Saturday, August 24, 2013

did someone beat the suck out of gavin degraw?

You know Gavin DeGraw.

He doesn't need to be anything other than a prison guard’s son. No matter what he says, he's not over you.

He’s never spotted without a fedora on. If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, he's the King of Modern Snoozy Soft Rock.

And now, after getting the shit beaten out of him in an anti-bore-core hate crime, he's back and ready to rock.

Coming back from a shopping trip with my friend yesterday, we scanned the radio for something decent to listen to. I heard Gavin DeGraw’s latest single, and I told her that this was the only Gavin DeGraw song I liked so far, which was interesting, because his other singles made me desire to gouge my eardrums out.

“Didn’t he like, get the shit beaten out of him?” she asked.

I knew nothing of this, so I ran a quick Google search of “Gavin Degraw beating.” Sure enough, there were plenty of articles chronicling a hate-crime-like incident that occurred about 2 years ago.

The 36-year-old crooner said of the incident, “Somebody said something to me I didn’t like. I let them know I didn’t like it.”

“What do you think they called him?” I asked my friend, assuming it was some sort of homophobic slur or maligning of fedoras.

“Jason Mraz,” said my friend without pausing.

Whatever it was that went down, it has Gavin DeGraw coming back as a new man, ready to cut the soft-rock shit and cut to the core. At this point, he’s basically the male Rihanna.

The lyrics of his new song are caustic and insightful. He hates us almost as much as we hate ourselves: “Night sky full of drones/ This neighborhood of clones/ I’m looking at the crowd and they’re staring at their phones.”

They are not the lyrics of your mom’s Gavin DeGraw: “I read that soda kills you/ And Jesus saves/ On the bathroom wall/ Where I saw you naked.”

They are mildly political in a very vague way: “We’re at war again/ Save the world again/ You can all join in/ But you can’t smoke inside.”

They are trying to prove to the world that he’s wasting away in the same way that you tried to prove to your ex that you were wasting away when you were 13: “I’ve been medicated with cigarettes and alcohol.”

They are the urgently confused lyrics of a man beaten within an inch of his life for being Gavin Degraw: “But I passed the longest sign on the interstate/ Saying, ‘Find someone before it gets too late’/ You’re the best I ever had.”

I don’t want to jinx my newfound appreciation for Mr. DeGraw by trying to listen to any other new tunes (let’s not get ahead of ourselves) but I will say this: there is a phrase that says you shouldn’t beat a dead horse. That phrase doesn’t necessarily apply to pop music.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

new app creates tweets for those too dumb to articulate emotions

PALO ALTO, CA: For 7 years now, Twitter has been reducing our profound notions, political statements, and feelings surrounding Chris Brown to just 140 characters. But for some area men and women, that is just too much.

“How do I say stuff?” said Chad Johnson, 22. When asked to elaborate, he grunted.

This is exactly what software startup, EmotMe, was anticipating.

“This is the 21st century,” Kip Andrews, 25-year-old CEO of the startup, stated in an interview yesterday. “There is just too much out there for people to really know how they feel.” As he retreated farther into his hoodie, he added, “And stuff.”

The app works by scanning relevant emails, Facebook posts, text messages, bank statements, Snapchats, etc. After compiling data from other apps, the app makes an estimation of how the user might be feeling, and since the user is too clueless to be aware of their own emotions, the app is always right.

“In the past month, I’ve lost the house, quit AA, gone through a divorce, and gotten a root canal,” said EmotMe user Shelbi Fry, 32. “I was at a loss for words. EmotMe tweeted, ‘Y does evrything happen so much,’ for me. Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Tom Guilianio, 28, said that he got EmotMe when he was feeling rejected. “Nobody was responding to my Snapchats.” When we inquired about the content of his Snapchats, he winked and said, “Hehh.” 

EmotMe picked up on these feelings of rejection and crafted, “Bitchez just be jealos dey don look as sexy wit dey close off.”

“Man, I never thought of it that way,” said Guilianio. “But now I might even get a tattoo of it!” At the very least, he informed us, he is going to make it his Myspace tagline.

EmotMe will come free with the iPhone 6.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

happy father's day, sad dads

“You could’ve been a legend/ But you became a father/ That’s what you are today/ That’s what you are today.”
-The National, “Slipping Husband”

I’ve met many a Sad Dad in my day. You know the story. The kid is on another coast, the ex-wife is crazy and maybe trying to kill him, and all he wants is to be with the kid, but he can’t be within 100 miles of his ex-wife...

