“Chill out. What you yelling for?” Avril Lavigne seemed to implore critics after her “Hello Kitty” video incited a massive internet outcry. Detractors accused Avril of tasteless, tacky cultural appropriation at the very least and racism at worst, a claim she slammed on Twitter with “RACIST? HOW? I LOVE JAPAN!” Defenders were quick to point out that “It’s all been done before,” “it” being the type of pop Japanophilia Gwen Stefani rode hard a decade ago with her Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album. “If you could only let it be, then you would see,” they seemed to counter. If only we could just view the “Hello Kitty” video as the hyper affectionate, albeit naïve and bizarre love letter to Japanese culture Avril intended it to be, perhaps we’d see its real beauty. Unfortunately for everyone, Avril Lavigne included, things are a little more complicated than that.
Seeing Avril acting like somebody else gets me frustrated. Her early persona was one of an every-girl, a people’s pop star less interested in selling sex than she was talking one-on-one to a generation of disenfranchised Hot Topic shoppers. Now, a tanking career and a marriage to the man who is arguably Music’s Most Hated Canadian, she looks like she’s constantly watching her back, like she can’t relax. Though she looks fine in pictures with Kroeger, a gruesomely awkward set of fan photos that some poor souls spent an obscene amount of money for confirm that she becomes somebody else around everyone else.…
Yesterday, it was discovered that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their child North. That’s right. North West. And maybe it’s because they actually decided to name their child a stupid pun a precocious seventh grader might come up with when pressed to come up with a name for a baby with the surname “West,” or maybe it’s because Kimye didn’t go with the infinitely better Easton as they’d hinted at earlier in Kim’s pregnancy, but that’s it. I give up. There have been many things leading up to this moment, but this is the absolute final straw.
I am so fucking done caring about Kanye West.
After reading all the shit that’s flying around Yeezus right now, a record that’s as close to an embodiment of the Shakespeare quote, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as I’ve ever heard, the thought popped into my head: why? Why do we care about Kanye West? Yes, he’s a celebrity, a monstrous cultural figure that’s totally unavoidable. To ignore him is to bury one’s head in the sand, to pretend to live in a world that isn’t real, to choose to be culturally out of touch, yadda yadda. But does that really mean we have to shit ourselves pondering the politics of Kanye West? He certainly wants us to, which is why Yeezus is purposefully drenched in all that EQ-busting, industrial abrasiveness, and we’re taking the bait like donkeys with carrots…
Oh yes, I can dig this. Give me indie-pop made solely with hooks and blow ‘em up. Cut the beat so they stick in your head. Give that familiar indie-wail a little swagger. The lyrics? They weren’t that important anyway. Make them vague and sexual enough to blend into the song, but give me a lyric or two to hold on to. “One love one house/ no shirt, no blouse”? That’ll do.
The Neighborhood have of yet released only two songs, which makes it difficult to say if they’ll blow up the way “Sweater Weather” demands to blow them up, but here’s hoping. “Sweater Weather” is a masterfully done series of ear worms, bridging RNB and indie-folk-with instantly recallable pop-hooks, the kind of genre mish-mosh that likes to explode. It’s simply too irresistible for some company looking to corner the grad-student demographic to not nick the song’s phenomenal chorus for an ad. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t blame you. But if indie-pop with this much potential mass appeal is this good, I’m totally okay with it.
I mean, I kind of do. This should be my year-end feature, where I put the albums I liked in an arbitrary list so you can understand how I experienced the past twelve months. But how could I write that when I have no fucking idea what happened the past twelve months? So instead I’m writing this: an attempt to make sense of the most bizarre year– of music, of life, of culture– that I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I’m going to succeed. What’s to follow is a self-indulgent rant on phenomenal music I didn’t really get, my bewilderment over the critical reception to Bon Iver, and a Channing-esque query as to what music even means to me anymore. But I have to do this. Even if I don’t know why.
I don’t think I’m alone. The entire year, I got the sense that nobody really knew what was happening in 2011 but just sort of ran with it. Reading the various year end write-ups across the internet, I’m comforted to see at least a couple other publications acknowledge of how weird this year was. SPIN, for example, is all about it. They seem excited about where this directionless quagmire is going to take us in the future. I’m fucking terrified of it.
It’s an old argument, but even as an internet writer, I have to admit the internet is over-saturating culture. To paraphrase Milan Kundera, we no longer live in a…
It’s been about a month since Rebecca Black’s wonderfully inane ode to the JFK assassination, Friday, hit Youtube and became immediately immortalized as one of the greatest memes of all time. Naturally, it’s spawnedcountlessparodies, some genuinely funny, others interesting novelties. But on this Friday, I wanted to share with you the best of them all: the Hell Version. This incredibly well edited cut of Black’s video, which is kind of like if Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” was directed by Marilyn Manson on the worst day of his life, is genuinely terrifying. Bet you never thought you’d hear Aphex Twin, Marilyn Manson, and Rebecca Black mentioned in the same sentence, did you? Check out the video below:
In a culmination of all that is funny about “Average Homeboy,” “The Renewed Mind is the Key,” Jon Lajoie, cults, children, epilepsy, urine, old men dressed as God, and ponytailed Aryans, comes “Pee Pee.”
