Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some youtube gems

So, as you might be able to tell, Jim and I are semi-addicted to YouTube. At least I am. And by semi-addicted I mean wholly addicted. But anyway, I find it necessary, at this point, to share with you a few music-related YouTube gems that you would be remiss in not watching.

Let's start with what's good.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a song called "George Washington" that I hadn't heard about. Thus, I was skeptical. How can a song about the first U.S. President be awesome? Well apparently, George Washington is more badass than Chuck Norris, Harrison Ford, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse combined. Please, view this. And when you're done, view it again.

Yeah. You're on your 5th play, right? So amazing. "He'll kick you apart... he'll kick you apart, oooh!" You're welcome for having the most ridiculous song ever stuck in your head.

Let's continue with what's awesome.

A friend of mine picked up the ukulele recently and decided that he was going to be really really good at it, and he was. And then he decided he was going to combine ukuleles with video games (which in my opinion, is a winning combination). This is the result.

He spans many games in his song... including Zelda (a few times), Rampage, and Super Mario 64. And Pokemon. So basically, this might be the greatest song ever written.

Continuing on, let's go to what would be terrible if it weren't so clever and hilarious. This, like most everything on the blog, is inappropriate. And, okay, I'm apparently really late on this, because it has over 10 million views. But OH MY GOD this is the funniest song of my life.

If you're interested, there is a sequel. It's called Show Me Your Genitals 2: E=MC Vagina. Enough said.

Now, let's conclude with what's SO AWFUL that it's amazing.

Who told Fred Durst that he could play guitar? More importantly, who let him entertain this fantasy by attempting a guitar solo in front of thousands of people? MOST importantly... WHY DO THEY CHEER AFTERWARDS?

I will leave you, readers, with that mind-boggling question.
Have a lovely Wednesday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Busta Rhymes, mad genius.

Have you ever made a commitment and regretted making it a short time later, but were stuck with it? I promise this is relevant, and I'll get to it in a little bit. Just think about it as you're reading this. In the meantime, I present you with this:

It makes me sad that I'm seeing this picture for the first time almost twelve years after it actually happened, cause this one's a gem. One of the people in this picture is the antichrist. Scarily enough, it is not the person on the right.

The person on the left is (homemaking magnate/stock conspirator/actually the devil) Martha Stewart. Since this is a music blog, I guess I shouldn't say much about her, but I will leave this from Newsweek, and let you guys formulate your own opinions:

Wielding a big knife and a look of determination, Martha Stewart kept her head down while chopping cabbage on CBS's "The Early Show" last week. But even in her weekly cooking segment, Martha couldn't escape the insider-trading scandal that's tarnished her homemaking empire. CBS brass warned her beforehand that she had to address the growing controversy if she wanted to come on "The Early Show" to whip up her summer salads. Stewart, after consulting her lawyers, agreed to take questions, but only if she didn't have to leave her kitchen to sit for a separate interview. So with Martha whacking away at the chopping block, anchor Jane Clayson laid out the worsening crisis and attempted to get the domestic diva to explain herself. "This will all be resolved in the very near future and I will be exonerated of any ridiculousness," Martha said, rolling her eyes and resuming her cabbage shredding. But Clayson, usually Martha's kitchen helper, continued to grill her. Exasperated, Martha huffed: "I want to focus on my salad."

Contrastingly, the person on the right is (unbelievably fast rapper/actor/certifiably crazy person) Busta Rhymes. In this picture, he's wearing a prettier outfit than Martha. Busta was crazy before Lil' Wayne made it cool.

Ol' Busta has, on separate occasions, been arrested or informally charged with, amongst other things:

*Beating the shit out of a guy stupid enough to spit on his car.
*Beating the shit out of a driver stupid enough to believe that he should be paid for his work.
*And (my personal favorite), while being arraigned on other charges, a district attorney in Manhattan tried to add a weapons charge against him... because he had a MACHETE in his car.

