15. flaming lips, "do you realize??" on paper, "do you realize??" is a preposterous conceit; i don't think that even bono in a room full of aids-stricken orphans feels this empathetic. listening to it, however, is an altogether different experience. when wayne coyne sings, "do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?" i sit and listen and say, "you know, i didn't realize that"; such is the feeling of revelation. appeals to the part of me that watches the wizard of oz and is held captive by childlike awe; and not the part that comments on how, even in her films, gay men were inexorably drawn to judy garland. "do you realize??" is the lips' latest attempt at crossbreeding "over the rainbow" and "what a wonderful world"-- both of which they've covered -- with puppy dogs and sunshine. it's also their most effective, and affecting.
16. rapture, "house of jealous lovers" 2002: the year the punks remembered how to dance, and it was dfa who jogged their memories. (technically 2001, i guess, but let's hear it for zeitgeist-defining re-releases!) why this isn't higher: apparently the punks have forgotten how to edit judiciously; brevity formerly being one of their strong points. which is a too-clever way of saying: it doesn't justify its length.
17. n.o.r.e. ft. pharrell, "nothin'" listening to "nothin'" with its female vocals an ostensible snatch from the smurfs' theme song, i'm reminded of biggie rhyming over a gay anthem on "mo' money mo problems." unlike the falsetto on "grindin'," this juxtaposition of the menacing and the innocent isn't chilling: "nothin'" is confrontational where "grindin'" is nonchalant, and there's something more elementally frightening about someone who whistles as he decides how to do you harm. still, you can dance to "nothin'."
also: the neptunes foray into eastern music illuminates the difference between them and timbaland: tim is about the means; the neptunes are about the sound (particularly the melody).
overheard from the t.v., an ad for the new rob schneider vehicle, the hot chick: "from some of the guys who brought you deuce bigelow and the animal..."
are there people out there with worse track records and yet are allowed to continue making films? i mean, sure, tomcats and sorority boys are really bad, but at least i can take comfort in knowing that "some of the guys" who perpetrated those films will be refused work from now on. (right?)
and! "some of the guys"? does this mean it's going to be better...or worse? did they lose the dead weight or did the one with sense -- and a conscience -- opt-out?
18. tweet, "oops (oh my)" so why are female masturbation songs so damn sexy when distaff versions are so damn desperate? is this a "why do you guys like watching two chix make out?"-type question: guys find it ineffably appealing and females won't betray their sex and say otherwise? is it because the female orgasm is a mystery? or is it because female masturbation songs typically sound like this -- spiked with orgasmic sounds and sighs, icy cool like a breath freshener commercial, totally in control as if it were her choice -- and male masturbation songs sound like...i dunno, any band whose members wear tight t-shirts and wear countenances that are frequently fraught with guilt and despair. the ladies aren't saying, and that's okay, as long as they keep singing.
the adams family were on the family feud today but that was only the third most amazing thing about today's show. second was the fact that richard "please don't call me 'al'" karn didn't riff on the name. most impressive, in a runaway: one of the questions put to a hundred people was "name ways someone from a foreign country can prove their patriotism." both families were stumped. they got the top two answers: fly a flag and learn the language. the rest, in order: vote, listen to springsteen, and buy american. forget gallup or eagleton, family feud has their finger on the pulse of america like no else out there. immigrants, illegal and otherwise, take note -- and fear!
19. queens of the stone age, "no one knows" (note to self: like band more; masculinity at stake.) i never thought i'd call qotsa "jaunty" but here we are. backing vocals, polite drum fills, and josh homme's falsetto all combine to make my head bob side-to-side in the same effeminate fashion actuated by "walking on sunshine." then, the dam breaks, and the flood pours forth: the chorus grabs one by the testicles (or the vulva, depending) and you're left trying to decide whether you want to play air drums or air guitar. since you can't pogo and play the drums, my decision is made for me. "a day in life" by those pussies the beatles occupies the break and things go a little prog before we're led back to beginning. once again i coo along with josh, grin, bob my head, and hope that no one's been watching me.
also, i'm going to begin a countdown of my twenty favorite singles from this year. one should appear daily. oh, and look at that! there's number 20. 20. busta rhymes ft. p. diddy & pharrell, "pass the courvoisier, pt. ii" the beatles went from "she loves you" to "strawberry fields forever" in four years; hip-hop has gone from sipping on gin and juice to passing the courvoisier in nine: clearly, refinement has been a long time coming. not only is the booze more expensive, but so is the production help. i don't think i'd mind a pharrell solo album if he played the foil to established artists a la timbaland, but his ego is so big now -- talk about "his" music -- that i doubt it'd be possible. diddy's made a living talking over other peoples' records and his performance here is the best use of a diddy in a supporting role since "all about the benjamin." for his part, busta does the "rawr rawr" bit that we've loved for years now. and as the drinks are passed and the hoes assessed, a mariachi band continues to play -- forcefully but with a minimum of exertion.
heigh-ho, yours truly here. apologize for the absence: thanksgiving brought visiting relatives and parties and dinners. beyond that, i also had some school work to. you probably won't read about narrative technique in bleak house and daniel deronda, and you probably won't read about an essay on war and my grandfather, but here it is anyway.