Living in the facebook/youtube age of instant celebrity can have its benefits. I was reminded of that today. For today, I have found “Friday,” a music video by teenage recording artist Rebecca Black. There are few words to describe what happens in the following video. This is a song about Friday. Which comes after Thursday. And is followed by Saturday. I won’t try to give you context as to who this is because there is none needed. This braces-heavy video is a ten car pile-up, simultaneously awful and mesmerizing. If you find yourself asking ‘Is this really happening?,’ the answer is yes. It is.
Once you have some context, I highly recommend watching this slightly slowed down version which turns Black’s anthem into comedy gold.
The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best Christmas movie of all time. Now, you might be thinking “well, I don’t know about that, Downer, I mean it’s good and all, but there are so many other classic, canonical films,” and true, Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life are close seconds, but I speak the truth. Trust me.
Here are a few of the many reasons why (Spoilers, maybe?):
1) Hans Zimmer’s absolutely perfect score.
Zimmer’s songs are universally fantastic (if you skip through the Tiny Tim one), fitting the Muppets’ brand of satire comedy while also being wonderful tunes by themselves. The opening number “Scrooge” exemplifies this; it’s a minor key march whose major key chorus betrays that its lead character (Michael Caine, in a career defining performance) isn’t really threatening, just a grouchy guy we’re going to love unconditionally. Later, “Marley and Marley” turns a haunting into a thrilling duet between Statler and Waldorf in one of the film’s most memorable and meta-awesome scenes. And “When Love If Gone” is actually kind of a tearjerker when you ignore the completely flaccid actress singing it. As far as Christmas musicals go, Muppet Christmas Carol gets it right by having all their songs be instantly recallable and undeniably lovable.
2) It’s the best version of “A Christmas Carol”
In the context of “Christmas Carol” adaptations, it’s no contest: Muppet Christmas Carol gets the story pitch perfect for the holiday season. This version blends whimsy…
Before you post the final and non-retractable version of your ”2010 Songs of The Year” list, be sure to listen to What Happened?, a criminally unheard gem off Animal Collective’s score to the experimental film ODDSAC. It’s a track that mixes the reckless forward momentum of “Turn Into Something” with the electronic pallet of Strawberry Jam, Avey Tare combating a constant squeal and a relentlessly uptempo drum loop for three breathtaking minutes. Tare’s on his A game here, his yelp of the title lyric warm but also shrilly desperate, Animal Collective invoking its trademark brand of nostalgia and adding something sinister. “What happened to make me suffer inside?” goes the opening lyric. Who knows exactly, but looking at the wild party scene the song accompanies, my guess is growing old happened, and youth is now a hazy, hallucinatory memory of constant abandon. Not to be missed.
Huge, yearning, beautiful. What the avalanches might have sounded like in 2010, where dilla may have been going. Star Slinger picks up where they left off, and, when he’s on his game, brings it to the moon. Four minutes of bliss.
The Panda Bear enjoys a cool bath while contemplating how to best utilize tribal rhythms and brian wilson harmonies while hunting the elusive indie blogger
On Animal Collective’s wildly successful Fall Be Kind EP, Panda Bear pondered: “Will I get to move on soon?” In relation to an ongoing struggle with AC-obsession, the answer for indie bloggers is… no. Because Panda Bear is releasing a new album this year called Tomboy. And the eponymous lead single just dropped. And it is awesome. Panda Bear fans know what to expect: Pounding Drums, Repetitive Motifs, Beach Boys-y harmonies. I won’t tell you much more; you probably activated the player as soon as you clicked this link, anyway. The wait for the Tomboy leak just got worse.
EDIT: And Slow Motion is even better!
two bottles of lubiderm and a box of condoms… this displeases Marshall
Last year, Eminem saying something like “Ain’t nothin’ but a whole lot of suckin goin on in rap” would be the equivalent to Oliver Perez saying something like “gee, the Mets’ starting rotation really sucks this season.” But this year, we get “Despicable,” a fucking jaw dropping two minutes where Em tears into fucking anything he wants to regardless of if it makes sense or not. On “Not Afraid,” Em promised he’d never suck again. On “Despicable,” he proves it. Eminem spits with the crazed desperation we remember from the albums where he’d fucking choke the shit out of his wife or drive off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk. Only now, we’re the victims. The indiscriminate “You” he threatens and mocks over two different stolen-but-sinister beats is probably everyone who wrote him off after Encore. And if this is any indication of the quality of Recovery, we’re all fucked.Believe him when he says “Bitch I’m as bat shit as Ozzy it’s obvious you can tell I go right off the bat. No pun intended but come any closer I’ll bite off your head.” Believe him when he compares himself to Donkey Kong. Marshall’s back, bitches.