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The music video is probably the least relevant thing in the music industry right now.  I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think MTV actually plays them anymore at all, leaving that to sister channels like MTV2 and MTVU.  However, I owe a lot to the format, as it was my main source for music back when I was 12 or 13.  This was when bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Sum 41, etc. were all getting huge airplay and attention (they were actually bigger than a lot of hip-hop artists, which is hard to believe now).  Once I discovered how much more effectively I could waste my time on the Internet as opposed to watching television, I stopped watching music videos for a few years.

Over time, MTV reintroduced things like Headbanger’s Ball and created MTVU (MTV University), the channel that plays everything from MGMT to Underoath to KiD CuDi, which lead to a resurgence in my interest in music videos.  Steven’s Untitled Rock Show on FUSE helped as well because Steven was what I like to call “not an idiot” and played some great bands.  FUSE also had that hot metal VJ who played bands that were actually quite shit, like Trivium.

I remember her being hotter than this.

Anyway, these days Youtube has taken MTV’s place as the major source for music videos.  Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video has over 200 million (!!) views.  However, I would wager that the…

After the fallout of the inaugural edition of Reviewing Reviews, someone suggested that I review one of my own reviews, which is sort of like putting a math student in a room by himself with the curriculum and asking him to grade his own test.  Despite how awesome that would be, it is a very, very stupid idea.

However, it was suggested by several people that I review a contributor or staff writer because for some reason everyone decided to ignore the fact that I said I would most likely be doing more and common sense would dictate that since I do not care about anyone’s feelings and I’m a bully, I would be taking on some contributor and staff reviews as well.  You think I don’t know that thebhoy needs some criticism too?

Anyway, Sobhi Abdul-Rakhman (kingsoby1) made waves back in 2000-whenever when he became the first colored person to make it onto Sputnikmusic’s team of staffers (except for pixiesfanyo, an honorary black man).  Earlier this year Sobhi was joined by fellow brownie Kiran Soderqvist but by that point he had already one-upped the competition by having a baby, something that not even John Hanson has been able to do despite what MTV says about 16 year olds keeping their babies.  Sobhi’s claims to fame are hype, anti-hype, and how those two things relate to hip-hop.  Here are some recent soundoffs written by Sobhi (paraphrased to point out the salient parts):

People are sucking this off way too much

This might become a regular thing that I do but for now I want to take it slow and see how it goes.  I feel like most of the other staff members rarely read reviews on the site, but I read a lot of them and sometimes I’m shocked at the lack of basic grammar and punctuation skills displayed.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, a lot of reviews lack concrete ideas and are generally just poorly worded and expressed.  So I’ve picked a review that exemplifies those issues and I’m going to dissect it.  On the chopping block is Bulldog’s review of B.o.B.’s The Adventures of Bobby Ray.

Section #1: The Summary

The review hits its first snag in a very fundamental way:  the summary is horrible.  Ideally, this is the first (and sometimes only) thing that people will read when they look at your review.  It sums up your thoughts succinctly and gives the reader a good gauge of your opinion prior to diving into the meat of your writing.  Bulldog chose this to do that:

“Alternative hip-hop for the masses.  But above all, this is really a concrete testament to the diversity in, and morphability of, hip-hop…or is it?”

First of all, “morphability” is not a word.  No discussion.  It does not exist.  Google it and you will find a bunch of websites talking about the “morph ability” in Dungeons and Dragons.  This is actually a fairly common mistake.  People will invent a word and dismiss…

Super limited deluxe special editions of albums (I think I got all of the adjectives) are getting a bit ridiculous.  On one hand, I think it’s really awesome that there are bands out there who want to give the fans a little something extra, but then I realize that most “special editions” contain some shitty, half-assed DVD that has thirty minutes of footage (if you’re lucky) about what five of the songs are about.

The horrible thing is, I will almost always buy the special edition even though logic has proven time and time again that it is a total waste of money.  And do I legitimize my purchase by watching the DVD/listening to the bonus tracks/utilizing surround sound technology to hear Opeth’s Still Life in a whole new light?  Nope.  I very rarely take advantage of the band’s decision to bestow insight into their writing process and/or the things they do while they’re on their tour bus or inside their tour van.  Here is a list of some of the bonus content that I have done absolutely nothing with:

- The DVD included with Underoath’s Lost In The Sound Of Separation.  It’s worth mentioning here that I bought both the special edition of the CD that came with the DVD, and the special vinyl box set that also includes the CD and DVD.  So I have two Underoath DVDs that I will most likely never, ever watch.  But hey, 10″ vinyl in the shape of a sawblade!

