I might as well employ it: Do you have a FAVORITE single or album from this year yet? I'm not talking some by-default choice, I'm talking a non-reissue 2006 release that you treasure. I've got plenty of likes (I'll be doing a first half of 2006 round-up eventually), but little in the way of loves. Is anything seriously floating people's boats right now?

Monday, June 12, 2006

You know what else is back? The song stylings of Eamon! The new single, "(How Could You) Bring Him Home," is disappointingly curse-free, but he does reference Maroon 5 in the first verse. I anxiously await the video.

In case you've forgotten his comically cancerous cojones, someone's put up the UNEDITED version of "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)"...

And dig this, a remix of the smugger-than-smug "I Love Them Ho's/Girl Act Right" featuring...GHOSTFACE!

He's back! He's baaaack!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The comments box is back, due to what passes for popular demand around here (still working out the kinks, though). I prefer e-mail correspondence, where nobody can embarrass you by publicly pointing out your dumbass statements or by making their own, but the people have spoken, and I will appease them...for now.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"Last Week" Round-up

1. The Clean
Why the hell did they put such awful rarities at the end of Disc 2 of Anthology? Totally fucks up the listenability. Completists bite hard.

2. Band Of Horses
A Flaming Lips I can respect! More later.

3. Bowling For Soup
Not just Fountains Of Wayne Meets Blink-182, but the Sell-Out NOFX as well.

4. Eric B. & Rakim
I love the hits, but I'm never totally sure why he's "the best rapper ever," aside from "purity" (do these people hate pizza toppings?).

5. Big Daddy Kane

He looks like he's freezing!

6. Tariko
Still haven't listened to the Decemberists yet. I'm lazy.

7. Jon Auer
The ex-Posie's In The Year Of Our Demise is chock full of overwraught and lyrically ridiculous yet melodically outstanding romantic alternapop. In the days of virginal Greg Dulli worship, it would be my favorite album of the year. Five stars! WHAT WOULD BE ON THE RADIO IF PEOPLE HAD A CLUE!

8. The M's
I still haven't thought of anything more than the phrase "avant-glam" in regards to these chaps. Maybe I need to read a press bio.

9. Death From Above 1979
The lyrics are still lame, but that remix album eliminates the monochromatic quality of the original release - ironically more listenable despite the multiple appearances of the same original track. Some of these technified versions sound like an enjoyable "future of rock" - if they didn't espouse such boring dickery, they'd be right up there with Linkin Park in my esteem.

10. DMX
Turns out Fred Durst circa Chocolate Starfish was totally jacking his flow!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Being American big budget films involving superheroes and Halle Berry, they aren't without their flaws, but those X-Men movies get me in the gut. Dynamic young people with amazing abilities deciding which aging British fop to line up behind, whether to defend America or punish its citizens for their ignorant, unsympathetic fear. The mixture of adolescent "gifted" frustration and apocalyptic bombast is immensely satisfying; with our government using gays & mexicans as objects of fear now that the "terrorist" threat is no longer effective, watching a technicolor battle over faith in humanity strikes me as very cathartic. The new film is breezier - Brett Ratner, duh - but the template remains effective and the visuals may be the grandest yet. I could write a longer post with observations like "Shadowcat had better chemistry with Iceman than Rogue did," but I'll save that shit for conversations with friends who share the same mixture of appreciation and mild embarassment. One thing: I have nothing but the highest respect for Hugh Jackman (I actually think he should have gotten a Best Supporting Actor nomination for one of the earlier flicks), which leads me to believe that no actor could pull off saying "way to go, Furball" to a television set.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Saw Boris (Japanese Motorhead with psych-drone tendencies and a diminuitive female guitarist) last night. I enjoyed them as well as opening act Thrones (screwed-and-chopped Trans from Melvins bassist), but I can't take non-pop metal in a live context anymore. I stand all day at work, so if you're not going to inspire me to move, I need to be able to sit down. Overall, the show made me want to buy some Blue Oyster Cult.

It's possible that I won't see another live show until Electric Six comes back to town in July. Feelin' old...

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Last Week" Last.Fm Round-Up

1. The Clean
Judging by the success of Clap Your Hands and Tapes'n'Tapes, VU-style pop-drone is coming back in favor. I approve in a "better than emo" sense, even if I have a hard time remembering indiviudal songs.

2. Sia
Oh, Sia, my Dido.

3. The Mountain Goats
Am I the only person who thinks Tallahassee stands out as a sub-par release? I love what I've heard before and since, but that one (the first I ever heard), still only grabs me for about five tracks. I don't even like "No Children" or "Small Arms Traffic Blues!" Baffling...

4. Tariko
I've always liked Colin Meloy's voice, and my fondness for this midwest-alt juvenalia tells me I really need to revisit the Decemberists. Or maybe I just prefer him in this generic context?

