Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Is the Pazz & Jop list up yet? How about now? Come on!

The Pitchfork singles list is pretty good, even though all the songs I wrote about are in the bottom half and only one of the joints in my top five made the list ("B.O.B.", dur). If someone wanted to use the Men in Black memory eraser ray to make the entire population of the world forget the existence of "Hey Ya" completely, I'd be cool with that. How did "Ante Up" not make it? Quibble quibble quibble.

Bright Eyes! I think I might like Digital Ash better than I'm Wide Awake, and I don't know what that means. Wait, no, nevermind, I don't. Digital Ash is a Postal Service jack move, which is just fine with me; I love me some Postal Service. The lyrics have a nice specificity; they aren't just about vague poetic platitudes like too many of the lyrics on I'm Wide Awake. I really like Conor's lyrics; they remind me of long, deep conversations, senior year of college, middle of the afternoon, Rachel Henderson's floor, talking about how she was just going to move to the middle of nowhere after college, how I was going to move back to Baltimore. "Arc of Time (Time Code)" (god, his song titles suck) has this nice little quasi-African lilt to it. But he doesn't have the voice for straight-up synthpop. At all. This will all be in my track review for "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" (see what I mean?), but one of the great things about the Postal Service record was the way Ben Gibbard did the Neil Tennant/Bernard Sumner fey monotone coo thing, singing distantly about big emotions. Wheras Conor always sings emotionally about big emotions, with that pay-attention-to-me voice-cracking howl thing. I mean, I like that, but he'd really do better to bite NIN with that thing, you know? I'm Wide Awake is pretty much exactly what it sets out to be, his big country-folk record that my mom might like if I buy it for her. I like it. It's nice. Comfort-blanket nice. "Road to Joy" sounded like a terrible idea, but it's one of the best things he's ever done. But he's not the new Bob Dylan, and this record kind of screams "I'm the new Bob Dylan!" He should knock that shit off. He's emo. You know it, I know it. My favorite Bright Eyes album is Fevers and Mirrors because it's the most emo. He's really, really good at emo. (Also, the lyric sheet to I'm Wide Awake is done in one of those fonts that's designed to look like handwriting but isn't. I hate that shit.)

Is Conor Obherst really a year younger than me? And does that mean I'm in my mid-twenties while he's in his early twenties? Jesus. Maybe he should be criticizing me.

The Geto Boys album has those sort of omniregional invincible G-Unit beats, although they aren't quite as good as G-Unit beats. All three members have incredible, beautiful, perfect voices, charisma just dripping off them. They're coasting here, not quite realizing that this album should be a really big deal, Houston on the rise, all eyes on them. There are no big producers, only one guest MC (Z-Ro), none of that creeping-low new Houston sound. (Also, thank God, no crunk.) There's a song where Face awkwardly quotes "Lean Back". There's nasty sex talk, and that's not really what I want to hear from these guys. There's hardass street talk, which is a little more like it. But this album should be amazing. I want to hear Scarface rap about being on top of the world, president of Def Jam South, five-mic album, and then just walking away. I want to hear Willie D rap about being black in Azerbaijan, trying to make money in this alien environment, what's on TV there, what the grocery stores are like. I want to hear Bushwick Bill rapping about getting shitcanned from Memphis radio, trying to find bit parts in shitty movies, talking to Hollywood scumbags who have no idea they're in the presence of a legend. My favorite track on the album is "Leanin on You", the song to God. The beat is a pretty little Kanye bite, and Bill raps about people staring at him because he's different ("Why did God make my brother so tall and me a dwarf?"), trying to kill himself, feeling God looking at him in the hospital. It's devastating. I feel this weird sort of kinship with Bill, coming from the exact opposite end of the height spectrum, so tall that people stare, ask constant questions, tell me they'd dunk on me, whatever. I hate it. I hate walking past someone and then hearing him say something about how tall I am, total strangers telling me I'm wasting a gift from God by not playing basketball, kids asking their fathers if I'm the tallest man in the world. I hate that, and I know Bushwick Bill gets it a lot worse than I do. I feel for him.