Thursday, December 27, 2012

...and you will know my blog titles by their unnecessary word length

There is a school of thought that it is a virtue to be concise. Why say in fifty pages what you can say in one? However, some artists just want to rebel against the system and make miserably long song titles that trick you into thinking they’re complex. Here are some of my favorites:

Brand New- “Okay, I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t”

This song title is taken from a line in the movie that Macaulay Culkin is watching in Home Alone 2...which, by the way, seems like an awesome movie. In addition to loving the name of this song, I also love the song itself. It’s self-assured, it’s scathing...just, love.

Primitive Radio Gods- “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”
Although I come from a generation where Primitive Radio Gods and phone booths are both obsolete, I’d imagine that the singer is trying to describe some kind of generally sucky feeling of needing something to work that just doesn’t work. Like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife? Unfortunately, in my lunchroom, the exact opposite is usually true. I’ve gotten many a plastic-knife burn on my tongue when attempting to knife my yogurt.

The Ataris- “The Last Song I Will Ever Write About a Girl”
Spoiler alert--it wasn’t.

Andrew Bird- “Nervous Tic Of Motion of the Head To The Left”
I get what he’s saying, but does it really have to be to the left? I just tried to tic my head to the right. I guess it does have to be to the left to get the intended effect. To the left, to the left...

Brand New- "Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die"
That’s also what Amir Vehabovic thought. He was wrong.

Sufjan Stevens- entire discography
When you’re assigning a 3-5 page term paper, Sufjan is the kid in your class who raises their hand and asks coyly, “But...can it be more than 5 pages?” Everyone in your class would love to kick this kid’s ass, and rightfully so. But you just have to nod your head and say encouragingly, “That’d be great, Sujfan.” What he turns in is actually a 300-page report on fucking Michigan, of all things, with an asterisk at the bottom indicating that he intends to do this kind of think for all 50 states. You’d really like to write that he’s an asshole and he’s never going to make it, but instead you write “Wow! You are really gifted, Sufjan!” without reading any of his paper. Next year, you recommend him for Honors English just so you never have to deal with him again.

Fall Out Boy- “I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me”
This song was not written about me, but I do know the feeling. God, Pete Wentz. Ever heard of buying a girl a diamond necklace? A bouquet of roses? Ever heard of CALLING A GIRL BACK??? No, I guess not.

Fall Out Boy- "Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued"
That time it was about me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

in the face of a tragedy, US music puts some cover-up on its face

I recently exercised tact and did not make a comment that I really wanted to make on Facebook.

The post was from my boyfriend, discussing how he had never heard anything more disgusting than Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” intercut with news coverage of the recent school shooting. And I really wanted to make a joke saying, yeah, they really should have put it to Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” instead.

But then again, I knew that that would cause some people to write me off as a horrendous person for the rest of my life, because I’m not allowed to have a humorous thought in aftermath of a tragedy.

In fact, in the aftermath of a tragedy, the song “Pumped Up Kicks” is not even allowed to exist on many major radio stations.

And then I got to thinking...America really likes to change who it is in the face of a tragedy. They pretend that they thought songs that make school shootings sound somewhat sexy were not okay all along. It’s kind of like deleting everything embarrassing from your diary and then allowing a close friend to read it cover to cover. It’s deceptive.

And it goes beyond the radio deleting things that are embarrassing. It extends to deleting things that in any way make the listener feel icky or think any thought that is anywhere related to the Big Bad Thing that has just happened.

After 9/11, music went through an utter pussification. Sorry to be profane, but I just can’t think of a better word to describe it.

Jimmy Eat World renamed their recent album, previously titled Bleed American, to be eponymous. It would be one thing if their album was titled Bleed, American. But it wasn’t. They just had to change it for all of those idiotic Americans who’ve never read a book in their lives, let alone Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

The Strokes re-released their album Is This It?, removing the track “New York City Cops” and replacing it with the most phoned-in, phoney piece of shit song I’ve ever heard. The original song was an upbeat account of misbehavior that happened to make the tongue-in-cheek assessment, “New York City cops/ They ain’t too smart.” Which is an idea that was not allowed to be thought in a post-9/11 world. Any reference that portrayed cops as anything other than noble heroes was prohibited.

Other little edits were temporarily made to the radio waves for a little while. A disgusting Toby Keith song about putting a “boot in your ass” if you messed with the red white and blue gained undeserved popularity. The song “Proud To Be An American” was played every few hours on mainstream radio stations as well, which, much like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” I’ve never heard in the context of anything other than a joke.