More rappers need to be talking about wielding machetes. Nobody is going to be harder than the guy carrying a machete.

Anyway, here's where that commitment thing comes in: For the entirety of his music career, Busta Rhymes has been making music videos. This in itself isn't strange, but what is is that they are all, almost without exception, the exact same idea.

Yes, most hip-hop videos aren't really deep, I agree. But this is a little different in that it's not really always "Seriously, I'm rich. Look, I have money." That's there, but, umm, Busta's a little stranger than that. The idea is this:

*Put Busta in a ridiculous outfit.
*Let him move around like a crazy person.
*Repeat, sometimes ten or more times in a music video.

Doesn't sound all that substantial, right? But I'm serious. Take ingredients, add water and video hoochies, and stir. Check these out:

"Break Your Neck," 2001

"Light Your Ass on Fire," 2003

"Gimme Some More," 1998

His first single, "Woo Ha," 1996

And then the latest video, "Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water on 'Em)," for an album coming out in March:

THERE IS NO GROWTH. Here's my theory: When he first started, I have a feeling that Busta wasn't expecting much success. As a result, maybe to a dejected friend or something, he said something along the lines of "Look, if I make it big, you can come up with all the ideas to my videos." Then, he did, and that incredibly uncreative guy called him out on it.

"Alright, in this one, you've got a crazy mustache! And you wave your arms like this!"
"Alright, in this one, you've got a crazy hat! And you wave your arms like this!"
"Alright, in this one, you're red! And you wave your arms like this!"
"Alright, in this one, you're like, umm, Elvis! But like a monkey too! And you..."

Of course, I could be wrong. The man had a machete in his car. He could absolutely be this crazy. But as long as he's this crazy, we'll keep getting videos like this, so, please, don't prescribe him anything. In the meantime, new Busta album in March, which apparently has a song called "Arab Money" on it. One can bet that it isn't gonna be brilliant social commentary.

But in all seriousness, I kind of adore Busta. Never ever leave us.


P.S. Completely unrelated, but the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album leaked, and it's wonderful. Kristina and I both recommend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Time!

Tonight's the Oscars. Unfortunately, I guess I shouldn't really talk about them, just because, you know, movies aren't music (although I will say that Milk is probably the best of those five movies). But, as I'm pretty sure they do every year, there are probably gonna be performances of all of the "Best Original Song" nominees.

About three years ago, these performances became completely irrelevent, and haven't been worth watching since. Why?

The above performance happened on the Oscar stage for the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" by Three 6 Mafia. It was easily one of the funniest moments in history for several reasons:

1) Just, umm, look at the stage. What the hell is going on? It kind of looks to me like the set's a living room, or something, but there's a guy riding through it on a bicycle. It's like a musical gone wrong up there.

(I'm gonna interrupt here: one of the guys on stage is wearing Phillies gear, and that made me happy.)

2) The edited version of this song. "A whole lot of wenches jumpin' ship?" Did anyone really believe that this was the real lyric?

3) The 2:52 mark, the greatest Oscar moment EVER. This is the only time the word "PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMP!" would ever be yelled at the Oscar ceremony. Watch that part a couple times. It's absolutely amazing.

4) Queen Latifah's reaction immediately afterwards, where she can't stop laughing. My thoughts exactly.

5) Think about it. The Academy probably nominated this song because people felt like they had lost touch for nominating songs by Randy Newman so many times (although, I confess, I really do like "You've Got a Friend in Me"). THEN, they had to sit in their seats and squirm through this. Awesome.

But then, finally, 6)

IT WON. From that moment to this, when referring to DJ Paul and Juicy J, one now has to do it as "Oscar-winners DJ Paul and Juicy J." I can't find the acceptance speech anywhere, but it was absolutely perfect.

I've gotta say though, I feel like no rap boast is ever gonna beat winning an Oscar, especially since only three rappers can claim to have done it: the two in Three 6 Mafia and Eminem.

