Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Mix Tape - Part One, in which our hero sets out in the spirit of the season

Sleigh bells ring kiddies. Are you listening? Seriously, are you listening? Pay attention to me! Christmas is the time of year where we gather with our family, sequester those members we like and force them, along with all our bestest buddies to listen to the music we want to rant about. So that's what I'ma do. Let's start with what might end up being the only holiday themed song of the bunch.

There is no one more festive than Bootsy. True story: this version kills the original.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beyonce for Press Secretary?

Beyonce's double album probs doesn't need to be a double album. The non-special edition of the thing only has eleven tracks, so from a super green perspective it's kind of a WASTE OF CARBON. BEYONCE HATES THE ENVIRONMENT. Whhaaaaatevs. The reason its a double album is that it allows Bey to indulge her cheesy, middle-am friendly ballad self on the "Beyonce' album and spend another album being the woman who is constantly channelling Prince's various backup dancers (eg: freaking on people, having legs, being the best thing ever).

This is all because, as an overexposed super-celeb B has always remained kind of removed, kind of distant and private. The split personality thing is supposed to give us some insight - she's multifaceted! Maybe bi-faceted. Beyonce's always been far more impassioned in music than in person. The woman has a carefulness when answering questions that White House Press Secretaries would kill for. That's why this interview is kind of awesome. She acts like a person, not an idealized abstraction of fabulousness.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Natalie Portman has a very different role in Hollywood than anyone else. She gets to be simultaneously attractive and smart, and those two ideas about her are so accepted that they meld together into a sort of automatic respect. Funnily enough, she's so respected that everyone assumes she's a great actress. It seems to me she's a great everything else and a pretty crap actress. Whatever, I'm obviously a big jealous uggo. The point is, smart girls with gravitas are the only one who get to be silly without being served a side order of disdain. I mean I'm glad we can reclaim silly/girly, but I wish it were available to all manner of folk.

All this by way of saying, you're going to like this video.
See more Natalie Portman videos at Funny or Die

Rashida Jones seems like a pretty hype chick.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wave of the Future!

This is without a doubt the most happy making thing I have seen this month. I don't know how you get school kids of this age to perform with this much unself-conscious gusto. I don't know how these kids are so god damned cute. I don't know how we came to this place where people are seemingly brimming with zingy-fun-times over a presidential election. But I like it. A LOT.

You can vote however you like

I wish I had something a little deeper to say. But this just makes me glad.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beyonce vs. Feist: Dance Off!

Feist seems like a lovely lady and is very talented. She'd make a great kindergarten teacher or chair of an important committee for preservation of the arts. Her voice is a whimsical pigeon, her hair a cascade of silk. I'm saying all this so the indie kids don't cut me for the following: chica cannot dance. Which is fine, she doesn't have to, her videos don't need it. But nobody has the guts to tell her that.

Feist - 1234

To my mind that dancing is at best "jolie laide" as the french say.

Oh no! You reply. You don't get it! She may not be the most precise or technical dancer, but she conveys a spirit, you know? It's free and joyful and more than a little bit retro! It's fun, it's dancing in front of the mirror and not caring if anyone's looking! Whee! Uninhibited joyful rhythmic expression! No. NO. I know what all that "wheeeeee!!" looks like, and "wheeeee!!"? Looks like THIS:

Beyonce - Single Ladies

God Bless B. That other single is so bad I don't even want to talk about it. Except to say that it sounds like something Kelly Clarkson would reject. And that has already been written by Joan Osborne before Joan Osborne got funky. So yeah, we're not talking about that other single. And sure, this one does sound like Get Me Bodied, but I LIKED Get Me Bodied. A lot.

To conclude this video is like the most bad ass and inappropriate high school lip-synch ever.

And now, an oldie but goodie. Happy Wednesday.

But you know what Feist? Do you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Begging from Norway

Just a quick post. This video has a lot that's great. Thrusting, blaxploitation and a dash of reality (who hasn't fallen asleep playing Xbox 360?). It's all about balance, kids.