Wait. You don’t know the story? Oh, then you clearly don’t hang out in City of Fairfax bars as much as I do. Good for you.

There’s a saying that goes, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad!” I find this statement to be flawed. Five-year-olds can’t be fathers. I can’t be a father. More than half the population of the world can’t be a father.

If I were in charge of the world, I’d change this saying to, “Any reproductively virile man can be a father, but it takes a real rock star to sing songs about how he’s doing a shitty job at it.” Here are my favorite songs from the point of view of sad, absent fathers.

If you like thinking about punk rock dads as much as I do, then first of all, you should check out this documentary, The Other F Word. Art Alexakis’ appearance in this film especially stands out, because, uhm, his childhood was basically Kite Runner for white people?!

“Annabella’s Song” is your typical Sad Dad anthem. He is never there, and then he expects you to understand! “You know I’m never home/ I’m always miles and miles away...Call you on the telephone/ You will not talk to me/ Yeah you don’t understand/ You are my everything.”

Oh, please. I never had an absent father, but I have listened to “Father of Mine,” so I basically know what it’s all about. Art, your approach to fathering sounds just about as confusing as sending a birthday card with a 5 dollar bill. She never understood you then, and I guess she never will.

What is the best way to start off a song to your toddler daughter to try and prove that you are a loving, devoted, mature father? How about “Yo, I can’t sing but/ I feel like fuckin’ singin’/ I wanna fuckin’ sing”? Yeah, that’ll do the trick.

Do me a favor, Hailie. i know you are a big girl now, but please promise me not to listen to “Kim.” Not even if you are trying to get pumped up before a big volleyball match. Not even if your mom grounds you and is being a total bitch. Okay? Okay.

Arguably the least sad of the Sad Dads, this song is more wistful than anything. He loves his baby girl and doesn’t want her to grow up. And of all the Sad Dads, he is arguably doing the best job. Check out this review Gracie wrote of her dad’s album at age 13. You’re 13, Gracie! You aren’t supposed to like anything, especially your dad!!

First of all, check out how fuckin’ punk rock that 4 year old girl in the video is! If I dressed like that at age 4, man, I really would have had a leg up on the world. But I guess having a real dad, not an absent one who sings in a band and occasionally showers you with gifts from Hot Topic Baby, has its downfalls.

This song is particularly eye-roll inducing for a multitude of reasons. First of all, the title. Second of all, our hero Kris Roe (what a name) begins by dramatically declaring, “I know what it’s like growing up without a father in your life.” With a name like Kris, I can’t help but wonder whether he ever had a father to begin with, or was just immaculately conceived by a valley girl living in a trailer park.

But I digress. If you know what it’s like growing up without a father in your life, and that is such a bad thing, why continue the cycle?
Oh, right. Because you’re in a mildly successful, mediocre punk band. That sounds like a good enough reason.

Roe continues with the heart-wrenching lyrics, “So I’ll pretend, I’m doing all I can/ And hope someday you find it in your heart/ To understand why I’m not around/ And forgive me for not being in your life.”

Oh, Kris Roe. Don’t you know that the first step to pretending that you care is not to tell everyone that you’re pretending? That’s the first rule of Absent Father’s Club.
But it looks like you have the second rule down: Make empty promises. The song ends with Roe assuring his daughter, “I will make it up to you.”

So, my dear absent dads, while you are alone punishing a 12-pack of Coors Light tonight, maybe pick up that old guitar and write a heavy-handed song for that daughter of yours that never wants to see you again. It won’t make her any less mad at you, but it might make you some money.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the lesser-known call me maybes

From what I understand, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was some sort of bizarre cultural phenomenon. Our zeitgeist, if you will. No song, up until that point, had truly captured the ballsy essence of exchanging your telephone number with a stranger. And from it sprung tribute videos. Sing-along videos. Videos that reminded me that I wouldn’t fit in with Katy Perry’s group of friends.

But I’d beg to differ that it’s one-of-a-kind. I think that there are other great digit-getting tunes, just with much narrower audiences.

For the White Trash

Most songs about getting someone’s digits take place somewhere exotic and sexy like a club or a bar. But that’s just not real life. Where does this particular ballad take place? The unemployment line.

Did you major in Social Work? Then this song is not for you!

Our heroine, in an (extremely long) answering machine message to her bff Peggy, tells us the story of waiting in line for her “loser of a case worker,” when a total stranger (played by Art Alexakis) walks in and showers her with flattery she’s never received before.