Worst Five Best Original Song Winners, in chronological order:

*1947's "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "Song of the South." It did beat a song called "Pass That Peace Pipe," which was probably really offensive... so I wish "Pass That Peace Pipe" had won. Honorable mention to "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins as the two nominees with absolutely nonsensical lyrics.

*1983's "Flashdance... What a Feeling" from, umm, Flashdance. Yeah. Also, who is qualified to say that the Flashdance song is good enough to win... but the Footloose songs from the next year aren't?
EDIT (Kristina): I LOVE Flashdance.

*Consecutive years: 1986's "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun and 1987's "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing. These songs are so 1980s, it hurts.

Henceforth, I will never bring up Dirty Dancing again.

*1997's "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. Possibly the worst song ever written, and it BEAT ELLIOTT SMITH. That has to be a joke.

Anyway, this year, the two nominees from Slumdog Millionaire will probably split the vote, and that song from Wall-E will probably take it. This is a shame, as the performance from a newly de-babied M.I.A. will probably go in vain.

Enclosed in the playlist are a few songs that either did win at some point (Shaft theme? Why not?), should have won ("The Bare Necessities" and Elliott are great), or are up tonight ("Down to Earth"). Enjoy!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

The Pink Album makes me feel like I should actually listen to Jay-Z without any mashed in additions.

So, I get all giddy and schoolgirlish when the topic turns to Bonnaroo, and I'll be honest... I'm a huge lurker over at Inforoo, the unofficial 'roo community. One day, I clicked on a link that said flaming lips + jay-z mashup and I clicked on it eagerly, because, of course, I'm disgustingly devoted to them. I'm surprised more people haven't listened to this gloriousness.

The masher-whose name is Cory Johnson-posted all of his songs to YouTube. He took instrumentals from The Flaming Lips (mostly from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots but from other albums too) and combined them with vocals from Jay-Z's The Black Album. I'm always surprised by how smooth mashups can be, but these are just ridiculous. My favorite is embedded here:

Holy crap, right? This is a mashup of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (you know, but a bitch ain't one) and The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2," which is an instrumental track anyway. How does this have only 321 views? Around 21 of those are mine, too. The rest of the album is mixed just as cleverly - highlights include "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" (with "In the Morning of the Magicians") and "What More Can I Say" (with "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"). Go give them a listen; also, you can download the entire album via the message-board link I posted, with direct permission from the artist. Well, not Jay-Z/Wayne Coyne, but you get the idea. Enjoy your free delicious music.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Miscellaneous Update!

So, we've been slacking, but I guess we both don't want to have entries for the sake of having entries.

Umm, until, of course, now. Meet the miscellaneous update! Lacking much in the way of direction, here's a collection of random stuff!

*In what will be the last M.I.A.-related piece of news from me for a while, apparently, that joke about her delivering her baby during the Grammys wasn't really far off. Apparently, she started having contractions right at the start of the Grammys, and was something like two hours into them when she got up and performed:

I freely admit, I'm not an expert on pregnancy (this may come as a shock to some of you out there). However, this seems like it would suck. A lot.

A lot, a lot, a lot.

Also, I understand that she really only had to sing one line (as instead of "Paper Planes," she was just singing the sample part for "Swagga Like Us"), but that poses the question:

Is it tough to remember that line when a human being is trying to escape from inside of you?

*Anyway, my computer has been acting unbelievably ungrateful to me for almost the past two weeks. To think, if it didn't want Gatorade, it didn't have to get so angry that it stopped working.

The major problem with this is that everything on that guy is completely unusable until I make the trek to the Apple Store, so until that day, anyone who wants to steal music from me (see "In which you, the reader..." 1/27) is going to have to wait. Sorry, guys. I really need to get on that.