- The…

The new staff members aren’t yet able to post in the staff blog, so I’m doing my favorite son Adam Thomas a big favor here and posting his blog about this year’s Record Store Day.  I’m lending my support to this blog post, as Record Store Day is a big fucking deal for guys like us who buy vinyl and albums that you can’t get at Best Buy, etc.  So give Adam your full attention and support your local record stores if you have any!  As a sidenote, here are some possible names for his future column:  Adam’s Spasms, Adam’s Orgasms, Adam’s Chasms.  Just some suggestions.

Just a little reminder for y’all, the fourth annual Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 17th. For those not in the know, Record Store Day is a world wide celebration of independent music retailers, marked by a plethora of special releases from musicians on both major and indie labels, and special in-store appearances by tons of bands both big and small. So why honor the local record shop? Despite the fact that they can at times be a bit more pricey than their superstore counterparts, local record stores foster a sense of community amongst their consumers, stocking albums based on what their clientele want, not based on corporate buggery and marketing deals. This personal touch is what they rely on to survive, and with retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy holding brick and mortar retail music sales by the balls and…

Can I be serious for a minute?

Glee is awesome.

seriously, it's awesome

But it’s come to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who don’t like it.  Now, I’ve never seen a specific comment on this website stating dislike for Glee, but I’m going to assume that there are bunch of you guys who hate it.  My first response to you, if you’re out there, is Fuck you faggot Glee rules. My second response is Have you seen it? You probably answered that question with a “no,” because this is a website where we give albums a rating of “1″ just because we heard the beginning of “Tik Tok” on the radio and turned it off, repulsed and intent on lowering Ke$ha’s rating when we get home.  So what have you heard about Glee?  That it’s like High School Musical for people who enjoyed High School Musical but are now slightly older?  That it’s full of high school drama that you will most likely find beneath you?  That it’s gay?

Well, first of all, High School Musical was awesome too.

i'm ashley tisdale's homosexual twin, he's the… black girl

Second of all, I got news for ya.  It’s all of those things!  But in a good way.  I can hear you guys now:  ”But how can something that’s a bit gay actually be good?”  Well, we all listen to Animal Collective, right?  Those guys seriously…

Titus Andronicus (And The Problem With Aiden)

Generally, music does not make me want to go out and do things.  I guess there is a large demographic that becomes motivated by music, but I’m certainly not a part of it.  I hear a lot of people – wait, let’s be honest here; I read a lot of comments from people online – talking about how they’ll listen to music to pump them up before they hit the field to play a football game or something.  When I get done scoffing at the fact that someone on a music forum is pretending to be manly beyond having the ability to grow some kind of creepy neckbeard, I get to thinking.  I mean, if I wanted to pump myself up about getting my frail, super indie body crushed under a pile of sweaty jocks, I’m pretty sure I would just put on some show-tunes and get my ass down to the Drama Department where I so obviously belong in the first place.

home sweet home

But seriously, listening to, say, a Pantera song to pump me up for a certain event would just make me want to…listen to more Pantera.  It reminds me of when I was still in high school.  I never actually was in the Drama Department, by the way.  It was a good thing because I was never labeled as a homo because I liked to wear tights on stage in front…

Here at sputnikmusic.com, we have a whole crap-load of users who have yet to write a review.  It’s not necessarily in my job description as a staff writer to notice things like that, but then again it’s not my job to stare at the leggy photographs in the liner notes for Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me for hours on end either, which is what my day generally consists of.  Some of these users are fairly established, with a few hundred comments or so.  It’s clear they’ve read plenty of reviews and would theoretically be able to accurately reconstruct one of them in their own unique voice, so why haven’t they?  And then it hit me:

I haven’t written a how-to guide yet.

this guy looks familiar

I have been on this site for far too long now.  I won’t say how long exactly but I will hint that it may or may not be more than four years.  As such, I’ve watched reviewing trends come and go out of style like all those articles of clothing in the American Apparel ads (or maybe they’re cool because they’re out of style?  Are they post-out of style??  What sort of man wears a scarf in the summer anyway?).  Back when I first joined the site, people were still writing track-by-track reviews and at that point I think there were still only 175 or so Pokemon.  Things were simpler back then.  There was a basic reviewing progression…

There is a curious phenomenon that I’ve only come across a few times in my music listening history.  Think about an album that you’ve been listening to for a few years or more, an album so familiar that you wouldn’t be able to begin to count how many times you’ve heard it.  Now, think about the last time you listened to that particular album.  Did you really listen to it, or did it simply wash over you?  I’m not implying that you didn’t enjoy it, but you probably feel like you’ve heard all there is to hear, you’ve felt all there is to feel.  The music is well worn and well loved, but you regret that you can’t regain the way you felt when you first heard the album.