His compliments are certainly unique: “Those blond streaks, they look so pretty in your black hair/You look cool and alternative with that disaffected stare.” Yes. Unemployment is cool.

His promises go far. A bit too far: “Hey you can be with me/Yeah 'cause I just might be the one/Who will treat you like you're perfect/Who will always make you come.”

If I were her, I’d be thinking, whoa there, guy in the unemployment line, I know we are both in the unemployment line right now, but my cousin’s a lawyer, and I hear that sexual harassment lawsuits can really pay off...

But Art doesn’t stop there! “This is gonna sound a little bit out there/This is gonna sound a little insane/I keep having the same dream/You will be the mother of my children someday.”

O_o. But how does our heroine sum it up to Peggy in her phone message? “Can you believe he said that to me? To me, of all people! I can't even remember the last time a guy took me out on a date and actually paid for it!”

Goddammit, Rhonda, if you weren’t trying to go to Red Lobster all the time, maybe I could afford it!

For the LGBT and Angst-ridden

Ugh. How much emotional attachment can you really assign to giving a stranger your telephone number? You just order them a drink at Escafe--but be careful about gender norms--not something too girly, not something too manly, maybe a whiskey sour? And then you take out your eyeliner--but do you really want to be perceived as the kind of person who wears eyeliner? Or a pen, go with a pen, if you have one. And then you write your number on the napkin wrapping their drink before you hand it to them. But be careful to put little dots between the groups of digits, not dashes, dashes are heteronormative...

I mean, I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to Escafe.

But the Quins make the whole number exchange process personal. Very personal. Crucial. A matter of life and death.

“If I gave you my number/Would it still be the same/If I saved you from drowning/Promise me you'll never go away.”

Whoa. Maybe save all of that nonsense for the second date. Beyond that, we get some kind of weird symbolism that I don’t get. I don’t even think they do. It kind of reminds me of my poetry journal from junior year of high school. EVERYTHING represents EVERYTHING, duh!

“Closed down the last local zoo/I'm gonna win the endless war/Over who kills the last koala bear/And who in death will love him more...”

Blah. Koalas are mean, anyways.

For the Manic Depressive

Michael Angelakos begins as he usually does, for better or worse, by defining his emotional state. As usual, he’s feeling fragile: “I've always felt so scared of all this needing/Everyone that I've met has been somewhat mistreated/That's how it feels when you know that something's wrong.”

Waah. But then! A trite simile! “Then you came along like a swan off of the lake/You flew across my eyes and out into space.”

What to do with this new person?! Time for important decisions! “If there's just one thing you got to remember/Is to write down your name and your phone number/That way I'll have it and we'll make something out of this mess.”

“This mess” is usually how I refer to meeting potential future mates. But hey, ladies, you gotta give it to him. At least he’s being honest.

Things quickly proceed from casual to out of hand as we enter the chorus. It had to happen sometime. “Have you seen me cry/Tears like diamonds/Down and down they fly...”

Oh god. Settle down. You just MET this person. You’re not crying. Who’s crying? Am I crying? Do you see me crying? DO YOU SEE ME FUCKING CRYING?

Oh, and here is the only relevant video regarding “Call Me Maybe.” You’re welcome.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

the 7 deadly sins of relient k

7. Thou Shalt Not Fake Your Own Suicide

It might seem like the only option right now, Matt Thiessen, but faking your own suicide is never the answer.

While the book of Leviticus does not specifically prohibit faking your own suicide, I’m pretty sure that doing so is almost as bad as having relations with a menstruating woman (which it does specifically prohibit). In an interview with Jesus Freak Hideout (Really.), Thiessen mentions that at first, his bandmate’s mom was concerned that the song was too controversial. But ultimately, they decided, whatever, Christian rock fans are cool, they’ll understand.

Just, why.

Because you’ll lose it in the lake beneath the Batman ride, duh! Wasn’t that worth writing a song about?!

As a wise friend of mine once stated upon watching a youth group attempt to steal a street sign, “Poor Christian kids. They are so confused about how to have fun.”

As anyone can tell you, Matt Thiessen dated an Atlanta alternative rock DJ (does dating the guy from a “Christian Punk” band improve your cred or remove it entirely?) and then proposed to her and then cheated on her and then got dumped by her and then wrote an entire album about her. Duh. It’s common knowledge.

On this track, Thiessen really extended his hardcore reach by calling upon his friend from Underoath (Really. Underoath.) to help him capture just how raw and screamo the whole ordeal was. The desert imagery starts off strong with mention of “dying of thirst” and “chalk on his tongue.” Man. Who knew saving it for marriage could be so...dry?!

