I first saw this video on MTV in the late 1980s. It challenged me – this was pop music? This was a ska song about something more…
1918 – 2013
Rest In Peace
Holy heck, I dig this. That guy has a phenomenal voice, and this interpretation is fantastic.
JEZEBEL’s Laura Beck says Puddles is “Creepy” but I don’t see it that way. And I’m no real fan of clowns. There’s something strange, yes, about the whole scenario, but it’s not even Rasputina weird. It’s just kind of off kilter, and I like it.
And here’s his own homepage : Puddles Pity Pary.
(Don’t forget, you can buy the mp3 of that performance on iTunes.)
A little harder this time, but based on the poll (still up ’til the end of November 2013) over at Slicing Up Eyeballs, here’s my Top 10 Albums of 1989:
Energy – Operation Ivy
The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste – Ministry
The Real Thing – Faith No More
Disintegration – The Cure
Allroy’s Revenge – ALL
Mother’s Milk – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Doolittle – Pixies
Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys
Pretty Hate Machine – Nine Inch Nails
It was hard to decide on this one, but there are several runners-up:
Pure – Primitives
Peace and Love – The Pogues
3 Feet High and Rising – De La Soul
Start Today – Gorilla Biscuits
Rabies – Skinny Puppy
UAIOE – KMFDM
Bleach – Nirvana
“Lorelei” alone puts Peace and Love on this list, though the rest of the album (often without Shane’s vocals) doesn’t quite make the grade. It’s too bad it took Gorilla Biscuits this long to get their act together. Hardcore like this was pretty much done by the end of the 90s, and Start Today is polished in a way the older songs weren’t, but lacks some of their punch and gusto. Rabies has some excellent songs, among them one of my favorites, “Tin Omen.” But the album as a whole is tainted by Uncle Al (Jourgenson, of Ministry) sinking his fingers into everything in this genre at this time. Bleach would usually make the list, but what it came down to is this: though I hardly ever listen to it, I can tell immediately that Paul’s Boutique is a better album than Nirvana’s freshman effort.
This is the first list, since I started doing this, where I own all the albums in the actual top 10 list.
I’m not feeling this one as much as the previous, but there’s some interesting stuff going on here.
On the “WTF? Hrm.” tip: Verónica Bayetti Flores at Feministing.com writes that the song “Royals” by Lorde is “racist” because of the type of wealth it opposes and protests against – the type that shows up most conspicuously in rap and Hip-Hop music and videos.
Ms. Flores goes on to say,
“While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist. Because we all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers? Why aren’t we critiquing wealth by taking hits at golf or polo or Central Park East? Why not take to task the bankers and old-money folks who actually have a hand in perpetuating and increasing wealth inequality”
There’s a certain myopia here that may be more troubling and more problematic than the Lorde song. The person who seems to be most caught on this “stereotypical portrayal of black artists” appears to be Ms. Flores herself.
Nowhere does she seem to even consider that these lyrics are also a critique of artists like Justin Bieber, Mylie Cyrus, Ke$ha, Far East Movement, and others who appropriate the rap and Hip-Hop “scene” in their lyrics (many written by producers like Pharrell, Timbaland, etc.) and videos. I’d also hazard that it’s a critique not only of the music/lyrics in question, but of her teenaged peers’ fascination with these artists and their outrageously unrealistic portrayals of wealth and fame. And finally, perhaps there’s also just a plain old honest criticism of pop radio and the hooks and tropes recycled again and again by the same handful of producers (Will.I.Am, Pharrell, and friends) who have milked their talent for each and every ounce it is worth. When “EVERY song is like…” a collection of impossible to attain irresponsible over-the-top hotel trashing insanity, being middle class and not that into “being told to throw my hands up in the air” (from her other song “Team”) is a legitimate statement to make, and it’s a call-out, throw-down move to make the statement several times on one record – very much in keeping with the same kind of call-outs often heard on Hip-Hop joints.
How many songs by not only Flo Rida, BEP, Ne-Yo, Beyonce, and Taio Cruz but also by Ke$ha, Mylie Cyrus, Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Nellie Furtado, and Cypress Hill call out for their listeners to “throw your hands up”? It’s legitimate to react against this music, and it’s legitimate to do so in musical form. Plenty of rock music (especially punk and metal) critiques the very things Ms. Flores mentions – bankers, polo, golf, and that sort of thing – but those songs are young voices critiquing adulthood and upper-middle-class notions of “success,” contrasted sharply against the supposed sincerity and authenticity of youth and rebellion. They’re also lyrics from the 70s and 80s, mostly. Today’s youth have a different set of examples to rail against when critiquing irresponsible attitudes toward wealth, and pop music is full of those attitudes, no matter who is singing the songs – but one type of music sung by people of many backgrounds glorifies it in particular.
Finally – who does Ms. Flores think these “Royals” might be? It’s just as legitimate to say that the song is about the TV-magazine-newspaper hype surrounding William and Kate and baby George of England (New Zealand being part of the Commonwealth and all) but at the same time deftly comparing the literal royals with the “kings and queens” of pop radio.
For another take on the issue, check out this article by Consequence of Sound.
Childish Gambino (Donald Glover, of Community fame) has a new album. The first tune is pretty dance-friendly and catchy, for sure. The song dropped on my birthday, Oct. 22, so it’s barely a week old.
Check out “3005″ on Hype Machine
Coverage of the release of the new album (titled because of the internet) from HitFix says to expect the whole record on December 10.
And if you can’t wait that long, read the Childish Gambino blog.
I missed voting on this one again, but here’s what Slicing Up Eyeballs wound up with as best of 1987.
Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses
Joshua Tree – U2
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me – The Cure
Floodland – Sisters of Mercy
Kick – INXS
Document – R.E.M.
The Lion and the Cobra – Sinead O’Connor
Cleanse Fold Manipulate – Skinny Puppy
ALL – Descendents
Bucky Fellini – Dead Milkmen
If I had to pick a top 5 – GNR, Sinead, SP, ALL, Cure
Some Kind of Wonderful Soundtrack (I actually listen to this, still, more than any one of the above albums)
That Total Age – Nitzer Ebb
Songs About Fucking – Big Black (not because I listen to it that much… because it exists.)
Surprised myself by including the INXS album on this list, but there are so many good songs on that record and the fact that they were popular in the mainstream is weird and cool. Add to that senior dances to “Never Tear Us Apart” and projects based on “Mediate” and the like… I dig some INXS. (Hutchence R.I.P.)
Lots of other good tunes and such, but not so many whole albums. I could listen to any of the above albums start to finish, though, and sing along with most of the tunes, never wanting to switch to something else.
SPIN Magazine has 2 interesting articles:
Danny Carey says there’s a slim chance of a new TOOL album before Xmas, but more likely it’ll come out early 2014.
But to tide us over, there’s the first new track from A Perfect Circle in nearly 10 years.