Worse yet were the songs that were taken off. Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad” met a brief hiatus, which I suppose is forgivable due to proximity. A little further removed from the situation was U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which had absolutely nothing to do with violence in the US or in the Middle East, but rather in Northern Ireland. Worst of all, for all of those sub-80 IQ Middle Americans out there, the Dave Matthews Band song “Crash Into Me” was temporarily taken from the airwaves. Yikes.

I guess what I’m trying to say is...we try to act like we value free speech, but in the face of tragedy, we have to practice overly careful, walking-on-eggshells speech. We have to retract anything that could make it look like problems exist. I don’t want to be emotionally manipulated into thinking it’s cool to put a boot in someone’s ass or that cops are generally intelligent. Do you?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The DSM-IV is the new It-list, says faux folk acts on 99.5

Hot or not: the femme fatale?

I’ll answer delicately to avoid being called a hypocrite. I’ve always enjoyed this archetype. I never minded sharing a name with The OC’s sometimes anorexic, somewhat bipolar, occasionally overdosing Marissa Cooper. And I’d be lying if I said no student has ever caught me perusing the wikiHow for how to be more like John Green’s Alaska Young.

So I guess I’d have to say that, yes. I do enjoy the kind of girl that has some issues but is also stupid-hot. Though overdone, it can still be an interesting character with depth. I can dig it.

The femme fatale is hot.

But the femme flacide, as I would like to dub a recurring type of character in recent twangy pop music, is NOT.

The femme fatale is the girl you’re with when you drink a 40 and a 5-hour Energy on your way to go do something awesome that will probably get you arrested.

The feme flacide is the wholly unattractive girl crying on the floor of your dorm room because she’s just professed her love to you and you told her you’d rather just be friends (at least until she does something about that moustache). You think to yourself: I really should go to Spanish class, but does 90 minutes give this bitch enough time to consume my athlete roommate’s entire supply of painkillers and Joose? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I don’t have time for it, anyway. But the crappy folk-pop currently littering the Top 40 radio waves does.

We first see the feme flacide in One Direction’s second single about a girl with low self-esteem (not to be confused with their first single about a girl with low self-esteem). The music is toned down, the boy-band sound is subdued; this is their serious song, guys!

And since the average One Direction fan lacks the higher-order thinking skills to make an inference, they are easy on the subtlety when crooning about this down-on-herself female:

“You never want to know how much you weigh/ You have to squeeze into your jeans/ But you’re perfect to me.”

The song is aptly named “Little Things,” and I’m just going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing that the perfectly perfect little Brit tweens of 1D are not actually chubby chasers. Nope. Instead, they are fetishizing the already way too common complaining of size 0 preteens: “I’m fat.” Sorry Liam, Niall, and whatever other terribly named little shits are in that group. There is only one song worth listening to about low self-esteem.

Phillip Phillips, the American Idol winner whose music is as redundant as his name, recently created that song on the radio that you probably think is just Mumford and Sons’ weakest single. It’s called “Home.” Hm. I’ve never heard a song by that title before.

Phillip X 2 would like to tranquilize his love interest: “Settle down, it’ll all be clear/ Don’t pay no mind to the demons/ They fill you with fear.”

More often than not “demons” are a euphemism for “deal-breaker.” Like when your girlfriend is a perfect 10, except for the whole “dissociative identity disorder” thing. And the whole “sociopathic” thing. These are just words. Words are just demons.

The girl from Ed Sheeran’s (by the way, what the fuck kind of stage name is that? That sounds like the name of my mom’s friend’s husband, not a pop star) latest single has got some real problems. I mean, she’s got girl-from-Bright-Eyes-lyrics level of issues.

She’s apparently a prostitute. Has been since age 18. “But lately,” Ed sighs, “her face seems/ Slowly sinking, wasting/ Crumbling like pastries/ And they scream/ The worst things in life come free to us/ Cause we’re just under the upper hand/ And go mad for a couple grams.”

Is this really the girl you are pining after, Mr. Sheeran? That’s okay and all, but I would advise you to look for track marks while holding her hand...and maybe request an HIV screening before taking things to the next level.

I think what I hate the most about this song is the way he says the word “pastries.” From the Toaster Strudel to anything and everything Entenmann's--the pastry is a sacred thing to me. Don’t taint it with your overdone accent and put-on quaver! Just don’t!