As a UVA alum, this one cuts deep. There is no book in the world upon which I’d wish this fate. Not even my books for Death and Dying. Or Slavic Folklore.

I’m pretty sure you’d be better off getting like seven abortions.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

my least favorite facebook friends

We all want to defriend you, but we also know that Facebook is the only real thing you have left.

I'd tell you that I was worried that you may be giving Cynthia a complex, but let's be real here. Cynthia can't read.

You are the Facebook friend who cried wolf. When your mom dies, don’t expect anyone to notice.

There are best friends, and then there are the people you are supposed to marry. “Marrying my best friend” makes it sound like you are approaching 30 and therefore going through with the pact you made with your gay friend in middle school, stating that if you were both single when you were 30, you’d get married. If THAT is the case, then congrats actually, and I bet those honeymoon pics will be fab.

Yeah, you do.

Jessie can probably kick your ass.

Sorry, world.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 reasons that it’s okay you’re single on valentine’s day (via 90’s songs)

Weezer - “No One Else”

Rivers Cuomo, the Don Juan of the 90’s, and clearly an enlightened member of Feminism Is For Everyone, proclaims: “I want a girl who will laugh for no one else/ When I'm away she puts her makeup on the shelf/ When I'm away she never leaves the house/ I want a girl who laughs for no one else.” Nice.

What happens to girls who date Rivers Cuomo? Well, in one relevant case study, they were driven to insanity and then dumped Rivers Cuomo. Next, they started dating Elliott Smith, expressing their newly instated hatred of men by stabbing him to death. Oh, they say he killed himself? Riiiiiiiiight.

Tracy Chapman - “Fast Car”

The song starts off as an idealistic tune about working-class people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. The chorus evokes a surreal, I-feel-so-alive feeling before everything goes awry.

But oh, how it goes awry. And not in some kind of sexy, drugged-out way. Things go awry in the falling-out of-love, that’s-just-life, my-mom-and-dad-probably-loved-each-other-once kind of way.

Says Chapman at the end of the nearly 5-minute saga: “You got a fast car/ And I got a job that pays all our bills/ You stay out drinking late at the bar/ See more of your friends than you do of your kids...So take your fast car and keep on driving."

All I can say is all Eminem could say at the end of “Stan”: DAMN.

Third Eye Blind - “Losing A Whole Year”

So, you’re Vanessa Carlton. You’ve done the whole anorexic ballerina thing, you went to Columbia and majored in English and bisexuality, you made a song that was perfect for Kay Jewelers commercials and then decided to take a turn for the Alanis on your next few now what? What is a girl to do when she’s done it all in life?

You do Stephan Jenkins.

I understand that the timeline is completely off here, but I like to think that Stephan Jenkins traveled back in time after dating Vanessa Carlton just to write “Losing A Whole Year.” Who knows, maybe the song title is meant to be taken literally once you account for travel time.

It’s a song about a poor little rich girl who wants to meet a dark, tortured soul (and as I am writing this I am realizing that I am simultaneously writing a summary of 50 Shades of Grey.)

“Rich daddy left you with a parachute/ Your voice sounds like money and your face is cute/ But your daddy left you with no love/ Now you touch everything with a velvet glove.”

Ugh. Always with the daddy issues. Am I the only girl whose father ever loved her? In the 90’s, maybe the answer is yes.

Jenkins continues: “Now you wanna try your life of sin/ You wanna be down with the down and in/ Always copping my truths/ I kinda get the feeling like I’m being used.”

Get used to it, Stephan. Girls are going to seek you out as a member of the “down and in” for the brief remainder of your life.

American Hi-Fi - “Flavor of the Weak”

The song opens with strong imagery: “She paints her nails and she don't know/ He's got her best friend on the phone.” Oh SHIT. This guy has clearly never heard of GIRL CODE. But it only gets worse.

The only thing he gives to her: His dirty clothes

His political views: Too stoned

His hobbies: Nintendo

His interior decorations: Posters of all the girls he wished she was and pictures of all the girls he loved before

I would say that she should get back at him by dating HIS best friend, but let’s be real here, we can all infer that his best friend is probably just as worthless.

The Offspring - Entire discography

This band really shows the true meaning of what it is to be in a relation-SHIT (pardon the Dane Cook reference. I had to.)