5. Stereolab
Are there really people who would notice if they put a track from five years ago on a new album with a different name? Bob Pollard would have an easier job getting away with it, but I think these folks could pull it off.

6. 2pac's technology is obviously lax, because I played more than 6 tagged 2Pac tracks this week. Recently made a CD-R based on Ethan's recommendations on an ILX thread and some singles. If you have any favorites not in this tracklisting, send me an e-mail so I can hunt them down.

  1. So Many Tears
  2. Against All Odds
  3. California Love
  4. I Wonder If Heaven’s Got A Ghetto
  5. Dear Mama
  6. Temptations
  7. Brenda’s Got A Baby
  8. Shorty Wanna Be A Thug
  9. Only God Can Judge Me
  10. God Bless The Dead
  11. How Do You Want It?
  12. I Get Around
  13. Hail Mary
  14. If My Homie Calls
  15. Ambitionz Az A Ridah
  16. When We Ride On Our Enemies
  17. Keep Your Head Up
I never cared too much about him back in the MTV heyday, but these tracks do a good job of showing him in a lively, thoughtful context. I once wrote him off as too apollonian to identify with, but at his best, the details and spirit keep the "earnest thug" archetype from ossifying. His tendency to repeat his overriding themes in the last verse or two of a song reminds me of a politican.

7. Broken Social Scene
Recently pulled the self-titled album out, and I think I'm becoming more sympathetic to the faceless bandwing camp side of indie. The whole gang getting together to make an inclusive kaboom. Bet I'd revere this stuff if I was in high school.

8. Eef Barzelay
Ignored Clem Snide after the staid Your Favorite Music, but the songs on Barzelay's solo disc are strong and witty enough to make me want to find out how they come off with a full band. Not as kind as John Prine, but almost as smart.

9. The M's
Avant-glam act on Polyvinyl with a harsh, unique sound, not so sure if they have the songs yet.

10. Sonic Youth
The tracks off Rather Ripped I've heard don't stray far from the groovy template of the last two albums. Might be their biggest album yet.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Five reasons to see the new version of The Omen next week:

1. Movie theatre air conditioning RULES!

2. Pizza The Hutt has a cameo.

3. Mia Farrow, Pete Postelwaithe and David Thewlis's stunt dummies get one good scene each.

4. Spontaneous psychosis in dogs and monkeys.

5. I assume thanks to cosmetic science, Liev Schrieber has a permanently furrowed mannequin face that is only capable of three expressions: "I am Rodan's Thinker," "is" and "UGH, FISH!" The latter is deployed only when someone dies, and briefly.

Otherwise, you should just see the original (or something else).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One of the things that kills me about Pants-Off Dance-Off is how shows of this type inspire people like myself to treat videos as sacred works of art. It makes you pine for the days when one could watch ADVERTISEMENTS FOR POP SONGS free of scrolls, clutter and awkward strippers, when you could watch TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENTS FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS without interruption. And when they do give you that opportunity, you're grateful and make a note to watch them more frequently. Have we reached such a depth in capitalist culture that this is the slim bit of entertainment we're fighting for? It's downright satanic, and not in the fun way.

Working on a list of my favorite videos, btw. Thin line between love and hate, joy and contempt, ZZ Top's "Legs" and ZZ Top's "Sleeping Bag."

Monday, May 29, 2006

If the idea of a pop-punk with little in the way of 'chops' trying to recreate the intense drama of Asia fills you with excitement, you have to check out the Angels & Airwaves album. Minute plus intros of power chords and keyb swells, gradually leading to a drum fill. Video for "The Adventure" opens with the band walking onto a spaceship. We later see footage of the formerly earthbound Tom DeLonge walking in a field, letting his arms float above him with Bonofied slo-mo grace, but it's all about "Heat Of The Moment."

Friday, May 26, 2006

The "It's All About The Benjamins (Rock Remix)" video is not on youtube and I wish there was something I could do about that. There's a stream at, but it's just not the same. It annoys me that those shitty Run-DMC/Aerosmith and PE/Anthrax collabos get so much attention when there are so many finer examples of rap-rock out there. Plus, unlike the aforementioned pair, this version is actually better than the original (that climactic Biggie verse with the ringing power chords? Puffy running screaming through a high school hallway with rioting prom attendees? A post-Mats, pre-G'N'R Tommy Stinson for some inexplicable reason? Sweet merciful christ!). If you haven't heard or seen it in a while, hunt it down. The shit's unreal, and music needs to get back on that tip.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

We now begin our weekly feature: Defend Your Last.FM "Last Week" Top Ten!

1. Cities
2. American Princes
Ordinary alt-rockers with energetic side ones. Cities uses more Brit reverb, American Princes has more distinct melodic hooks. I wouldn't worry too much about hearing either unless you're a freelancer for Magnet with a deadline.