Oh and the damn near perfect song. This guys are from Norway (whaaaat?!). Yeah.

Madcon - Begging

And yeah, this song is almost a year old, I'm so far behind the curve I've been lapped. One of the many bad things about not living in Scandinavia.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Sound of Summer is Divine

Just the sweetest summer song. And the video! Don't get me started. It's so cute and simple and well made I just want to eat my arm.

Divine Brown - Lay It On The Line

I'm in love with the cast of this video. And heck, the crew, too. That male lead - you've got to adore a man that looks like he's saying 'Oh my goodness!' with every move. The dancer at the end are life. If this doesn't make you smile, you're awful. Her album's out tomorrow.

This on the heels of Miss Jully Black jumping on that throwback good good. Canada is just killing it.

Jully Black - Seven Day Fool

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Just Want to Squeeze on You, Girl

Some guys can pull off topless as a look. It’s easier in print, but it can even work and not look awkward on film. Fiddy never looks half naked no matter how few shirts he’s wearing. And I don’t think it’s a question of how built a person is, or their swagger. All I know is that Plies looks like an idiot in this video.

Plies - Please Excuse My Hands Ft. Jamie Foxx & The Dream

Notice, kiddies, how he’s at a pretty swank club. Understand that his friends and peers are wearing things like blazers, and under those blazers, shirts. Recognize that for the non-narrative part of the video, where Plies raps to the camera, HE IS WEARING A SHIRT. He has the technology.

Also, who goes to the club at 10:32?

ALSO, Jamie Foxx is really pushing, isn’t he? Poor guy, he couldn't muster enough personal charm to likeably play himself in his own show. He can sing, he can play, and yes, he's a funny funny man, but he can’t make me understand why I should like him, and not just respect his talent. That said, Slow Jamz is the jam, though. The slow one.

Furthermore, Plies talks so. Slowly. No really, he raps much slower than average conversation. You didn’t notice because his toplessness is so loud, right?

Yeah, the chicks in the video are distracted by the toplessness too, and they aren’t into it AT ALL. That chick at the begining couldn’t be less into our hero Plies (Because he’s Plies, or because he’s shirtless?) and the chick at 1:48 looks downright frightened (Because he’s Plies or because he’s shirtless?).

OH WAIT I GET IT! Because videos aren’t allowed to be TOO raunchy, the director couldn’t show Plies actually molesting anyone, but damnit! That’s just obviously what the song calls out for! So instead the video hoes are affronted by Plies HIMSELF. His state of demi-nude is a metaphor for his exploratory and daring sexuality. Deal with THIS, puritans and/or chicks I’m feeling up! See, the chick at 1:49 gets it. She nods as if to say “I understand and will comply.” Because he’s Plies. And he’s shirtless.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crotches: So Last Year?

So there are some fads that end all of a sudden. Remember Ja Rule? People used to love that guy. A LOT. Then one day 50 Cent starts talking 'bout how Ja Rule's crap and whip snap back lash hits poor Ja hard. He's over and hasn't been back since. But then there are little trends that go real gentle into that good night, so softly that you don't notice they're over until a while later.

Watching 106 and Park's throwback track today, it hit me. The golden age of the crotch is over.

Ciara's Promise video, starting at 2:22 is a big ol' crotchfest for a good forty seconds. And weirdly, that's the part of the video that looks dated.

Ciara - Promise

And remember when Ri Ri was all crotch, all the time? I do. It's not that these moves are weren't around before, but they're were made more obvious by season after season of skinny jeans and leggings as a major part of the silhouette of du jour. And, let's not ignore the more than a little porny overtones. I believe in art theory, they call that 'leading lines'. While the crotch squat isn't at all a new look, seeing these Ciara work it and still look like a strong person with, you know, some personality and junk as opposed a big ol' blow up doll was...neat. Maybe? Maybe.