*A couple songs that have been stuck in my head recently, many of which will be appearing on the corresponding playlist at the bottom of the post:

Animal Collective - "For Reverend Green" When I say "A song got stuck in my head," I more than likely mean, "There is one part of this song that is driving me absolutely insane." In this one, it's the intro, this heavily distorted organ that sounds like a soundtrack to a messed-up dream. Hence, I feel like I'm walking around in a messed-up dream.

This is not the feeling that you want when you have important stuff to do.

Ben Kweller "How It Should Be (Sha Sha)" My friend Kelly is next to me. She says hi. She's obsessed with Ben Kweller. I'm not, but I do love this song. Also, don't bother me while I'm watching Planet of the Apes on TV. That's right.

Doves - "Black and White Town." It's a really simple melody, but it just sounds kind of nice. I find that I only listen to the song every few months or so, but every time I do, it sticks around in my head for a while afterwards. Today was one of those days.

The Thermals - "Now We Can See" The album isn't out yet, but a few websites are streaming the song, and I promise you, if you listen to the whole thing, you will be walking down the street singing the hook. It's killing me.

Also, The Thermals are great. Alsoalso, they don't really make albums longer than like 35 minutes. So, music for people with short attention spans. Like me!

And, umm, that should about do it. Hopefully, I'll update for real soon. Kelly says bye.

Now, she's staring at the screen and wondering if she really wants to say bye.

Now, she said "Sha sha."

Sha sha,

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

List of songs to make you absurdly happy, part three, maybe.

In what has become the most irregularly-updated series of blog entries in the history of blogging, I've managed to put together the next installment of music that will most likely make you quite joyful, or at least relaxed and content. And seriously, you all should put these on a playlist or something whenever you're feeling not relaxed or discontent. It will rectify the situation. Also, I have determined that I actually have nothing of interest to say regarding each individual song. I tend to ramble about nothingness. So I'm going to give you the list of songs. Plain and simple. A couple of them have comments added. You know, as necessary.

Gorillaz - “Clint Eastwood”

Hot Chip - “Over and Over”

Jens Lekman - “I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You”

Jens Lekman - “A Sweet Summer's Night On Hammer Hill”

Kate Nash - “Foundations”

Kimya Dawson - “5 Years”
(For some reason, I couldn't find this song on, which is weird, because it's by far my favorite Kimya Dawson song.)

M.I.A. - “Lady Killer”
(Couldn't find this one either, so the playlist below has "Galang" on it, because a happy playlist is not complete without some M.I.A.)

Mickey Avalon - “Jane Fonda”

Missy Elliot - “Work It”
Yeah, Missy Elliot. This song is awesome, and I will not back down.

The Mountain Goats - “Going to Scotland”

Mr. Bungle - “Squeeze Me Macaroni”

Neutral Milk Hotel - “Holland 1945” (EDIT: Weird association: when attending a taping of "The Colbert Report," this song came on right before the actual taping, and Stephen lip-synced the entire thing. Now, every time I hear this, I think of him spinning around in his chair while singing "white roses in her eyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees." Also, this song is great. - Jim)

Of Montreal - “Fun Loving Nun”
(Couldn't find this one either, which is a shame because The Gay Parade is such a great album. I included "Miniature Philosopher" instead.)

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ALSO. To make this post less lame and WAY more exciting, I'm going to include a "coming soon" list of things that I intend to blog about in the near-ish future. HOW EXCITED ARE YOU, DEAR READER?! I'll also leave it slightly cryptic in order to increase anticipation.
-"The Pink Album"
-Summer festival lineups
-The 5 creepiest songs I can think of
-Nothing even remotely relevant to real journalistic endeavors, I leave that to Jim.

Quick Update (Grammy Recap/In Which Jim Tries to Pick Up a Hipster)

I could be doing homework right now.

Sadly, M.I.A. didn't have her baby on Grammy night, but from the looks of things, it was pretty close. Unfortunately, any video of the performance has been removed from Youtube, but anyone who saw it... well, it looked pretty interesting. if I find it, I'll put it up in the near future.

Also, sadly, Weezy wasn't all that insane, apart from when he appeared to slingshot from backstage to claim an award.