3. The Clean
Shuffle benefits the double CD anthology, no? I need to toss some of the non-drones.

4. Sonic Youth
Was pretty surprised by the first EP, recently reissued. Knew Richard Edson, character actor extraordinaire, was the drummer then, but had no idea he was attempting some "I Zimbra" shit on occasion ("She Is Not Alone" is hysterical, Thurston failing his audition for the Slits). I assume its the lack of distinct identity that gives the disc such a bad rap, but sometimes I'll take post-PIL jiggy over sluggier bombast.

5. Annie Hayden
A lot of the albums I've been listening to this year are long on seductive atmosphere but short on the anthemic pull that inspires me to write long blog posts (noticed?). The Merge b-lister's The Enemy Of Love doesn't bore or grate when it's on, but I don't remember what was intelligent or charming about the songs after. One of the best adult-alternative singer-songwriter albums I've heard in a while, but it never evolves into pop the way Amy Rigby or Liz Phair albums can, even when she's covering the Replacements.

6. Jay-Z
Respected MTV rap from the mid to late 90s is a big gap in my musical knowledge (blame Dr. Octagon and an inability to take the Hype Williams video aesthetic seriously), so I've been checking out a lot of Jay-Z, DMX, Tupac, Nas and Biggie lately. A lot of the criticisms I had about these guys based on the big MTV hits are falling away with distance and further perusal. Jay-Z's flow still often strikes me as sedentary and uninvolving - I prefer my rappers more musical - but Reasonable Doubt and Vol. 3 are albums I need to acquire in full.

7. Shoplifting
Was enjoying this Les Savy Favish until I realized that my favorite tracks were almost identical and that the band basically hits a post-punk skank, gradually pulling away into a tinny, awkward drone for a tad. Song titles include "Male Gynecology." Its marginality made blatant, I chucked it.

8. Supergrass
I Should Coco, another 90s artifact I'm digging with distance.

9. Arab Strap
The Last Romance is the first of their releases to catch my ear at all. Basically some brogued-up, monomaniacal Greg Dulli bullshit - this leery agonizing over matters of the crotch sounded less ridiculous and insipid when I was a virgin, but there's a few tracks on the new one where they make it rock (the Whigs' saving grace as well).

10. Sia
To reaffirm I've been wallowing in nondescript ambiance, it turns out this Astralwerks songstress I've been spinning soundtracked a climactic moment on Six Feet Under. I think I'm mentally preparing for yuppiehood in hopes of acquiring a living wage.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

from Billboard:

For the first time in their 22-year career, Red Hot Chili Peppers score a No. 1 album on The Billboard 200. The two-disc "Stadium Arcadium" (Warner Bros.) sold 442,000 copies in the United States in its debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The total is the band's career best sales week, beating the opening week of 2002's "By The Way," which bowed at No. 2 with 282,000.

Only double CDs get counted as two separate sales, which would make the actual number of copies sold 221,000. And Stadium Arcadium is a total poo slog. I liked over half of By The Way (Frusciante and Kiedis made that one all pretty-like) but had to strain to get through any track from the bloated newbie, whose overriding theme is that as long as young girls are moving to L.A., Tony Flow will be there to rhyme about them over jam excerpts from the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'd just like to note that whenever I'm on a music trivia team in a bar, we win. I have never lost. This has been tested on two continents. FACT.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

re: this.

The Hopper/EMP debacle is just a case of shitty journalism and distracting from what I actually find interesting about the situation. SFJ's blog posts (including his response to the article, reprinted here) underline a recent mentality in rockcrit that hasn't been challenged except in defensive broadsides like the Slate piece.

Merritt basically has an aesthetic preference, "melody over rhythm," that he discusses eloquently and unapologetically. He's unafraid to acknowledge the racial coding people are likely to infer, and does so with a wry humor I really appreciate. SFJ has decided to describe his comments as "poisonous skeet," which raises the question of what exactly is "poisonous" about what Merritt has said. Is it poisonous to acknowledge one's disinterest in hip-hop? To be dismissive and flip about the evolution of R&B? Annoying, perhaps, depending on your evangelism for the music, but poisonous? Merritt has made withering comments about indie rock (he's said the vocalists on his 6ths albums were chosen mainly for accessibility and subcultural catchet - he's of indie, or was before Broadway called, but not enamored of it) and I have no doubt that he finds metal to be a waste of his time. Would SFJ find those tastes to be poisonous?

The only reason the grumblings of an insular melodist would deserve this kind of ire is if you believe it's culturally or politically irresponsible to not acknowledge the value of R&B/hip-hop culture; that it's a symptom of something sinister. A lot of writers have given funk/hip-hop a certain cultural primacy, suggesting that even if a critic's listening tastes aim towards alt-indie, you have to give lip service to the inherent value and worth of recent "black" music.

