Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hey, I wrote some more stuff! Here's my Village Voice review of Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak, and here's my Pitchfork review of the Gaslight Anthem's The '59 Sound. Hey, that's two of my year-end top ten right there! Now I'm going to go drive for a very, very long time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This has to be a joke, right? I hope not. Poly Sci was a pretty good album.

I've got more new shit out there: me on Lil Wayne, me on Statik Selektah. Seriously. Freelancing means you need to listen to Statik Selektah albums. And I liked the Statik record way better. Wonders never cease.

Also, the Pitchfork book, The Pitchfork 500, is out now. I've got a whole lot of stuff in there, and so do a lot of other good writers. Just about everyone associated brought their A-game, and I'm embarrassed by how many of these songs I didn't even know. I'm kind of making a project out of downloading all the songs I can find and listening to them while reading the book. I suggest you do the same.

Anyway. Thoughts on the American Music Awards:

-Hey! These things are still on!

-Watching this Christina Aguilera medley is like listening to the iTunes song samples of her greatest-hits album. Like, what the hell's the point? Everyone knows you did these songs, and you can't commit to a song if you only do like 45 seconds of it. She looked old as hell doing "Genie in a Bottle." Britney might've lost, but at least she can sing "Baby One More Time" without looking like she hates herself. And doing "Dirrty" without Redman strikes me as a major dick-move for some reason. Goofy-ass choreography, too. At least she didn't do "Candyman." I really hate "Candyman."

-I keep trying to like Jimmy Kimmel, and it never takes. There's the Bill Simmons association, and there's "I'm Fucking Matt Damon," but still, no. Can't do it. Don't like him. Motherfucker is just corny, and he always acts like he's too cool for whatever he's doing. I'm done trying.

-Jamie Foxx: Still drunk! Or is he just like that?

-New Kids on the Block: Just grisly. I really hope this reunion works out, if only because watching grown men in expensive suits do synchronized boy-band dances will never, ever get old. Best part: Gnarled-ass Donnie Wahlberg and his fauxhawk. They're still making Saw sequels, Donnie! You don't have to do this!

-Pretty sure Scott Weiland tried to sell me a used Xbox out of a backpack last week.

-Stop being quasi-respectable, Pink! If you're going to have a string-section onstage, you at least need to snatch away someone's violin and smash it. This is not the Grammys; nobody will mind. ("Sober" is a good song.)

-You know who Taylor Swift reminds me of on "White Horse"? Motherfucking Fevers & Mirrors-era Bright Eyes. It's all in the squinty slow-burn quaver. And that's a compliment, if you couldn't tell. I also love the soap-opera aspect of her doing this while the Jonas Brothers watch.

-How long do you think it'll be before Ne-Yo makes his Broadway debut? Five years? Ten? He is ready! (That's kind of a compliment, too, weirdly enough.)

-I have nice things to say about the new Nickelback album. I am serious.

-This Leona Lewis song is pretty boring, but have you heard her cover of Snow Patrol's "Run"? Oh my god. Killed it. She should just sing "Bleeding Love" and sappy alt-rock anthems and nothing else. I would pay at least five dollars to hear what she could do with "Everybody Hurts."

-So, uh, this new Miley Cyrus song kind of kicks ass? Look, I just call it like I see it. Whoever that is singing background on the chorus is my new favorite person. Also: This is her sixteenth birthday, and she looks and sounds at least twice as old. Ridiculously elaborate stage-show, too, like some HBO Michael Jackson Budapest show shit.

-David Arculeta lost! I should not be subjected to his shitty little face anymore.

-Hey, Coldplay! Is it weird that I find their "Lost!" video kind of moving? I should probably stop admitting to stuff like this, huh? I hope they're not serious about breaking up next year. They are really good at being on TV. I'm even starting to like their stupid colored armbands.

-Alicia Keys is way, way too old to try pulling off a fucking bindi. That's first album shit, and it's lame even then.

-Hey, it's RZA and Rae! There for no reason at all! Sitting there while Jimmy Kimmel makes terrible jokes! Hopefully Rae is apologizing for hating on 8 Diagrams during the commercial breaks.

-Man, I just can't look at Terrence Howard anymore. I don't know when that guy went to cheeseball hell, but he's there now.

