Friday, November 28, 2008

As rickrolling achieves "macarena"-like stature...

A full commitment's what I'm thinking of. You wouldn't get this from any other guy. Unless Astley believes he's the only man on earth capable of fidelity, he's totally negging you.

We know The Game and we're gonna play it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

808s & Heartbreak.

Believe me, I get why it's interesting. Kanye aiming for Portishead, for Bjork, for Thom Yorke. At the same time, he's aiming for Akon & T-Pain. Unabashed anguish from a megastar. It's interesting.

But it's also an insult to Portishead, Bjork and Thom Yorke. Hell, it's an insult to Akon & T-Pain. It's the unabashed anguish of an egomaniac who lost a girl he treated like shit. Not that he regrets treating her like shit - he just can't believe she left him. He's the greatest guy in the world! He's not sorry, he's confused. How could she be so heartless? "Will I ever love again?" "Life's just not fair." For all the dramatic distorted synths, this is a dark night of the soul worthy of Spencer Pratt. It's "Song Cry" Phil Collinsed & chopped. And I hated "Song Cry." I hate hearing guys say "when I cheated, it was different" with a straight face. I'm kinda shocked more people don't.

Not that anyone's really praising his lyrics. "He's always been an asshole." But he used to be an asshole with a sense of humor. He never really bothered to rhyme, but now he doesn't even bother to off-rhyme. He just spouts douchey nam-myoho-renge-kyos into a computer. When he does bless us with a novel noun, it's "why you gotta be so Dr. Evil?" And you're not allowed to laugh. He's in pain, and it's all her fault. Poor Kanye.

Sorry, but when I want distorted synth dystopia, I'll pop on Third or The Eraser. Beth and Thom can sing. On top that gift Kanye lacks, they also sound like they take more than two weeks to write and record an album. Their misery is abstracted - which is preferable to petty. I appreciate the beauty of what I'm hearing, not what a phenomenally shitty boyfriend Kanye must be. Their vague moans aren't for all, but the moping shouldn't offend anyone who'd sit through 808s & Heartbreak. I'm not so hard-up for this sound that I need to put up with a grating "okayyy, okayyy okayyyy, you need to stop it nowww, you need to stop it nowwwww."

If I want moody auto-pop, Akon's got this tearful yet pulsing hit called "Right Now (Na Na Na)." He even bothers to change a word or two on each line of the chorus. Maybe that proves he's not really sad like Kanye. Maybe it doesn't make people think about the depth of Akon's sadface the way 808s lets people think about the depth of Kanye's sadface. But why would you want to?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Read Scandalist!

If you do, I promise to make more stuff like this.


December 1-25, Top 50 Singles of 2008. Two songs a day. I'd be hard pressed to even make a list of my ten favorite albums this year, but there are a lot of songs I've got a lot to say about. Until then, I'm going to try and touch on a few songs and artists I dug that didn't make the list.

When it came to disco gibberish this year, Chris Brown won (dude could moon mindlessly over an ottoman if Ikea paid him to) and Brandon Flowers lost (dude's jingle would be called "A Man Named Otto"). Katy Perry's was neither transcendent nor helpless, just unabashedly craven. The reciting of opposites in the chorus is mind-numbing, but Kelly Clarkson should hire whoever gold-plated the musical hooks (edit: turns out she already has - you still got it, Max Martin and Dr. Luke). Plus it's fun to make up your own words: "You're land and you're sea, you're poop but you're pee. You're east and you're west, you're leg but you're breast."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Smokey Sniffles

I'm not done "giving it a chance," but I can't share the enthusiasm of everyone who loves Ne-Yo's Year Of The Gentleman (which seems to be everyone who's heard it). Maybe it's a sign of my own puerility, but the "callowness" Matos refers to humanized him on In My Own Words - a Nice Guy who also wanted to be Top Gun. Now he's beyond such earthly enthusiasms.

After the opening "Closer" establishes his sexual helplessness, he vapidly praises her infinite glories before revealing himself to be a model masochist: Are you cheating? Lie to me! Oooh, girl, nevermind. If you love him, go back to him! I don't know why you love me anyway! I'll smile, fade into the background, and nail myself to this cross, whimpering in falsetto for my sins. He even ruins the oft-quoted "calamari > pity parties" line by deciding to wet nurse the girl pining for her ex anyway. Quality songwriting aside (though some of the midi-synth flourishes are worthy of a video game about elves), his concept of a "gentleman" seems pretty damn sniveling.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Elizabeth Banks Is My Homegirl

The last three movies I've seen in theaters - W., Zack & Miri Make A Porno and Role Models - have starred Elizabeth Banks. I'm almost tempted to avoid the cinema until the January release of The Uninvited, where she will get to play an evil stepmother instead of a sympathetic romantic interest. At the moment, I can't even think of any movies I urgently want to see that would interrupt this streak of Elizabeth Banks films. Oh, wait - I want to see The Spirit. Why wasn't she in that?