Critics who focus on country or metal tend to be exempt, as they're already covering underappreciated subsets of music culture, but if you're part of the pazz & jop honky majority, you're expected to genuflect to the beatmakers - a standard which trickles down to the world outside. Due to my politics and taste in popular music, I'm sympathetic to this demand on cultural critics, but applied outside of consumer guides, it has a tendency to limit discussion more than advance it. I don't like the idea of people feeling defensive because they don't want to listen to crack tales from misogynists, or because they like to hear some stagnant alt-country doyenne mewl about sequoias after a long day at work. I'm not denying that people often dismiss modern black music due to ignorance and racial antipathy, but giving musical genres cultural primacy through this kind of cheap coding, which seems condescending in the face of hip-hop's across-the-board popularity in America today, is much more poisonous than acknowledging the specifics of your tastes the way Merritt does. We don't have to make uncool into a crime.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Just watched The Baxter last night, and oof. I did not need to know that Michael Showalter would use his debut film as a triple threat (David Wain, who steals his scenes here, is the one that directed Wet Hot American Summer - Showalter co-wrote and starred) to tell us the story of a young CPA who never gets the girl, only to discover that his dorky friend with an indie fashion sense is the one he should have been with all along.

Mundane and predictable enough for you? I didn't even mention that the movie begins with a flash-forward of his fiance leaving him at the altar, before telling the entire story of how they met, courted and prepared to be wed. It would be one thing if the film treated its tired, obvious template with satirical irreverence, but it seems Showalter is trying to get sloppy 189ths with a genuine attempt this breed of romcom. He even falls for the mistake of having your neurotic, pathetic lead be less likeable than every other guy in the film, including his romantic competitor. It's nice to see the crew from Wet Hot pop their heads in throughout, but the lack of imagination in The Baxter is horrifying.

With his primacy in the pack growing clearer with every venture, I now have a flaming mancrush on David Wain. Always bet on the balding and bespectacled.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

RIP, Grant McLennan. Thanks for leaving us dozens of amazing hooks to remember you by. It's hard to believe you won't be around to make more.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The video for "World Wide Suicide," should they ever bother to make one, should involve Pearl Jam, shirtless, riding horses to the White House, followed by angry protesters of all creeds, colors and ages. We need lots of helicopter shots and shaky on-the-ground DV footage. If Eddie has a Native American headband, he should be wearing it. The mumbly love child of Ian MacKaye and Steven Tyler is still ragin', full-on.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another reason Fall Out Boy is depressing: the way they treat their lead singer! The guy writes the melodic hooks, the only aspect of their songs that I can remember, but the videos highlight Pete Wentz, the Bernie Taupin of the high school emo set. Pete knocks over amps, revels in close-ups, kicks vampire ass and gets the girl, while the singer (whose name I can't even remember!) wears bulky clothes, hides behind his hat and winds up fanged before getting a single shot off. The drummer even gets more screen love in the vampire video, as evidently he's quite the swordsman. They almost never show the guitarist, but I bet that's only so the vocalist doesn't have the indignity of being the least present member of the band on Fuse. He doesn't even go for enigmatic like fellow Martin-Prince-at-26 Paul Banks. Christ, at least Ann Wilson got commanding head shots!

Some photographic evidence:

He gets to be up front if he wears the vest...

though notice how the drummer compensates.

There are other ways to conceal...

This one's pretty imaginative.

How can you not hate Pete Wentz? Dude writes crappy lyrics, carries photos of his dick on his cellphone and is so desperate to milk his stud status that he makes his singer dress like he's been stationed in Alaska. Make your voice heard and boycott his livejournal! When Wentz tries to add you as a friend on myspace, say no! We want more close-ups of the other guy! Adam Duritz never got this treatment.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The top three debuts in Billboard this week were the Dresden Dolls, NOFX and Drive-By Truckers. A Blessing And A Curse is right, the industry really must be in crisis.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I listened to Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" in its entirety for the first time yesterday (sorry, that Fiddler-lifting chorus sent me for the hills every time), and I learned two things.

1) Eve sounds great over the beat. Shame she had to share it.

2) I'd get me four Harajuku girls to
Inspire me and they'd come to my rescue
I'd dress them wicked, I'd give them names

Hooray for Gwen! What a wonderful, imperialist parasite she is! No culture is safe in her plight to keep Gavin Rossdale living a life of ease & riches. Clem had a great post about this last year, but I just had to voice my continued contempt.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Art Brut sucks!!!