Little Miss Sunshine has been all long, upright lines in her live show lately, and that works beautifully with her revamped semi-rock chick swagger. And check the Girls Around the World video - there you have what sexbots look like right this minute, and there are hardly any thrusting nethers at all. Well, unless you count the big pink space-vulva constellation. But that's really just a whole other story, and has more to do with "What Would Freud Say About Hype Williams" than I'd like to go into right now. (Seriously, though. A giant pulsing rosebud*, Hype? Really?)

But the point is, this little trendlet seems to be gone baby gone. And that might not be a bad thing - because while a little thrusting on the dance floor is the friend of everyone, leading with the crotch too much? In practice it can end up looking like this:

*This song was more or less the shit, though.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greatest Sporting Event of Our Time: So You Think You Can Dance?

Watching sports! You get to partake in the experience of being insanely passionate about something, without actually being any good at it. Yeah, your layup is total ass, but you can love watching the Celtics win because you see the players’ passion for the game, reflecting back at you the same passion you have for the game, which you pass back to them in a super happy infinite regress. Man, sports is a big fat love fest, taking you up on all the highs and lows of an epic opera cycle without ever having to expend one sweet drop of sweat. Gorgeous.

But I’ll tell you sweeties, to me? Watching sports is boring as shit. As much as the TSN teasers for the Rocco/Tiger showdown were sexy pieces of editing, dipped in swelling, brimming strings and all dolled up with shots of sparkling trophies, I couldn’t care once the actual play started. Because although the announcers can tell me that Rocco’s an underdog, and Tiger’s basically The Best Evar but has been struggling with an injury, I know there’s more to the story. I don’t follow golf, all I did was turn on the TV. Now I’m expected to know all about a game people dedicate their lives to, and to know the history of two fully grown men. I don’t know these guys at all, I can’t really pin my passion on these players. It’s always going to feel like dipping into a random episode of Days of Our Lives, unless I dedicate a massive amount of time to Caring About Golf, there ain’t nothing I can do to enjoy golf more than a little bit. Also, I don’t know what the language of the game is (Birdies? For real?) and that seems to be pretty important. Ya know?

That’s why So You Think You Can Dance is the greatest single sporting event available to the public today. Because it’s really really available to the public. Sure, there’s as much finess and technique to dancing as to golf, and a lot more history. But SYTYCD isn’t looking for the best. No no son, all it wants to find is “America’s Favourite Dancer”. That’s the game, and this show is going to MAKE you care about the players. Oh, you’ve never heard of Twitch? Well before you watch him dance, here’s his history on the show. In thirty seconds. “We first met Twitch last season when he almost made our top 20 but blah blah blah”. Cool! But does he have personality? Why, here’s a clip of him being cute. Oh, but what about his team dynamics? Here, his partner says he’s awesome. But can he dance? Here he goes. Did you like that? You DID? Then I guess he’s awesome. There’s his story, his passion and his performance in five minutes flat.

Because the narrative of the show is constantly bludgeoning you with reminders of why you love them, you can quite reasonably consider yourself an expert on each ‘player’ in this show just by watching a single episode. This show is just so damned populist, so much more accessible than the (already pretty accessible) real sports out there, and not just because of constant fan-mongering. The viewers can follow along with the hopes and failures of the dancers because there are actually no rules. As much as the judges can point out technical problems with dancers, since only aim of the game is not to get kicked off, it’s the voting public that acts as the only referee. And they only blow foul when they don’t like something, not when some Rule of Dance is broken. Best of all, with the audition episodes running sort of like the draft/pre-season, the actual season of SYTYCD is incredibly short, just nine weeks long. You can be the most informed person possible just by dedicated three hours a week, or if you’re in a real rush, there’s the results show which summarizes the previous night’s happenings anyway. One hour, and there you are, super fan number one. SYTYCD isn’t about dancing as much as it is about the personal (but not serious or life threatening) struggle and high adventure of a set group of real people. That makes it the quickest, easiest ways to enjoy the highs and lows of sport there is.