And in kind of a surprise, Coldplay didn't win all 281 awards they were nominated for! Instead, Album of the Year was given to Robert Plant and Allison Krauss for Raising Sand. It's kind of a recent trend: three of the last five years, they've given the biggest prize to an older artist, more than likely for their body of work than if the album nominated deserved to win or not. I haven't actually heard this one yet though, so I couldn't really say much about this, but, umm... cool. I have no problem with this practice. Keep up the good work.

Anyway, my roommate offered me a ticket to see The Submarines tomorrow night. A little background: the Submarines are one of those bands that got their break via Apple commercials. Specifically, this one:

They also have a song on the Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist soundtrack. They're a couple who dated for four years, broke up, wrote songs about each other, heard each other's songs, got back together, and are now married and still writing songs together (hold for collective "awwwwww.").

At any rate, their latest album is nice. It's pretty, light, and poppy, and that's all that it really needs to be. Also, the ticket is free. Here's the problem with this: this concert is more than likely going to be filled with hipsters. I have no real problem with the hipster, but I do worry about forging into their native habitat of Brooklyn for this concert.

What this means:

*Inevitably, 6'5" me will be hounded by 5'1" girls to move from whatever perch I take, or to put people on my shoulders. This happens to me at least once at any concert with general admission seating.
*I will be the only person in the crowd not to know the words to all of these songs.
*However, I will be the only person who will visibly appear to have fun.

Am I going to need to go to American Apparel for this? Is there any way I can bring a hipster back to keep? Can I, Mom? Pleaseeeeeeeee? I promise I'll take it outside every day for walks and cigarettes!


Friday, February 6, 2009

The Less-Substantial Grammy Post

Hey, guys. So, as Jim just told you, the Grammys are this weekend. Which is somewhat of a surprise to me, but nevertheless, I'm prepared to go on about how ridiculous they are as well, but in a different vein.

Some categories and nominations are very legitimate. M.I.A. and Robert Plant & Allison Krause and even Radiohead were nominated for things. This is good.

HOWEVER. Since when does Slipknot get nominated for things? I don't mind the music itself; actually, it's pretty good. But the vocals make me want to gouge out my eardrums.

Slipknot isn't even what I'm upset about. Guys... Snoop Dogg got nominated... for a song called Sexual Eruption. Let's not kid ourselves, this song is NOT about an outpouring of romantic feeling. Let me quote some of this for you.

"I whispered in her ear,
'Lil' mama, what you drink?'
I know that you a freak,
but you know I ain't gon' say shit
See, my game is outrageous
I got her to the crib and exchanged some fuck faces
But it wasn't no use for me to rush to bust one
Cause I wanted her to have an eruption."

And at one point in the song, he clarifies for you. "Orgasms." See for yourself.

Gorgeous. I like Gin & Juice as much as the next white girl (that is what it's called, right?), and I'm actually seeing Snoop this summer at Bonnaroo. (!!!!) But really, Grammys? Anyway, Jim and I will be writing more about their ridiculousness post-ceremony. Hopefully, we're able to witness the birth of M.I.A.'s beautiful child.

Grammy time!

I swear, I did not make ANY of this up.

Sunday night is apparently the biggest night in music. It’s Grammy night. It’s always a pretty confusing night, because without fail, there’s always about ten songs/artists/albums that are nominated that are completely confounding.

This year is no exception: Kid Rock is nominated for two Grammys. That’s right, Bob “Bawitdaba” Ritchie has apparently found his way back into the good graces of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for the first time since his nomination in 2000 for “American Bad Ass.” I’m pretty sure the fact that Kid Rock is a five-time anything (trailer owner? hepatitis patient?) is enough to discount the entire ceremony… but I digress.

Kid's nominated against Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Metallica, and the Raconteurs. Yes, all of those bands are nominated in the same category: the vague umbrella of Best Rock Album. This, it can be said, is dumb. None of those bands are even remotely close in style. Having them nominated in the same category is dumb. It's like comparing apples to... people who decide to name their child Apple.