Every now and then though, I listen to a song that I’ve heard hundreds of times, only it feels like the first time again.  It’s similar to the feeling you get when you put on a record you love but haven’t heard in awhile.  Something you grew tired of a few months ago and haven’t thought about until now.  That’s a great feeling, but it’s the same as when you jump back into a pool after adult swim is over.  The air is cold, the breeze sharp, but the water welcomes you when the whistle blows.  Very common.  The one I’m describing is much rarer and deeper.

Specifically, I was listening to blink-182’s self-titled album.  This is an album that I’ve…

I like dogs.  I work at an animal hospital, so I’m around them every day.  If dogs were music genres this is what they would be.  As with previous and all future Chan’s Plans, images are credited to my partner in crime charlesfishowitz, who worked a lot harder on the pictures than I did on the descriptions, and for that I will always be grateful.

Bassett Hound/Shoegaze: Proven to be the most pathetic creatures in existence, Bassett Hounds perpetually look sad and can make you give them whatever they want just by turning those droopy eyes your way.  While walking, they always look down at their feet with their nose on the ground, continually sniffing out the most strategic place to piss.  Also, they’ve got those big ears to pick up as much reverb and feedback as possible.

bassett hounds are masters of sparkling reverb

Bullmastiff/Doom: Stockier than the horse-like English Mastiff, Bullmastiffs are crushingly powerful, blundering but not stupidly so, and capable of aggression when their master commands.  Yesterday, I was dragged down a hill and through some pine trees by a 110-pound specimen named Blue.  All I could do was salute him with a \m/.


Boston Terrier/Metalcore:  They are intensely cute as puppies, but as they age, numerous health problems arise.  As a brachycephalic breed, breathing problems are common and can lead to a general raspy sound emanating from their throats.  Over time they become a general…

First of all, I added a new song to our nifty Track of the Day playlist over there on the right.  It’s “Wellington’s Wednesdays” from the new Weakerthans release, Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre.  John K. Samson pulls a random kid up from the crowd to play a solo in the middle of the song and he actually does pretty damn good.

Alright, onto pressing matters.  Here are some things that you guys need to stop doing:

1. Using the term “concept album” – You wouldn’t call a novel that tells a story a “concept book” would you?  No.  So why do we automatically throw the hideous term “concept album” onto any record that has themes or tells a story?  People are calling the new Titus Andronicus album a concept album for Christ’s sake.  Every album has connected themes, every song tells a story.  You know why people call vehicle prototypes “concept cars”?  Because they haven’t been fucking invented yet.

2. Using the term “pop-punk” – It’s not so much the term itself that bothers me, although it certainly does get on my nerves.  It’s the fact that it’s gained such a negative connotation (similar to how people used to use the word “emo” a few years ago) that people automatically hold something referred to as “pop-punk” to a much lower standard, as if something labelled as such can’t be better than a 3 or 3.5.   It’s especially annoying that the only thing that sets “pop-punk” albums apart…

I wanted the title of my column to be something awesome like Burt’s Bits or Taylor Talk but I have a weird name and “plan” is the only relevant word that rhymes with Chan.

Anyway, the other day I saw Paranormal Activity for the first time.  Marketed by many as one of the scariest movies of all time, I was pretty disappointed.  However, it did fill my head with a bunch of interesting thoughts, many of them so tangential that I couldn’t remember how I got from Point A to Point F or whatever.  Mostly I was distracted by thoughts of how awesome the movie would be if it was told from the demon’s perspective.  Imagine you’ve just died and suddenly you’re a badass demon living in hell.  You’re psyched, you’re ready to fuck shit up.  You get a message from the Colonel of the Demonic Legion saying that he wishes to speak with you.  You’re excited as hell.  You start mentally preparing for Armageddon.  When you reach his office, he gives you your first assignment:  squat in the house of a young engaged couple and scare the living shit out of them, with the eventual goal of possessing one of them or killing them both.  Sounds good, right?  But then he gives you some limitations.  You can’t just go in there and pinch their grape heads in your claws.  You’ve got to have finesse.  You’ve got to…make only one scary noise a night and then spend the rest of…

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