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!