Ed Sheeran goes on to sulk through cliche metaphors: “It’s too cold outside/ For angels to fly.” I’m not quite sure what exactly happens when it’s too cold outside for angels to fly. I’m much more acquainted with what happens when angels deserve to die...and it’s awesome.

So all in all, I’m just tired and bored of hearing about this kind of passive, hopeless headcase of a girl. I’d like pop music, especially this bizarre subset of folk pop to dig a little deeper, please. Throw in a new archetype. What about a down-ass bitch? Maybe a folk cover of “Bonnie and Clyde 03”? It is about time for the femme flacide find an extremely pathetic and cowardly way to do what she was always destined to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the six emoest things, feat. chris carrabba of dashboard confessional

6. Proudly hanging on to terrible homemade gifts from your girlfriend

“There's pillows in their cases/ and one of those is mine/ And you wrote the words ‘I love you’/ and sprayed it with perfume.”
-"A Plain Morning”

Beyond emo, this just sounds ghetto. Imagine having a friend come over and inquire if this item was created by your 5-year-old niece, and then having to explain that no, this was made by the girl you desire most. I mean, she could have at least embroidered it, is all I’m sayin.

Ever the cheeseball, Carrabba goes on to state: “It's better than the fire is/ to heat this lonely room.” I’d make a crack about the only way he could use it to heat the room was by setting it on fire, but Carrabba seems to have anticipated my desire to do so and effectively blocked it with the phrasing of his lyrics.

5. Panicking about whether to wear sneakers or flip flops on a first date

So sneakers or flip flops?/ I’m starting to panic”
-”Remember to Breathe”

Dude, you are going on a date with a human girl, not Perez Hilton. Do you think she is gonna give a fuck about your footwear? Do you think she’s going to say, “He was such a gentleman, but did you see those Rainbow sandals?” You’re Chris Carrabba, man. Break out the fucking guitar and she’ll be holding your tattoo-sleeved arm in no time.

4. Leaving someone a love note in a book that they may or may not finish reading

I've hidden a note,/ it's pressed between pages that you've marked to find your way back/ It says, ‘Does he ever get the girl?’”
-”This Ruined Puzzle”

Carrabba simplifies the plot of every book ever written in this gem, and then creepily leaves it inside the book his love interest is reading. But then again, considering the kinds of girls that Carrabba is likely to date, maybe that is indeed a fair assessment of every single book they read. Fun fact: in high school, I wrote this very same note and stuck it inside a friend’s copy of Atlas Shrugged. Spoiler alert: said friend never found the note. I guess that “the pages stay pressed, the chapters unfinished, the story’s too dull to unfold” after all, Ayn Rand.

3. Being so incredibly upset that you just HAVE to use perfect grammar to express yourself

“So clear/ Like the diamond in your ring/ Cut to mirror your intentions/ Oversized and overwhelmed/ The shine of which has caught my eye”

Chris, I know you’re hurting, man. Here’s a woman WITH WHOM you’ve previously had sexual encounters. And then who the hell is this guy? This new guy TO WHOM she’s become engaged? “Ender Will Save Us All,” but let’s not allow that ender to be a preposition, for the love of god.

2. Constantly making reference to the fact that things are so “cold” despite being in Southern California

“Pacific Sun, you should have warned us/ it gets so cold here.”
-”Several Ways to Die Trying”

“It’s colder than it ought to be in March”
-”A Plain Morning”

“‘Cause you will be somebody's girl/ And you will keep each other warm/ But tonight I am feeling cold”
-”The Secret’s in the Telling”

Oh, I get it now. It’s like...ironic...right? Because there are all of these beautiful girls in your sunny day, Laguna Beach-soundtracks, but their hearts are all cold inside, right? Right on, dude.

1. Creating a 4-track EP that eloquently recounts how a girl did not notice you at first, then asked you to go to a party with her, then asked you on a date, and then you GOT SOME.

“But for now I'll look so longingly/ Waiting/ For you to want me, for you to need me, for you to notice me”
-”For You To Notice”

“So she says, ‘Everyone's going to the party/ Won't you come if I come with a friend for your friend?’”
-”So Impossible”

“I try on my blue shirt/ She told me she liked it, once/ She wonders what I'll wear/ She knows just what she'll wear/ She always wears blue”
-”Remember to Breathe”

“The words are hushed lets not get busted/ Just lay entwined here, undiscovered/ Safe in here from all the stupid questions/ ‘Hey did you get some?’/ Man, that is so dumb/ Stay quiet, stay near, stay close, they can't hear/ So we can get some”
-”Hands Down”

CHIVALRY IS NOT DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!