It's the truth you don't want to hear, but it's the truth nonetheless! I know it's been a long time since you heard rock-meta in a thick brogue over jagged guitars, but you don't have to settle for this! Make your own small-minded post-punk band! And don't let your American status stop you, just oi up your voice! Billie Joe did it, Dick Van Dyke did it, and you can too! Why settle for being one of half a million folks (generous estimate) on myspace raving about this type of inbred jangle when you can be in one of a thousand bands pumping out this shit!

E -----
B -----
G -----
D ----3
A ----3
E -1---

That's a power chord. Get somebody else who already knows that to make trebly fills over it, a drummer or a drum machine, and you're a band! Don't worry about technique, cuz the K aesthetic is way overdue for a comeback! Just yell something that could be equally ironic or genuine like "I HAVE MORE FRIENDS ON MYSPACE THAN YOU!" twice, then yell something that rhymes, then repeat the original phrase again! Add more if you're feeling imaginative, but seriously, the K aesthetic is due for a comeback! Figure out the best bumper sticker and win some buzz!

If the Television Personalities and Pulp had two babies and those babies had a baby as soon as they hit puberty, we, Art Brut, would be that incestuous baby! And we suck!

I understand why it's exciting to hear another band that can replicate post-punk sounds with a more limited lyrical palette (cuz twenty years after people were making music about how shitty capitalism and intolerance is, we know that's futile and just make music about how shitty music is), especially when they're from Britain and you kinda heard it first, but let's make our own instead! It's clearly pretty easy and jumping up and down on stage is a good way to lose weight*! Instead of finding indie rock dubyas, let's make our own! Our incompetence might help us stumble assbackwards into something novel! You might also get tired of the sound quicker, and learn to appreciate something more challenging, like JAZZ! Or GRIME!


Now you do it!

*Getting popular, however, is not. So not only will we be helping ourselves by not paying attention to Fall Out Boy and Interpol, we'll be helping their singers cut down on the snacking!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


"It's like 'Jurassic Park,' but I'm your sexasaurus," he sang. "You and me, hopping like two kangaroos. ... You got me locked in your cage of ecstasy, and I don't want to be free. ... I'm your Tarzan, and you're my Jane."

I was going to share a link to the new "Spaceinvaderinterlude" on the Limp Bizkit myspace page but FRED TOOK IT DOWN!!! Why??? I was glad to see Fred returning to his Chocolate Starfish whine-rap style. On the last few releases he's gotten more self-conscious and didn't sound like DMX after inhaling a 6th birthday party's worth of helium, a chicken on steroids. In this brief celebration of "myspace, it's your space" he went back to his old steez. But now it's gone... Maybe Tom disapproved.

This almost makes up for it. "Some of that footage of me is just down right bugged out," sez Fred. All footage of you is just down right bugged out, dude.

Monday, April 24, 2006

They just don't make them like they used to.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Caught the Raconteurs' video on VH1 late last night, and holy shit if you needed proof beyond his "let's do something real" interviews that Jack White pines for the 90s, there you go. Blurry stop-motion shots of the band performing in an attic, grainy farm imagery, fuzzed-out chorus, no bottom, dork-faced musicians with Jordan Catalano hair, it's so cheap and generic that the words "Beavis And Butthead" should be in the lower right corner. Is this the Young Fresh Fellows? Dandelion? Was Don Fleming involved? Was Jim Jarmusch intentionally going for a retro look? I'd like to write this off as another Jack White affectation with no bearing on culture whatsoever, but I can't shake the fear that all those inexplicable visual cliches from the era, all that drab Dino Jr-Nirvana aftermath, will be coming back in the next five years. To paraphrase John Wojtowicz in Why Music Sucks via Stairway To Hell, what do you think the the music of the early '10s will be like when everyone is trying to sound like that ALL OVER AGAIN?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Todd Smith for the Miami New Times, anticlimactically capping off a chapter in the Jack Chick tract that is my writing career. Michael Lacey can eat his own horseshit, as far as this video store clerk is concerned.

update: Bob Mehr of the Chicago Reader's take on all this, on ILX.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Show Your Bones for the Baltimore City Paper. Submitted before reading Melissa Maerz' profile for SPIN, which gave some depressing explanations as to why they released the album they did. Writing in the studio on pro-tools with your singer's then-boyfriend's brother to the band's dismay while said singer is also recording a solo album doesn't really sound like the road to inspiration, does it? "Dudley" and "Cheated Hearts" are pretty good Bettie Serveert songs, though.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

I can't begin to express how excited I am for the new Neil Young album, Living With War. Working with Niko Bolas, for, if I'm not mistaken, the first time since Freedom! POWER TRIO PLUS TRUMPET! 100 VOCALISTS! The single is called "Impeach The President," IT'S CALLED "IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT!"

