0 Comments · Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Carly Rae Jespen, Train and Madonna protest the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy, America still gets worked up over "pelvic thrusts" on TV and TMZ gets much of recent Lil Wayne story dead wrong.
by Deirdre Kaye
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 11:33 AM | Permalink
What "Pop music" has become … and why it makes for a delicious snack
You know what I like? Pop music. Some of you may be judging me right now and, for that, I’m judging you in return. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to dislike Pop.Of course, I get it. Most Pop music isn’t the well-written, deeper-than-the-ocean type stuff, but rather easy to understand and anchored by a catchy hook. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. Music isn’t supposed to be unattainable — we’re usually drawn to music because we can relate to it. Pop just expresses our emotions and situations in more simple terms than other genres.Some of you are probably starting to get nitpicky about my use of “Pop” as a genre. To a certain extent, Pop isn’t a genre at all. Historically, Pop was just short for popular, meaning it runs the gamut on genres. Listen to the current NOW That's What I Call Music collection (we’re up to about 4067 volumes, I believe) and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not full of ground-breaking musical experimentation or earth-shatteringly powerful lyricism, but every one of those songs has a damn good hook. Beyoncé wouldn’t classify herself as Pop. She’d call herself Hip Hop or R&B. “Run the World (Girls)” was certainly popular, though. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” is full of drums and synth awesomeness, lying somewhere between Rock and Electronic and yet it’s all over Top 40. Taylor Swift was, at one point, a Country artist. Now, with a little less accent and a lot less acoustic guitar, she’s lasting longer on Billboard’s Top 40 than the Country charts. The structures of their music may be very different, but they all end up on the same station.Pop has very much become its own genre. It’s the genre for all the likable and relatable music from all the other genres. Think of it as the exact opposite of “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Pop is The Genre of the Overplayed. They’re overplayed for a reason, though. Some of those songs are pretty close to genius. The best recent example is “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes (and Adam Levine). The idea is simple: Boy loves Girl … a lot. But throughout the entire song, they pull from the same stereo heart metaphor. Whether he’s referring to the trials and tribulations of a relationship via a comparison to an old-school boombox that requires tons of D batteries or the simple idea of a heart beating, like speakers, with every note, they carry the thought all the way through. In my book, that’s pretty impressive.Speaking of Adam Levine, I like “Moves like Jagger,” too. You know what Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, sang about quite a bit? Dancing. You know what “Moves like Jagger” is about? Dancing … sort of. You know what it makes me want to do? Dance. Pop songs are nothing if not danceable. Even the slow ones! If they don’t make you wish for that cute guy across the room to come and sweep you off your feet and twirl you around the room, they’re doing something wrong.Yes. Sometimes Pop can be annoying. A majority of Pop music is made by people with “outside voices.” They always sound like they’re yelling. Often they’re squeaky, too. One Direction is super excited about what makes me beautiful. For someone who adds an unsure “maybe” to the end of her pick-up line, Carly Rae Jepsen's voice is far from a timid whisper. But, I still really like that song.The easiest explanation I can give is this: It’s catchy and easy and sometimes we’re all a little simpleminded.Carly Rae and Taylor Swift may not write the kind of music that would inspire people to become “Band-Aids” or make William Miller, Greil Marcus or Lester Bangs commit their lives to writing about music. They do, however, write songs that are fun to listen to when you’re on the way to see a more substantive show. After a long hard day of deep-thinking and problem solving, what’s wrong with a little light-hearted entertainment?So, for the sake of dancers, the simple-minded, the commuters and the road trippers: Long live Pop!
by Jac Kern
at 01:59 PM | Permalink
Are you sick of
silly, humorous material taking over the internet? So is Fred Armisen. That’s
why he’s created Be Serious for 30 Seconds. It’s a project, not a contest, to
generate user-created videos. The videos must contain no comedy, they
must be 30 seconds or shorter, feature a
five-second dramatic pause and no more than two people, contain a cutaway of an object and end with a door
slam. This really is serious, so no laughing, ironic humor or purposefully poor acting.
Fred explains with an example below (with Portlandia
co-star Carrie Brownstein).
Get it, it’s not supposed to be funny, so it is! Go here to watch some of the best submissions.
I sometimes find
myself wondering what I’d do if anything should ever happen to my beloved pets
(though I’m banking on immortalizing veterinary breakthroughs/all of us dying at the same
moment during the apocalypse). This guy decided to taxidermy his cat, which
might be weird for some people, but I find kind of cool. But we’re not talking
standard window sill-sitting pose, here. He turned his cat into a remote
control kitty-copter. Watch him fly!
apologize for adding to the audio assault that is Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous
hit “Call Me, Maybe,” but this version really is the (taxidermied) cat’s
If anyone needed
further proof that The Roots can make anything cool, that’s it. Does bongo guy
remind anyone else of this?The SCP Foundation is my nerd
obsession du jour. It’s one of those sites that is hard to describe, and really
requires users to just jump in. But basically, it’s a database of fictional
classified information. Think Wikipedia of the X-Files. Pick a series, browse top rated pages, or whatever you
like, and you’ll find files on strange objects found and contained in a (again,
fictional) headquarters. These objects range from oddly funny
to legitimately terrifying.
It’s going to be a
very Leo Christmas for moviegoers this year, as Mr. DiCaprio stars in two
highly-anticipated films, Baz
Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and Quentin
Tarantino’s Django Unchained, both
out this December.
respective directors, you’ll either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I, for one, can’t
stop watching these trailers on repeat.