Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strong Steps

Pyongyang says the test of the three-stage Taepodong-2 rocket was a success, putting a satellite into orbit which is now transmitting data and revolutionary songs.
Watched a show about the Antichrist on the History Channel recently. They trotted out a bunch of possible explanations for what some of the more cryptic passages in Revelations could mean. Needless to say, they missed the most blatantly obvious one:

GOD, David Thewlis is an underappreciated actor. He basically made up all the shit in that scene off-dome, ya know. Last I heard he was playing a British Nazi in a WWII movie that wasn't as popular as "Valkyrie".

Peace out

Monday, April 6, 2009


On May 29, 1913, Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" premiered in Paris. The crowd at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, confounded and angered by the atonal, primal nature of the music and the racy theme of Nijinsky's accompanying choreography, descended into a riot that could not be quelled even by the Paris police force. Stravinsky's ballet itself, of course, is now recognized as a milestone in classical music and perhaps the gold standard against which all modern classical music is judged.

Everyone knows that the classical music scene has been mad boring since then, with the only excitement coming from the occasional theater fire or recital at Stonehenge. For the last 96 years, palms have been sweating, hearts have been palpitating with anticipation for anything that would compare even in the slightest to the epochal event that took place that day in 1913.

That's why, if you live in the Richmond, VA area, do not even THINK about being out of town on April 25, 2009; that is when VIDEO GAMES LIVE is coming to the Landmark Theater.

Video Games Live is a spectacular concert event featuring music from the most popular video games of all time. Join the Richmond Symphony and Richmond Symphony Chorus for exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, solo performers, electronic percussionists, live action and unique interactive segments that create an explosive entertainment experience!
Don't even call yourself a member of the human race if you miss this opportunity.

Ok but seriously though what is the deal with this phenomenon? How can anyone love video games so much that they need to experience what was once just a midi file blown up to ridiculous proportions and synchronized with lights and dancing I guess? Maybe I just don't understand because I'm not a big video game guy (except Goldeneye; if anyone knows how to beat the Aztec level btw, hit me back).

But wait! I like other things!

Like movies, for example. Like Bernard Hermann, for example.

The man created some of the greatest film music of all time. But for me, personally, like speaking from my heart, I would never go to a recital of his music in any form. I think that in removing his music from the context of the films in which they appeared, something is inevitably lost; something not worth forking over like 50 bucks to see performed live. Why wouldn't it be the same for video games?

So I dunno, if you want to get high on Sour Patch Kids and go see Video Games Live, do it. But you won't find me in the Landmark Theater on April 25! I'm getting fitted for new dentures that day.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pop Music: Early 2009

Working as I do at a gym equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio that is ninety-five percent of the time tuned to a top 40 station (Sirius Hits 1), I've become familiar over the months with the latest and surely the greatest tracks that 14 year olds and gay men are sweatin lately.

Sirius Hits 1 mostly concentrates on a heady and aromatic blend of confectionary electro-pop, blond-streaked Tapoutdouche rock, and the All-American Rejects. It is almost interchangeable with the hip-hop and R&B station that is sometimes played ("K-'s a hip-hop faggot," as one of my coworkers put it to me recently), yet the gym members are very wedded to SH1, and complaints are inevitably logged if another Sirius station is chosen in its stead.

Since the gym is a warehouse-sized echo chamber and I have things to do during my job that prevent me from focusing all my attention on SH1, I have only a vague grasp of what the majority of these songs actually sound like. Nonetheless, here are my reviews of some of the standouts:

Britney Spears - "Womanizer," "Circus," "If U Seek Amy"
Confession time: it took me forever to figure out that "If U Seek Amy" spelled out "F.U.C.K. Me" or "Fuck Me." I even read an internet news article about the hidden meaning and couldn't piece it together. "IfYOUSEEkamy?" I said out loud to myself. "IfyousEEKAMY? Well, I don't see what's so objectionable about that."

These are three of the worst songs I have ever heard in my life.

Eminem feat. Dr. Dre and 50 Cent - "Crack A Bottle"
I think it's fair to say that for anyone within about five years of my age, Eminem and Dr. Dre played a monumental role in shaping their worldview as it pertains to, among other things, women, black culture, stress management, and marijuana. These men taught us how adults function in society, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude.

This song, which I guess is supposed to be either on Eminem's new album or Dre's thing that's supposed to have been coming out for the last ten years, represents a clean break from Eminem's previous woe-is-me angst tales; from the title, there is abundant evidence that Marshal Mathers III is now all about partying and having a good time. Em's verse and the song's chorus name-drop a number of fun things, like condoms, group sex, and Chevy Tahoes. Dre has a whatever verse and 50 Cent stops by for literally about 10 seconds.

I don't know if Dre produced this but if he did it sounds really
phoned in and if Eminem produced it, it is the best song Eminem has ever produced.

Adem(?) - Song about blowjobs
This song is really annoying because it goes "So addicted to/all the things you do/when you're going down on me/in between the sheets" so immediately you have to picture a guy who looks like Criss Angel without the goth fixation receiving fellatio. It is also annoying because it is a really, really bad song.

Lady Gaga - "Just Dance," "Poker Face"
These songs are so, so catchy, which is funny, because there's not really anything exceptional about them. They're pretty Kylie-y, you know, pulsating electrobeats that would sound good at a really clean-looking club, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about when I'm talking about Kylie.

Anyway, whoever wrote these hooks (the man I'm picturing looks something like Giorgio Moroder with a gold lame tracksuit and Osiris D3s) is a genius-caliber svengali, because they are mad going through my head right now. Actually, he probably looks more like Scott Storch than Giorgio Moroder.

Theory Of A Deadman - "Bad Girlfriend"
This is a song about how the lead singer of Theory Of A Deadman's girlfriend acts all Coyote Ugly when they out at da club but then he says something like "but she's comin home with me tonight!"

For the longest time, I thought this was a song about how the guy's girlfriend slept around on him. That was until one of my coworkers started singing his own made up version of "Bad Girlfriend" along the lines of "She likes to shake her titties/She likes to suck my dick/Yeah yeah/She's a bad bad girlfriend" and I insisted that we look up the real lyrics. It was then that I discovered just how nuanced this song really is, while still being absolutely god-awful.

T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake - "Dead and Gone"
This is definitely my favorite song that is currently being played on SH1. The production is cinematic but gritty, Tip's flow is on-point, and Justin is unobtrusive and effective, sticking to singing the hook and the bridge. See, I can't stand it when guest singers on hip hop songs decide to become the main focus of the song. I'm looking in your direction, Mary J. Blige (more on this later).