It could be total shit, but as a fan of Re*Ac*Tor whose favorite album of the decade is Read Music/Speak Spanish by Desaparecidos, an attempt at METAL FOLK PROTEST (his words!) sounds so refreshing and awesome. Enough acoustic meditation and abstraction! It's time for some catharsis! It's time for a popular, respected artist to cut the business-minded diplomacy and scream this shit out until they're tired and bored. LET'S IMPREACH THE PRESIDENT FOR LYIN'! My favorite hippie's gonna just BLAM BLAM BLAM his frustration and dismay down our throats with a choir, power chords and a motherfucking trumpet. Suck on that! Eat it!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Vision Valley for the Miami New Times. To enjoy the Vines, you not only need to be addicted to the musical pleasures of 90s rock, you also have to be sardonic about the era's pretensions, and comfortable with the Vines total lack of ability to say anything about anything. If you begrudge them their stupidity, or spelled grunge with four letters the first time around, these guys are less than shit. You either have to be really cynical or really innocent to dig this.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My inner jury is still out on Meds, but I think it's cool that Christgau has come around on Placebo, if in his usual condescending, reticent way (which entertains or offends depending on my perspective on glib white male privilege that moment - being one, my mood can vary). Once More With Feeling is one of my favorite hits comps of the last few years, pulling the emotional/musical peaks off of four albums with very obvious emotional/musical peaks (my fave is Without You I'm Nothing). Assuming you're down with their nervous formula, the consistency of craft and lack of an obvious prime period keep the comp from sinking like most recent retrospectives do. The rarities are great too, though I didn't bother to fuck with the remix CD. Anybody who likes their fragile frenetic needs to give them a listen.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Morrissey and the Flaming Lips releasing follow-ups to their overrated lowlights on the same day - albums that may well debut higher on the US pop chart than any of their previous works. Warped, seemingly eternal adolescents now lame elder statesmen declaring profundities over mushy grandeur. Post-punkers now aping the most boring, stagnant elements of pre-punk, their roots showing only in the clumsiness. I used to laugh about boomer artists given attention long after their sell-through date, but the "four stars for Storyville" impulse doesn't seem so generation-specific now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Favorite single of the year so far. In 2004, I suggested during an IM conversation with Jess that the only act that could pull off a Thriller in '05 was the Black Eyed Peas: giddy, hooky, danceable, inclusive, corny 4 the kids. Monkey Business hasn't had that monolithic presence, and I haven't loved every single (with Sergio Mendes as the Macca). Nonetheless, five or six push tracks in and several million sold, they deserve a lot more respect than they get. I like their vision of pop more than anyone else's.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

If your movie's third act features a long, uninterrupted extreme close up of the lead actor's face as it registers the cumulative effect of the previous scenes, I'm very disappointed in you. No exceptions come to mind.

Friday, March 31, 2006

"Why I Write Such Good Songs" by KleenexGirlWonder, off of 2002's After Mathematics. I wish LindsayHilaryorAshlee would cover it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Other People's Lives for Miami. I wonder if there's any song Davies has done in the last thirty years that I'd really like.

Four Four is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs and this post about the recent critical fawning over Mariah is one of the best I've seen anywhere in a long time. Between stuff like that, stuff like this and stuff like THIS (seriously, omg), you have no reason not to be reading it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Beyond finding the music almost entirely devoid of enjoyability, part of the reason "Sugar, We're Going Down" leaves me cold is how much the lyrical stance differs from my own concept of adolescence. When it came to girls, I was a painfully shy romantic with a tendency to place 'em on pedestals - Sebadoh and Weezer were my totems. This current emo brigade seems a lot more sexed but a lot less sweet. It's not entirely a bad thing (it's not like I want kids to grow up like I did and maybe if 90s music was a little less reticent about discussing non-idealistic co-ed interaction I might have tried more), but awkward poetry about using and being used by jezebels is a kind of post-feminist sour grapes that I can't get behind. If dudes are going to cop to pragmatic hurt-me-hurt-you assholery, they shouldn't be writing in cursive.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I never replaced the discman that fell in the bus toilet a few months ago, and the only reason I'm tempted now is the disconnect I feel from the pop chart. Without scanning stations while out & about or walking to work and back, my relationship with the pop song feels more isolated and theoretical. I miss experiencing them as outdoor ambience - even a great song like "Check On It" or "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" has really only been experienced through my computer. Aside from those two, there are only two songs on this week's top 50 (that weren't in my 2005 top 50) that I'm really crazy about, both being by the All-American Rejects, who do better on the pop chart than the rock - just like Poison. I'm not yet ready to say this disinterest is the chart's fault, not until I've given more of the other songs their due attention.

There are, however, a few that I know are complete shit:

Daniel Powter, "Bad Day" (could only be dignified if he sighed "Maxwell House" at the end)

Natasha Bedingfield, "Unwritten" (who do I have to blow for Robyn to get this kind of promotion?)