There’s a pretty good chance that Coldplay is going to take home the Record, Song, and Album of the Year for Viva la Vida (and it’s corresponding album). This is actually fine with me; even though I feel like M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” was a better nominee in Record of the Year, and I’m never gonna pick against Radiohead for anything, I’m just relieved that “Viva la Vida” doesn’t sound like “Speed of Sound,” which sounds a bit like a slowed-down “Clocks.” Besides, it’s a marked improvement over these songs, all of which have nominated in the past:

Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" (to spell out fruit, is to be nominated for a Grammy)

Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" (apparently nominating Kid Rock in both 1999 and 2000 set a dangerous precedent) EDIT (Kristina): This, however, IS a sign of the apocalypse. See below.

Hanson's "MMMBop" (live on the Wayne Brady show! Yes! Anyway, mmmbop, ba ba du bop, du ba da ba du bop, da ba du, yeah, yeah. Record of the Year nominee. First sign of the apocalypse.) EDIT (Kristina): I still love Taylor Hanson, and have this song on my iPod. I disagree with this being a sign of the apocalypse.

Paula Cole's "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" (and, I confess, I guiltily like this song. A good amount, actually. But it seems absolutely ridiculous to try and nominate it for "Record of the Year." For the record, same year as "MMMBop.")

Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" (really?)

I'm gonna cut this off: Wayne Brady is actually nominated for a Grammy this year too. I'm so far from kidding about this. Are they just giving away these things like candy? Where can I sign up?

James Gallagher, Grammy-nominated artist and blogger: great business card, or the GREATEST business card?

Katy Perry's opus to same-sex lip lock is also a Grammy nominee for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance," which is just, uhh, great. I'm sure most of you have heard "I Kissed a Girl," so I have absolutely no intention of posting it here, but, umm, she kind of took a liberal approach to the idea of pitch, didn't she?

And, like seemingly everybody else on the planet, the academy loved Lil Wayne. Eight nominations. Frankly, I don't really get it. I'm actually a big fan of rappers with distinct vocal stylings (you've heard both Kristina and I rave about Aesop Rock, and I'd also count Del the Funkee Homosapien, Busdriver, etc.), but in my humble opinion, his voice is cringe-worthy. Him being more talented than a good majority of current rappers is kind of irrelevant when he sounds like he's swimming in a bottle of cough syrup (which is completely possible).

And really, how much of an accolade is it to say that Lil Wayne is better than someone whose brilliant idea for a rap name was to take the word Florida and split it in half?

For the record, Flo Rida is also nominated for two Grammys. Sigh.

I will say this though: I'll probably be watching for a couple of reasons, one of them actually being Lil Wayne. With eight nominations, he's bound to win a couple of times. One sort-of well-known fact about Weezy is that he's crazy (not crazy as in he's incredible so much as crazy as in, he's mentally insane). If being in New York City for the past three semesters of college has taught me anything, it's that crazy people should always be given opportunities to speak.

Prepare for the best acceptance speech(es?) of your life.

In addition, the performances. The following quote is blatantly ripped from Pitchfork:

"Billboard reports (and the show's website confirms) that M.I.A. has been added to the already-jammed roster of performers at this Sunday's Grammy Awards telecast... But, uh, M.I.A. is nine months pregnant, and she reported in a MySpace blog post last year that her baby is actually due on Grammy night. This leaves a possibility that M.I.A. will give birth onstage."

CAN YOU IMAGINE?! Mid-performance of Paper Planes: All I wanna do is *gunshot* *gunshot* *gunshot* *water breaks*?! For the three people that are following this blog, if that happens, we retire. There will literally not be anything to write about EVER AGAIN.

Also, "Livin' la Vida Loca" was nominated for Record of the Year at the time of its release. But how relevant can an award ceremony named for a gramophone really be?