-Is Mariah Carey's sham marriage preventing Drumline 2 from happening? Because that's just not something I can accept. (Mariah Carey: Still boring. I tried.)

-Everyone who wins (Rihanna especially) seems totally bored and unimpressed except for Taylor Swift. I can't tell if that makes Taylor Swift lame or everyone else lame.

-The Fray is still a thing, huh? They weren't always this mumbley, were they? I didn't hate their first couple of songs, but I can't even make it through one chorus of this. Fast-forward.

-Kanye giving someone else his award doesn't have quite the same effect when that person isn't there. Still a nice gesture, and it's not the first time he's done that. People never seem to notice that when they talk about his tantrums.

-Beyonce should not feel the need to actually sing while doing "Single Ladies." The dance is enough, really. We're good. That song is great, and The-Dream wrote it, which puts a little hitch in my fuck-that-guy policy. But yeah, still, fuck that guy.

-Jonas Brothers get Klaxons lasers? What?

-The Pussycat Dolls: still funny! Nothing I could write here would do justice to the way the backing Dolls pretend to have conversations with each other while Nicole's singing. I still blame them for Veronica Mars ending.

-I am definitely fast-forwarding through all this Annie Lennox stuff. I don't even hate her. I'm just supposed to be unemployed now, is all. That means I don't have to watch this stuff if I don't feel like it. I'm not getting paid to do this. I could be reading comic books right now. Or watching whatever's next. This one's for free.

-Oh wow, whatever's next is Natasha Bedingfield? Jesus, why did I decide to spend my not-working Monday watching this shit? I have laundry to do. Fuck this. "Unwritten" is a good song and all, but I can't think of one good reason for her to be singing it right now.

-OK. Rihanna with an eyepatch and Road Warriors spikes. This I can deal with. She's singing "Rehab," which begs the question: Why is Justin Timberlake in the "Rehab" video? I mean, I know why he's in it, but he sings like two lines in the entire song. It's gratuitous even for pop music.

-Kanye: Battlezone graphics, a couple of human-statue chicks, clothes that somebody could conceivably wear on the street. This counts as a low-key awards-show performance for him. Also: 808s & Heartbreak is the 8th-best album of 2008, by my count. Review in this week's Voice.

-Sarah McLachlan: Yeah. No. I did not survive the 90s to watch more Sarah McLachlan. Good job on keeping dogs from getting killed, though, Sarah McLachlan.

-If Joe Perry had a severe makeover, he'd look just like the Punisher. This is not enough to make me like Joe Perry.

-Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, and some opera chick? Didn't everyone involved have enough sense to know what a clusterfuck this would be? Seeing Latifah rap now is weirder than seeing Will Smith rap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Imagine how my nerves feel.

This video is just incredible. Like, "Ruff Ryders Anthem" meets the first ten minutes of the Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead remake, except with more dry ice and a part where people chase emus. Cathartic. I'd probably write a ton of shit about this if I wasn't freelance-grinding, but this guy already did, so fuck it. (Good to see So Many Shrimp back in business.)

This is probably going to turn into one of those blogs where I just post links to shit I wrote. Like this: Me on Illa J. Or this: me on Taylor Swift.

Friday, November 14, 2008

AC/DC last night: Oh my god. Review up here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Notes on this year's CMAs (because old habits are hard to break):

-No Obama jokes! That's a good thing, I think.

-Holy shit, the dueling guitar solo is totally back. Thank you, video games. The Tad Kuebler/Mike Cooley moments at the Hold Steady/Drive-By Truckers show last week were a big highlight, and the Brad Paisley/Keith Urban opener here was way better than anything either one of those guys could do by themselves. (Both of them do solo songs later, and both of them prove me right.) Country keeps absorbing these old-school hard-rock tropes, huh? Like, it's pretty much impossible to imagine a Nickelback/Hinder guitar duel. Just wouldn't happen.

-Four amazing songs and some George Strait piece of shit are up for Single of the Year, so of course George Strait wins. That guy is a great argument against respecting your elders.

-Alan Jackson is suddenly everyone's embarrassing uncle. That "Good Time" song is the boringest dance-jam in the history of dance-jams. Half the time he was onstage, I was like, "At least he doesn't have all those line-dancing buffoons from the video," but then all of them showed up.

-Miley Cyrus looks like she's at least fifty now. Someone needs to get her off the goddam tanning bed.