T-Pain, "I'm N Luv (Wit A Stripper)" (alternate album title: Da Doosh Wit Da Vokoda)

Bon Jovi, "Who Says You Can't Go Home" (haven't heard it, but I've never slammed my dick in a door either)

Fall Out Boy, "Sugar, We're Going Down" (I refuse to believe there's ever been a time in my life where I could have stomached this)

Monday, March 27, 2006

You're sitting in windows playing your games

Trying to beat what you've seen around

Trying to be everything you've dreamed

You haven't got nothing - just nowhere to go.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Back soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Proof there is no God: Scott Weiland sez Axl has an "unoriginal, uncreative little mind" and does not get hit by lightning.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Greatest for the Baltimore City Paper.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Anthony Miccio (Avril Lavigne) interviews Dick Valentine (himself) in Anthony Is Right: The Movie

Senor Smoke for the Seattle Weekly. Not only is it longer than a blurb, but I actually interviewed an artist for the first time since I talked to Janet Weiss for WKPS in 2000. In both cases, I had to destroy the cassette afterward, lest I was inspired to count the number of times I said "yeah!" or "oh, totally..." during their responses.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

If Fever To Tell was like having a new girlfriend, "Gold Lion" is 'Um, ok. Don't get mad or anything, but...your dreams are kind of boring.'
Attention, crap lovers! Three remixes of Trace Adkins' "Honkytonk Badonkadonk" are available for your listening pleasure (well, perusal) on AOLmusic: the "Euro-Honk mix," "Dance mix" and "Travolta mix." The weird thing is that there's nothing particularly Saturday Night Fever about the last one. It has an organ on it!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Along with Amy Rigby, another album from 2005 I've recently gotten into is Against Me!'s Searching For A Former Clarity. Singer's way loud in the mix, bellowing maudlin non-rhymes ("You know Justin? Well, Justin's dead. And Yahoo won't let his family have access to his e-mail account!") like a hoarse Danzig over a sound that's equal parts punk and Pixies (the track called "Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners" sounds like Franz Ferdinand!). The music gives the haggard vocal some populist weight and the voice gives the common, if well-crafted, music some personality. My least favorite song is the one that mocks Condoleeza Rice. They just signed to Sire, so hopefully they'll make Fuse a better place to flip past soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Two albums for the price of one... DJ, that is! Oh!

Check out the video for DMC & Sarah MacLachlan's rap-rock remake of "Cat's In The Cradle," titled "Just Like Me," on DMC's site.

For those who obeyed my sadistic command, two questions:

1. Near the end, are DMC and MacLachlan standing in front of a giant blow-up photo of Johnny Cash?

2. If yes, why the fuck are they standing in front of a giant blow-up photo of Johnny Cash? At first I thought it was Ian Curtis. But that's crazy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm a late convert to the whole Amy Rigby thing, but I am converted. I didn't think she'd be as fun as she is, cuz only Robert Christgau goes on about her. And since I've only heard Little Fugitive, I've got a decade's worth of music to explore. Giddiness over backlog, something I survived on back in the late 90s, is a rarer and rarer commodity for me these days, thanks to a fondness for new music and disinterest in sifting through mediocrities for forgotten highlights - whatever part of me bought every Fall album through 2000 is quite dead. But Rigby's supposedly been a consistent source of quality material, all of which I'm excited to hear (knock on wood it's not just another case of the stuck "A" key).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Note the new link on the right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Penn State College Logo Putter Cover

This sleek, durable putter cover is the perfect fit for any thin-headed putters. Embroidered with the team logo, this long lasting material is in school colors.

We have a winner! Paul Thompson of State College, PA. Hometown represent!

November, 2001:

11/3 - God Bless America by Various Artists - the first pre-country-jingoism
chart reflection of post-9/11, this one features Ms. Celine Dion--who is most
assuredly still a French Canadian in birth only--singing the hot fuck outta
"God Bless America." Noteworthy not only for its cheap cash-in on the
groundswell of patriotism, but for its not-so-cheap status as the first charity
album to hit #1 on Billboard since We Are The World.

11/10 - The Great Depression by DMX - Darkman X's fourth, this was the one that
finally found the media willing to cast aspersions on his hardly-latent
homophobia. Ironically, there are fewer instances of the word "faggot" in its
lyrics than most of his other records combined. Of note elsewhere is the song
"Who We Be," an iambic laundry list that'd make any Cash Money Millionaire

11/17 - Invincible by Michael Jackson - Jacko's last hurrah 'til his Chinese
Democracy, and despite a good first week, perhaps the Hudson Hawk of the Hot
200. I don't feel I have to tell you that this was its only appearance at the
top of the chart, although I am compelled to say your boy Robby Christgau gave
her an A-. Fellow defendant Kells does a track, too; "Cry."

