23Feb2011 2030: Worst Case Serraglio
What's worst? That I put Vamp on my Netflix queue on the strength of that poster alone? Or that it places one of the worst Bond henchmen at the head of a (spoiler) vampire strip club/brothel? Or that I actually enjoyed it? Or that the disc was damaged and couldn't play the last twenty minutes? Or that we have turned to Usenet to fill in that gap? I guess your answer would depend on whether you're a Hollywood rightsholder and your tolerance for Long Duk Dong.
[Lori McKenna - Buy This Town] is a name I recognize from my last.fm station. My station is overrun with female folk artists, so...yeah. Amazon should sell songs like this for a literal dime per dozen. It's not bad, just generic. Essentially it's [Barenaked Ladies - If I Had a Million Dollars] with way less ambition.
[Vecente Garcia - Como Has Logrado] is... hold on...I got distracted by Desktop Dungeons. This sure is a song. Yep. An easy-listening type of folk with some Latin drums and a muted trumpet later on. If I lived farther south this would get played over a grocery store's muzak.
[Jessica Lea Mayfield - Blue Skies Again] has a suspiciously meadow-oriented name. Maybe the guys at iTunes all had hangovers this morning, 'cause this is the third mellow happy song in a row. Jessica tends more towards pure pop and her guitar is slightly electric, but it's downtempo and soothing and again full of promises about what she will do when she's in love.
The songs nearly put me to sleep; this week's video is probably relaxing ocean waves and seagull calls. Oh...man, by the end I may wish it was ocean waves. If you heard [The Pretty Reckless - Just Tonight] on the radio you wouldn't be able to separate it from all the other sad pop songs. "Evanescence gets worse each album", you'd think. "They don't even pretend to rock any more". Now pile the most painfully overwrought goth imagery on top. Light everything in red, put the singer in both skintight red vinyl and frilly black bridal gowns, show roses dripping in "blood"...it's like Hot Topic is stabbing me in the eye.
16Feb2011 1830: Trinket
I took another large step into the modern age today, with the arrival of my first GPS unit. It was the only worthwhile "free" gift available from Wells Fargo upon the successful(?) completion(?) of my refinancing. I like to imagine it's because Wells Fargo feels bad about what they've done, but I'm sure it's just a bland attempt at building customer loyalty. I certainly didn't get a doodad for my first mortgage, so my internal narrative still plays and allows me to feel smug over a giant multinational that technically possesses all of my money.
Goddamn you guys did you see that X-Men: First Class trailer? Goddamn. That's the kind of trailer that will make people forget the last two movies in your franchise were shit. There's still time to screw it up; I mean that quite literally, as I believe they are still filming at this very moment.
[Los Concorde - Dramaddict] is bouncy dance pop in the vein of a Cut Copy or I guess the Black Eyed Peas now? It is meant to get teenage butts on the dance floor for a few weeks and then vanish into history.
[He Is We - Happily Ever After] is the kind of female piano-pop that is probably all over the radio these days. I'll definitely bite on a Regina Spektor or Tori Amos, but He Is We has that formulaic soft start into the big pop chorus that just gets on my nerves.
I thought the still shot representing the video for [Jessie J - Price Tag] was either calling back to The Prisoner or ReBoot's parody of The Prisoner, so I was predisposed to like it. Turns out she was just saying "okay" at that point in the song and making the okay gesture in case we didn't grasp her meaning. The song is standard reggae-pop (strike one-two) about not chasing the money and just dancing and having a good time...in a slick-visualed video produced by a major label that will be budgeted as an advance against their album earnings (strike three). I hope Jessie J takes her own message to heart, because she won't see any money out of this career. And OH GOOD there's a rap breakdown.
Conversely, the album image for [Runner Runner - Hey Alli] had me fearing the worst of boy bands. It turns out...well, they aren't the worst? I was about to say they're more Fastball or GooGoo Dolls in that they have real instruments, but then the lead turned on his autotuner and I nearly threw my netbook at the TV. This is a real shit week for free singles, eh? Here, this should make up for it.
09Feb2011 1745: A Hero's Death
king is dead,
long live the king.
In five years Guitar Hero went through the stereotypical
rock music arc: the sudden entrance into gaming's
consciousness with an amazing first album, signing with
a major label, the
increasingly unfocussed follow-up albums, the inevitable
split between the
"soul" of the band and
Axl Rose the
people who owned the name of the band, the
atrocious final album, and now the final break-up.
At this point all we need is a VH1 retrospective and we can
put Guitar Hero to bed forever.
[Los Romanticos de Zacatecas - Loving You Again] is like a Spanish Pillows. Frenetic, low-fi, and utterly unintelligible rock.
[Mann & 50 Cent - Buzzin] is the video this week, and the involvement of 50 Cent means you know exactly where this is going to go. It certainly wastes no time showing you sports cars and scantily-clad women; they get to that before the song even starts. I like money as much as the next middle-class fella, but rap always celebrates the wrong things about money. It's not about stacking bills or landing "honeys", it's about not being in debt when the economy takes a shit turn.
[Nicole Atkins - Vultures] is dark, nearly-country rock. It lingers on vultures and bones and death and stuff, with a little bit of twang in Nicole's voice. It's just not exciting at all.
[Cut Copy - Need You Now] is more emphatic than [INXS - Need You Tonight] in both tempo and title, but otherwise the comparison holds.
02Feb2011 1745: Groundhog Day
It's Groundhog Day, perhaps the silliest holiday recognized by the United States. You could celebrate by having a potluck at work, but that's also silly. You should probably just watch the obvious movie, perhaps synched up with this commentary featuring the illustrious Stephen Tobolowsky. Or if you're pressed for time, just listen to the Cliff Notes version.
Man, that SlashFilm link reminds me of when "Web 2.0" "came out" and bloated everybody's header graphics to stupid proportions. Remember that? That's going to seem like ice-cream cake full of puppies compared to the new trend of optimizing for smartphones. I just got done buying widescreen monitors and TVs, and now you want to squish your content into a portrait-oriented tablet? Dammit so much.
iTunes is being a jerk and only let me download the week's video, so I recommend that you go check out this month's $5 albums on Amazon instead. Hahaha oh man there's no way the video could top this old gem anyway. [White Lies - Bigger Than Us] gives it a good try, with music like Tears for Fears and visuals like that sad part at the end of ET. Only this time the candy is a fake brand? But there is not a single hula hoop or slide whistle to be found.