Zack & Miri benefits from following my least favorite comedy of the decade in the director's oeuvre. Unlike Clerks II, Zack & Miri has likable characters and unforced jokes. Even more amazing - it has extras! Kevin Smith is almost like a real movie director now! You'd almost believe that he's directed EIGHT movies!

From his fondness for musical montage to his pussy-ass emotional speeches (not to mention Jersey Girl), it's clear that Smith would love to be Cameron Crowe when he grows up. That he'll settle for 2nd rate Judd Apatow is both humble (he's got a bigger cult than Judd) and ambitious (Judd has a bigger commercial audience). Whatever - better Kevin Smith aping someone funny than Kevin Smith aping himself.

Role Models suffers from following my favorite comedy of the decade in the director's oeuvre. It's almost admirable that David Wain would adhere to mainstream comedy tenets after the boffo narrative-nihilism of Wet Hot American Summer and The Ten (without surrendering all intelligence like Michael Showalter's mewling The Baxter - starring Elizabeth Banks), but you can feel the tentativeness. Unwilling to wink and unwilling (or unable) to go for earnest affect, Wain relies on Paul Rudd to provide any and all emotional pull. Not wanting to come off like a sap, Wain decides not to come off at all. Even when the cast is swordfighting in Kiss make-up, the film seems respectfully removed from the action.

Wain, Rudd and Ken Marino (the dudes behind The Ten) were handed what must have been a brutally pro forma script and made it consistently amusing through a strong supporting cast, novel gags and an impressive use of profanity. Now that this experiment in mainstream entertainment has succeeded, I'm curious to see if they'll revert to State hijinks, keep polishing cliches or find some kind of middle ground, for better or worse.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All love slipped away...

"Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn." - Chuck Klosterman, AV Club.

Axl is the unicorn, Chuck. Chinese Democracy is unicorn shit. And shit is shit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AC/DC Shreds

Thought all of these had been chased off YouTube. Happy to say I was wrong.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dear god, no.

From Variety:

Half Shell Entertainment has acquired screen rights to "Killing Yourself to Live," a memoir by rock journalist Chuck Klosterman about his experiences going on assignment to places where famous musicians have died.

...The book's tales center on locales ranging from the site where members of Lynyrd Skynyrd died in a plane crash to the place where Kurt Cobain committed suicide and Rhode Island's Station nightclub, where more than 100 fans died at a Great White concert when pyrotechnics caused a deadly fire.

The death sites serve as backdrop for the author to explore everything from the narcissism of pop culture to his own relationships with women in his life.

"The idea is to do a comedic road movie heavily based in rock 'n' roll," said Klosterman.

I think the casting choice is obvious.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Earlier today, I accidentally posted one of Andy's letters onto this blog. Apologies to anyone confused or frightened. Apologies to Andy, too - I didn't mean to take credit for his work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

All Hip-Hop:
A Christmas classic will get a Hip-Hop makeover, thanks to a new Gap campaign featuring rapper Flo Rida and R&B vocalists Trey Songz and Janelle Monae. The international specialty retailer cited the appeal of Hip-Hop artists among brand marketers as motivation fro recruiting Songz and Flo Rida to write what it calls a “street-smart rendition” of “Jingle Bells” for its Merry Mix It campaign.

He's got the red velvet pants
Boots with the fur
Sleigh driven by tiny rein-durr
From the north po'
He hit the flo'
Santa said "ho, ho, ho, ho..."

Sadly, this isn't the first time I've done this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

holy shit, this was 16 years ago.

miley cyrus was not even born when this happened.

Where is the big-ass MTV Obamarama party? Where is Barack's Fleetwood Mac? A hologram of Will.I.Am on CNN doesn't count.

(Edit: Morning Anthony remembered that all the jazz I'm referring to happened at the inauguration, not election night. The infant Miley was indeed alive for this. So the tone of this post should be giddy-who knows what insanity the music industry will cook up January 20th?).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This Was #12 On The Pazz & Jop Singles Poll

And yet I can't believe anyone enjoyed listening to it.

Eminem, if that 3% possibility happens, I'm going to blame the lack of a "Mosh '08."