-Introducing Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood made this big deal about how she's doing a ballad at this show for the first time after three straight years doing these blood-and-thunder songs. But really, "More Like Her" is way colder than any of those older songs. She stares daggers even when she's making nice. (Bassist mohawk: Still there! Even though he was playing a standup bass this time.)

-This Lady Antebellum song just rules, but their guitarist pigtails are no Miranda Lambert bassist mohawk. Sorry, Lady Antebellum.

-There is such a thing as too much poise, Martina McBride.

-Rodney Atkins is basically the Joe the Plumber of this shit. Hey Rodney Atkins, your whole trucker-hat everydude schtick is now irrelevant! If you're not going to sing more songs like "If You're Going Through Hell," please shut up. (This song is still pretty OK, though.)

-The Rascal Flatts guy's flowery blazer is some new apex of corny. Congratulations, Rascal Flatts, guy. I really didn't think you could break any new ground in coriness, but you did it. Again. Next year, you're going to have to perform alongside a dancing chimpanzee or something,

-Taylor Swift is kinda the elephant in the room here, huh? She gets bigger cheers than anyone else, she sings "Love Story" on an absurdly goofy costume-drama set, Kellie Pickler does the ridiculously good "Best Years of Your Life," which Taylor wrote. I can just imagine how many people in that room must hate her so hard, given that she's destined to be a bigger star than any of them, unless she already is.

-Why was Lil Wayne pretending to be a part of Kid Rock's band? And not rapping his horrible guest-verse from the VMAs? And not being mentioned by name, by anyone, all night? That was just incredibly weird. Maybe the producers didn't think he'd really show up? But he looked like he was having fun, and he didn't push his ubiquity down our throats any harder than he's always doing these days, so that's something, I guess. (Still not sick of "All Summer Long.")

-Really enjoying this totally awkward Carrie Underwood/Braid Paisley host-chemistry.

-Is it even worthwhile to have an opinion about George Strait? He's just kind of there, just like he's always been, just like he'll always be. (Also: Brooks & Dunn, who at least have a couple of serious jams to their credit.)

-I had beers with Jason Aldean once. He smokes Winston Ultra-Lights, and he has the worst goatee in the world. I like that guy.

-Sugarland needs to keep stealing that Vocal Duo award from Brooks & Dunn. It's only right.

-How the hell am I rooting for Hootie these days? Dude was the bane of my existence in high school. Now he's this unlikely Obama-presaging country-music success story, the first black dude to top country charts since Charley Pride, and I'm completely on his side. Maybe it's because "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" is the first song of his I've halfway enjoyed since "Hold My Hand," which I think I liked for about a week.

-Jesus Christ, there is no sympathy-grabbing pyrotechnic trick too hackneyed and shameless for Nashville. Am I the only one who would've liked Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream" so much better without the soldier's widow introducing her?

-Wow, Sugarland really know what they're doing. The goosebump-moment is just basically where they live these days.

-James Otto sucks so bad. Fuck that guy. Dumbest song ever. Good thing I'm not getting paid for writing this and I can fast forward past his goofy ass.

-Kenny Chesney! Halfassed cruise-ship reggae experiment! Thatched-roof hut onstage! Backed by the Wailers! "Three Little Birds" interpolation! Really, really, disastrously bad look! Not very irie, Kenny Chesney!

-Trace Adkins can show up to every awards-show from now until the end of time as far as I'm concerned, as long as he only sings "You're Gonna Miss This." He can even show up to the Republican Convention, I don't give a fuck. Just keep singing "You're Gonna Miss This." That song destroys.

-Aww, Brad Paisley kisses his wife's pregnant belly when he goes up to win Male Vocalist. I have to remember to steal that if I win any awards in the next five and a half months.

-Kill yourselves, lameass boring decrepit Eagles! Fast-forward!

-Shania Twain: not dead yet! If country types knew what was good for them, they'd hand out Entertainer of the Year to Taylor Swift or Sugarland or one of the other women who are going to be keeping their light bills paid for the next ten years instead of giving it to baldheaded elf Kenny Chesney for the millionth time. You should not be able to pull that Wailers bullshit without facing some sort of consequences.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Motherfucking Wallace Shawn is on Gossip Girl, so things are looking up, huh?