11/24 - Britney by Britney Spears - Whoa, did you know Dido co-wrote "I'm Not a
Girl (et. al)?" Two Neptunes tracks, "Bombastic Love," and a Joan Jett tune (I
bet you know which one!). Why wasn't this her Glitter?

Why so noteworthy? Wellsir, none of these albums ever hit the top of the charts
again; a strange feat given the inclusion of two of the best-selling artists of
the past 40 years. An unflincingly crass version of our second-national
anthem-in-command by the 12th child of a fucking Canuck was the best 9/11 could
cough up 'til Alan Jackson's Drive a full two months later. And DMX, for some
reason, rears his ugly head betwixt his three more logical foes. I mean, yeah,
Il Divo is weird, but in a world where "My Humps" is king, that's a minor
aberration next to the balls-out failure of "U Rock My World." Don't you think?

Another good month: March 2002, which starts with the aforementioned Drive, then
the J. Lo remix album, then Alanis' Under Rug Swept, then the O Brother
soundtrack (which'd been out nearly two years at that point) for two weeks.


As soon as he sends his address, Paul will be receiving 7 CDs of modern hip-hop/r&b majesty.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Question: In Billboard Top 200 history, has there ever been a weirder batch of #1s than in February 2006?

February 4: First album in over 11 years from Jamie Foxx, Academy-award winning actor turned smooth r&b crooner, who first rose to fame by playing Wanda, a homely sex freak, on In Living Color. Single features Ludcaris.

February 11: The sophomore release from Il Divo, an "opera-pop" quartet made up of attractive male vocalists from America, Spain, Switzerland and France. The group was created by Simon Cowell and sings everything from classical standards to "Hero."

February 18: Barry Manilow, The Greatest Songs Of The Fifties

February 25: The soundtrack to a film adaptation of Curious George - a collection of lullabies, campfire songs and other collegiate hippie bullshit, performed by Jack Johnson.

If you can think of a month with four goofier #1s, e-mail me your address and win The Golden Pen Of R. Kelly, a 6 CD-R retrospective including cameos, songs written for other artists, album tracks and assorted ephemera. Find a month with FIVE and I'll throw in Featuring Ludacris, a CD-R of some of the rapper's greatest guest verses.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not for Miami.

"They're songs for everyone - from the shy romantic whose hopeless with the opposite sex, to the guy who'd still take you home, even though he "can't see through your fake tan" ('Still Take You Home')." - New Musical Express

Yup, that's everyone.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In Miranda's world, they're called "misunderstood" touches.

Hyperromantic tales of underage sexuality and indie quirk are bad enough (the false ending has the psychotic leads tearfully placing a framed photo of a bird in a tree, the real one is even cornier), but including a subplot about a cold-hearted gallery owner who learns to appreciate the writer/director/star's conceptual art after accepting her inner pederast is really pushing it. Me And You And Everyone We Know reaffirmed that I need to trust my instincts re: the popular American arthouse film and avoid this shit like the plague.

Speaking of shit and "pushing it," there are even more precious scenes of children discussing sex and scatology in the DVD's Special Features.

Friday, February 10, 2006

This week's Billboard Top Ten features four adult contemporary albums, three 'mature R&B' albums, two OPERA albums and Eminem's Greatest Hits. The top dog is Barry Manilow.

She Wants Revenge debuts at no. 38.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What happens when they let him direct.

For two nights in a row, I've watched a dopey thriller and discovered during the bafflingly proud documentary included on the DVD that the films (Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever and Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers) were written by an enthusiastic and amiable hack by the name of Alan McElroy. What's even creepier is that I easily might have rented Left Behind, Spawn, Wrong Turn or Rapid Fire tomorrow, had I not discovered that he wrote them all. I can't pretend I'm not curious about films in which Kirk Cameron witnesses the apocalypse, John Leguizamo wears heavy padding to play a demon clown, Eliza Dushku runs from 'cannibalistic mountain-men,' and Brandon Lee doesn't get shot.

Upcoming Alan McElroy scripts to look forward to, courtesy of IMDb:

Thr3e: Innocent lives hang on the whim of an elusive psychopathic murderer whose strange riddles and impossible timelines force three people into a mission to end the game before one or all of them die.

The Marine: A Marine returns from battle to find that his girlfriend is ensnared in a kidnapping plot. Starring John Cena.

Jornada del Muerte: A modern-day Western where gangs, drug trafficking and broken codes of honor rule. Directed by John Milius.

Bonesaw: The world is imperiled when Bonesaw and other demonic characters from a woman's hit fantasy horror novels are about to enter reality.

I'm not making any of this up, except the part about not renting Left Behind tomorrow.