Monday, June 27, 2005

The only really interesting thing about this Transplants/Paul Wall situation isn't that it'll be the first time a rock album is legally screwed and chopped (whatever). It's this: when was the last time a rapper who collaborated with a rock group was way, way dorkier than that rock group? Look at those pictures on HoustonSoReal and tell me Paul doesn't look like he's about to get his head stuffed in a toilet. The first Transplants album was the sort of thing that succeeds almost on concept alone - it had this weird ambitious blustery awkwardness, like "Hey, what if we tried this?" The new one is good and all, but it doesn't have that sense of people trying out ideas that just occurred to them last night when they were drunk. It's not lazy, exactly; there's still Latin pianos and swing-revival horns and greasy soul organs coming in out of nowhere. But you can tell that they've been getting paid off L'Oreal commercials for the past three years, and they know there's a market for crusty California mallpunk with dumb rapping on it. They've gotten away with it, and now they can just do it again. The other thing is that Skinhead Rob is just such a garbage rapper, and it's harder and harder to find his whole thing endearing - and now he's talking about pimping? When did this happen? When Son Doobie showed up on the last album, just eating the mic and cackling at the end, it was like: wow, I wish they'd get more real rappers on this. And now they have more real rappers on this, but all the real rappers are total garbage as well. (I still love it whenever Tim Armstrong's voice is in the mix.)

Land of the Dead is a great, fun summer movie. It has a few great jump moments more an action movie set in Romero's zombie universe than an actual horror movie. The political allegory stuff is surprisingly not bullshit, and the sympathetic zombies are less hokey than you could ever imagine. But it doesn't have the scuzzy no-budget grainy immediacy that all the other Romero zombie movies have. It has a normal hackneyed orchestral score instead of terrifying synth noise, and the actors aren't lantern-jawed no-names with sideburns that you never hear from again. It just looks like a normal mid-budget Hollywood movie. I guess I should've been ready for that, but I still felt a little bit let down. (It's still the best movie I've seen this year other than Batman Begins.)