28Oct2009 1830: Borderlands
The word this week is Borderlands, and it will likely be the word for many weeks to come. Diablo 2 with guns and a bitching intro song is plenty to get my interest. A sniper rifle with a bizarre vertical-slit scope that shoots fire is enough to keep it. I could turn invisible and punch alien dogs in the back, or send a flying bat-hawk-thing winging after a Mad Max hillbilly. That's fulfilling on its own, but when my targets explode in a shower of dollar bills and potentially amazing randomized guns, you have the beginning of a digital addiction.
Wheeeee I reached the point on my Netflix queue where Marvel gets to torture me. Daredevil today, Elektra this weekend, leading up to my first attempt to watch Wolverine. I wasn't brave enough to throw Fantasic Four in there, I really just want to get Wolverine over as quickly as possible. Eat my peas, as it were.
[Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say] is the video this week, and...haven't I heard this robot before? A young black R&B "star" gets his hands on an autotuner and sings at a girl. If I understand the video correctly, this girl dumped him because a hotter girl came within ten feet. The lyrics admit that he was cheating, but I don't think sharing a couch is cheating. Maybe that was in the rules she gave him when she deigned to begin seeing him.
[Gatekeeper - Forgotten] is a freight train of electronica barreling down upon you, and when it reaches you it sorta of rolls back and forth on the rails for a couple minutes before the fuel gives out. I imagine the conductor is pretty embarrassed.
[Matias Aguayo - Rollerskate] is trying to meet me halfway across the language gap and I appreciate the effort. I assume this is the Spanish track of the week, but I couldn't make out 70% of the words in this weirdo's song. I'm not really sure how to describe it; there's a backing beat that might be a muted trumpet or a woman saying "butter", Matias' voice is soft and buried within the other vocal loops. The two words I did get were "she" and of course "rollerskate". This sort of ambient mishmash doesn't last long on my playlists.
[Orianthi - According to You] broadcasts an immediate Avril Lavigne vibe, in the way that certain frogs are bright red. If ingestion occurs, induce vomiting.
21Oct2009 1745: Recovery
I really did recover last week, right on schedule. But then Thursday night was spent wandering downtown Fargo with the parents, Friday was a late night at the bar with my bro, and Saturday was consumed entirely with ValleyCon. By 11PM Saturday my cold had resurfaced and turned into full laryngitis, robbing me of the gift of hearing myself talk. So the past three days I've been holed up in my condo, remoting in to work and trying not to yell at the cat even when he's in MY GODDAMN KLEENEX SHOO.
The worst part? My convalesence has prevented me from singing Fat Bottomed Girls at unneighborly volumes. I had to drum it yesterday, and it wasn't enough.
[Porcupine Tree - Time Flies] has a uniquely lens-flarey view of his childhood. The song itself is middle-of-the-road rock at the tiny volume that iTunes videos are famous for, but the video is a hyperspeed collage of the sun setting on things while lens flares jump around in some kind of refractory rave. It was really kind of painful to watch.
[Jencarlos - Amor Quedate] is a sad song about love. You can picture that in your head, right? The quiet beginning, the 6/8 time drum machine, the swell from the bridge into the last verse? It's all here and not improved upon at all.
[Benton Paul - Run] is actually a lot like Time Flies, in that it's interchangeable rock that probably won't even be identifiable by decade. The 80s has a sound, the 90s still has cues I can pick up on, but what is this decade going to leave behind? Maybe if we're lucky the next wave of music will be beamed directly into our brains, thus providing a clear demarcation between rock tropes.
[Melanie Fiona - It Kills Me] didn't kill her fast enough. Does the world really need another diva? Isn't Whitney Houston still alive? Get this chick off the stage.
14Oct2009 1800: Illness
Blarg. I've spent the past two days nursing the annual virii attempt to lay me low. My throat's early-warning system went off Tuesday morning, giving me a choice: ignore it (like I did one year) and suffer three weeks of near-strep symptoms and all-around crappiness, or take a couple days off (like I've done every time since then) to defeat it quickly. I'm feeling much more human already. Unfortunately there was a critical deadline at work today and remoting can only do so much, especially when I've mandated naptime. So my bud got stuck with the project because he's the go-to guy for getting stuck with deadlines. Sorry, Poocifer.
It's especially important that I recover by tomorrow, as Thursday kicks off several days of family fun time. One brother swings by with the parents to tour campuses and then the other brother comes around for Valley Con. We've tricked George R R Martin into attending, knowing that Fargo is relatively boring and he'll have no choice but to work on A Dance With Dragons before and after his panel.
And oh man Sunday, Venture Brothers is back!
This week brings us two free videos. [MC Lars - True Player for Real] is an easy recommendation, given that I've already seen the video and I own two of his albums. It's his "self-referential introduction song" -- there's no part of that I don't like. The sock puppetry is just a bonus. [AFI - Medicate] has a nice look to it, the gold-only color scheme. It's too bad the music itself is so very unappealing. I think I remember these guys from Rock Band, and not liking that song either.
[Glint - Damaged Goods] is some sort of dark electro-rock, like if Smashing Pumpkins traded in their guitar feedback for a synth and also really sucked.
[Robert Francis - Junebug] has an utterly forgettable pop song mooning over a girl. Stop it. You are only encouraging needless teen drama.
07Oct2009 1800: Epic Mickey
I know a lot of my friends don't play video games, so you may not have heard about Epic Mickey, the game where Oswald Rabbit and other rare characters try to topple the Disney kingdom. And it's headed by the guy who made Wing Commander and Deus Ex. So...there it is.
I'm not sure what to think about this. On the one hand, it's a cool concept, pitting Disney's failed experiments against their successful characters in a corrupted Disney environment. On the other hand, it's a cash grab, pitting Disney characters they haven't whored out to B- and C-list animation teams for dozens of direct-to-DVD movies against the ones they ran into the ground decades ago in a Disney environment. An excellent reason for them to argue that all those unused characters should also have their copyrights extended another eighty years.
On the gripping hand, I won't buy it without a Black Hole level.
I haven't mentioned how much I hate the iTunes Store redesign in a couple weeks, so: it sucks. Extra clicks to download everything, and every piece of content looks the same. Which may be their aim, but I don't want to see audiobooks and sneak previews in my free music lists. Is it a video? Is it a song? Is it new? You won't know until you mouse over!
[Hockey - Song Away] has some nice meta-song going on, and a touching video story about how lame church-basement mixers are. The refrain is incredibly stupid, but I can't really fault someone who spends three minutes singing about how he's totally writing this song as a sell-out.
[Noel Schajris - No Importa] has brought us a slow pop ballad about how we shouldn't rip our CDs. At least that's how it goes in my head. The rational side of my brain says it's probably about some chick that's leaving him, but the joke side of my brain is telling me not to copy that floppy.
[Tal & Acacia - Clearview] is thirty seconds of promising tune, at which point it veers irretrievably into R&B/pop territory. I've always got my fingers crossed that I find more folk like Azure Ray, but this isn't it. Nice harmonies, though. And I guess it's good that Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sarah Silverman are getting work.