Whether you are begging your significant other to get off their ass and get a job (“Why Don’t You Get A Job”), wishing your girl hadn’t had seven shots of Jager and hooked up with another guy (“Spare Me The Details”), enduring a girl who moans about abandonment issues on the second date (“She’s Got Issues”), having a girl blow you off mercilessly only to take her back and make her dessert (“Self Esteem”), or raising kids while your babydaddy is out trying to tap every girl he knows (“Hit That”), The Offspring covers it all.

So, go listen to The Offspring on Spotify, and forget about your sad plight as a single person. You don’t need anyone. You do you.

Maybe listen to a little Tweet while you’re at it, too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

impotent male anger: women, objectification, and ass-kicking

Okay, so maybe chivalry is dead. But if it is in fact dead, not-so-gentle-men, I should hope that your dumbass notion of “fighting for your girl” is dead, too.

Boys, in the clever words of the lovely (and in fact, gay?!) 1960’s pop star Leslie Gore, YOU DON'T OWN US. So stop trying to throw down with other dudes over us as if you do.

Now, I'd be lying if I said that the idea of a guy getting all fired up and bloody isn't a tad swoon-worthy. In theory. But in practice, when you really think about the psychology behind it, it's pretty fucked up. The idea that your fists can win our affection is just so Chris Brown. Additionally, many of us are not huge fans of face-mangling. Most girls would not agree with Robin Scherbatsky's mantra of "If you're missing your teeth, I'm missing my pants." Especially not me.

I like to think that in our modern age, it is no longer acceptable to view women as your property you's a-tryin to proteck wif yer second amenment rights. I can think of many reasons why throwing punches over a girl is sexist, irrational, and just a plain bad idea.

Take Summer’s reaction in (500) Days of Summer to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character punching another dude as an example. JGL claims to be “defending her honor.” (Whatever.) But if you look closely, his rage is actually fueled by a DB who keeps repeating “I can’t believe that guy is your boyfriend.” So, in fact, he is just trying to defend his own honor. And this ultimately becomes a turning point in their relationship (for the worse).

Although it is my Good Luck Beer Pong Anthem and I have played it 101 times on iTunes alone, I would be remiss not to mention Eve 6’s “Think Twice” in this rant. In the chorus, Max Collins simply threatens in Meathead that if another dude comes near his girlfriend, they’ll be sorry: “Think twice before you touch my girl/ Come around I’ll let you feel the burn.” Oooh, I’m scared. Are you really gonna let me “feel the burn,” ginger?

I think the perfect music video to this absurd proclamation (instead of the real video of him hitting himself in the face) would be clips from the Eric Visits Again episode of Undeclared. Jason Segel’s character has just learned that his girlfriend cheated on him, and he is on a ridiculous, psychotic man-hunt to find the kid she did it with and “beat him up so bad.” Unlike Eve 6, this scene does not take itself seriously. Boys, when you make comments about messing up other dudes, that scene shows how comically insane you look.

Worse yet than Eve 6’s little display of raw male emotion is the entire musical career of the band Stroke 9. The band had two singles: “Kick Some Ass” and “Little Black Backpack.” The former declares: “If you put your hands upon her, you’re a goner.” The latter claims, “Don’t wanna tango with you, I’d rather tangle with him/ I think I’m gonna bash his head in.” There was an important lesson to be learned on that day in 2002. A band cannot build their career on the dreams of ass-kicking alone. Stroke 9 learned this lesson the hard way. Have you ever even heard of Stroke 9?

Of course, there are situations where an ass-whopping is in order, but they don’t come up as frequently as one might think. On the OC, Ryan Atwood rightfully chooses to FUCK Trey (his brother) UP when he learns that, while on drugs, Trey attempted to rape Marissa (his girlfriend).

Even under these extreme circumstances, we soon realize that throwing punches might have been the wrong choice, especially since Trey just got out of prison and what not. Beefed up from fighting his prison bitches, Trey is soon dominating at this fight to the death. And then out of nowhere, Marissa shoots Trey in the back and all of a sudden Imogen Heap starts playing.

Deserved as it might have been, if Ryan had been able to restrain himself, he might not have put Marissa in that compromising of a situation. And if he hadn’t put her in that compromising of a situation, then maybe she wouldn’t have freaked out and thrown her laptop across the room while she was trying to explain her felony on her college applications. Which was quite enjoyable to watch. So yeah, I guess he did the right thing after all.

So in sum, boys, when it comes to “fighting over a girl,” violence is never the answer. Worse than the violence itself is your backward notion of “having a girl” that it represents. BTW, did you know that you’re also not getting a dowry when you finally find some unsuspecting nit-wit of a girl to marry you? Big bummer, right?