Youtube agrees. This chick loves it.

That's playoff love right there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cover Duel: Sexual Healing

The way I see it, cover versions mostly pale in comparison (Fig. 1) to the original. If a song was good enough to be super popular then guy who recorded it first probs did an okay job. But then there’s the idea that what makes a song a hit is people's being able to follow along with what’s going to happen up to a point, and then being surprised (Like those were surprising italics. Sneaky devils). You love remixes, when they do something freaky but not too freaky. So something familiar, plus things that make you go hmm equals something you like. Thats how covers keep from being redundant, yes? Maybe? Sure!

All this by way of saying: Cover Duel!

Hot Chip picks up points for hitting on the emotionally busted down core of the song. They’re British, yeah? So they can sound miserable, right?

Also, that video. That’s a whole bunch right there.

But to my mind, that’s just cover as novelty. This here? This is brutally good. This is music that can actually make people feel better about themselves and life. Maybe I’m just a soft touch when it comes to horns and acapella break-downs (I am) but this just kills me. Also, it’s an ass-load sexier than sad robots.

Incidentally Hot 8 Brass Band are all round badass. Check their myspace.

Fig. 1: Laaaaaaaaame joke.

Solange v 3.0

Who here would have guessed that Solange would end up sounding like more like Janelle Monae than like big sister Bey*? Not me, that's who. This feels like Andre 3000 took Robbie Williams' millenium for a romantic skinny dip. And that's a little bit awesome.

Solange Knowles: pop royalty to indie darling in the mould of JT? I'd vote for it.

*I mean, on the spectrum. Janelle Monae's a lot more "BAM! I'm DIFFERENT, but like NATURALLY. Bleep bloop!" than Solange would ever want to be.


So this is Jazmine Sullivan, and yeah, she sounds a whole lot like one Ms. L. Hill, an idea aided and abetted by that rich-ass somewhat islandy arrangement. And yes, this song isn’t fresh this morning – it’s been up on the itunes for a couples of days now and it was out for quite a while before that, but this blog hasn’t been around that long. And you love it! Perfect for the summer! Stop complaining!

Terrible thing is, although it’s four thousand times better sung, that bridgey bit in the middle there just reminds me of waiting for tonight by Jennifer Lopez, before she was J.Lo. You know the one, where she’s trekking through the amazon to reach the secluded glade/club where she finds her mystery man and, far more importantly, a bunch of super excited bright green lasers. That song wasn’t even huge, but man has the “Green lasers you guys! Lots and lots of them!” concept been worked over since then - those lasers have been popping up for years. The video Usher’s Yeah used them to highlight the spangly, shrill future-club vibe it had going. Just today, I saw them in full swing in that Dream video WHICH BY THE WAY could have been more awesome by a long shot.

This song operates as a sort of melding of the respective appeals of I’ma Flirt and Shawty is the shit, right? Your girl is hot and awesome. I love her! Also, I’m hot and awesome, and she to’ally wants me. Yeah! And that’s a good concept: guys will like it because it makes them feel sly and sexy, chicks dig it because they like the idea of being noticeably badass even when they’re supposed to be off limits. She chooses an upgrade, I guess, wooo, empowering. At least if you ignore the Dream’s shall we say singer-songwriterish appearance. But the video?

Man, the lasers are having more fun than the chick in this video. If she’s so great and wantable, why is she rocking bitch face the whole time? Now the women in the T-Pain (and I guess Flo Rida’s there too) Low video, they’re enjoying themselves. I can’t help but feel this video’d do a little better if it did what the song wants to and make a girl feel special. Or at least like she’s somewhat enjoying herself. I mean, It’s her BIRTHDAY! C’mon the Dream, you can do better. You wrote Bed. And Umbrella. Umbrella!

So that's the inaugural post. Ramble on!