You are the king of twee. And that song is the worst of the worst. Our youth are being Kawaii-fied. This nation is doomed. It is the fall of Rome, the Court of Versaiies, post-war Vienna all over again.
Okay, so I just watched their cover of EWF’s September and the thing that pops into my mind is that this is reverse muzac.
Instead of taking new song and r-erending them in a way that makes them more pallettable for older people, these guys are taking crowd pleaser tunes with great hooks and rerendering them in a way that makes them safe for people who (for whatever reason) eschew crowd pleaser great hooks music. Kind of an, “All the catchiness of the original, but with the familiar taste of irony you crave.”
Or maybe their sincere. It’s so hard to tell anymore.
Good heavens. Hipsterdom hasn’t progressed in a very long time. Ironic t-shirts? Check. Interesting looking vintage musical instruments? Check. Off-beat chick with a coy expression? Check. Ironic take on massively successful article of popular culture? Check. If this were made in 1992 and the song was Madonna’s Vogue, the aesthetic would be identical. How pathetic.
Have you ever been sodomized at JN’s house? No? Well then how can you judge? From everything I’ve heard, Mr. Nicholson is a complete gentleman.
As to the video in question: It is truely the work of Satan. That girl (she is probably 28 or 32 but her persona in the video is about the same as that of my 10 year old daughter) is obviosly under the control of the devil. Watch as her eyes move unaturally from side to side. Notice the lack of expression, the lifeless timber of her voice. What we are seeing is a person under complete external control trying to signal us with nothing but her soul shining through her pupils. It is tragic and appaling. “Help me,” she is saying. “I want to rock. But the devil’s got me by the gnarlys. I thought he was just a slightly sketchy producer. I didn’t really read the contract all that carefully.”
And the devil’s plan? To inhibit the production of testotserone in ameica’s young conservatives. This plan, like all good plans, has two prongs. First he instgated the Southern Strategy (for he is nothing if not patient and farseeing). Nixon was desparate at the time and Kissenger pointed out that there was no way the democratic party could hope to contain both negros and rednecks and that therefor there were a “large number votes just sitting there awaiting annexation: which shall it be the schwarzers or the bauerntopel?”
After that conservatives had to pretend to like country music.
Jump cut 40 years to the present and americans next crop of young conservatives are just beginning to ripen. But like all young conservatives in their mid to late thirties they are beginning to feel that rebelious itch. And how do youth in america signal rebellion? By favoring music that there elders hate. They need to flee country music, but what harbor beckons? Reggatone? Swedish Disco? Neo-Klezmer? As always, the devil has an suggestion. He facilitates the creation of a form of music as far removed from country as possible. It’s urban, its androgonous, it’s flaccid, it’s fey. It’s as cute and non-threatening as a strawberry cupcake with mango frosting. Nextwave conservatives flock to like wasp moths to a Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater. They play it proudly, linking to it on their websites: Move over Tom Delay! Here comes the future of the Republican party!
But what they don’t realize is that this music has been specially desinged on Satan’s mainframe to damp down testoterone production. I can’t go into the science of it here without betraying trade secrets and I’ve singned this contract, but in general it uses images and beats and tones to engage the collective unconscious and change brain chemestry (it’s all their in Jung’s journal). It’s a lot like tv. And it works. The losses in the last two elections and the desparate nomination of a clearly insane WOMAN for vice presidency are all the evidence one needs. Soon there will be nothing to stand in the way of the coming godless-commie-fascist-liberal putsch, and the US of A—once God’s own country—will be added to the Devils pile in the world-wide chess match between good and evil.
And you Mr. Suderman, will be a minor demon’s butt buddy for all eternity.
Don’t be dense. KVS is clearly referring to being sodomized against his will by Roman Polanski. To each his own, I suppose, but I’ll take watching the video.
Read this elsewhere, perhaps it applies here as well:
“That’s the crux of a lot of the confusion I see in men today; not knowing how to reckon with fact of their privilege without giving up their birthright to revel in the testosterone that pumps through their blood.”
Probably safe to add this as well:
“You know I reckon when we finally get to the shooting part of this war, more than a few folks are going to be surprised to find out who the most effective killers are.”
Come on, jd, get with the program. As William F. Bennet-Bloom said in his best seller, American Is Going Down The TUbes! America is going down the tubes! Easy credit, sexual freedom, and relaxed gender roles have eaten away at the heartwood of this great country—our youth are nothing but sacks of skin filled with dry rot—and soon the mighty oak that is America will topple to the ground pulling dwon the firmiment with it, ushering in a 1000 years of darkness.
Maybe the rot within has gone too far for you to recognize the siren song of Satan (see video above) but like the pre-exposed oldsters immune to swine flu, people of my generation inadvertatly innoculated themselves to this kind of testicular drainage via immersion in Belle Epoc punk rok. OUr numbers are dwindeling though and all we can do is watch in horror as the Dark One’s sound-engineered virus makes it’s way through the target population.
I may not be too late for you jd. Get Los Angeles by X—vinal if you can find it—and listen to it straight through 3 times as day. X-Ray Specs (x is a very punk letter), the Buzzcocks, the Dammed, the Stranglers, early Husker Du, Sonic Youth, the Stooges, Black Flag, and of course the Clash or the Sex Pistols…. any on those might work as well. I’ll be praying for you.
Can you say in plain english exactly what you mean? What do your two over the top rants have to do with an alternative and cute take on single ladies? Because really you write as if you’re loaded for bear when it’s simply a sweet little song you’re trying to kill. What the hell?
It’s like you’re all dressed up with nowhere to rant.
jd, what’s your take on the replacement of the bridge lyrics with improved lyrics about not wanting to sing the bridge because the “lyrics are so bad”?
That doesn’t seem sweet or cute to me. To me it seems like passive-aggressive “I want all the benefit of singing a monster pop song, but don’t want anyone to think I actually think the song is any good, cause I’m too cool to actually enjoy music that lots of people like.”
Why not just drop the bridge? Or do some more of that eddie burkel scat la da da di da thing?
I’m a mystery, jd. Wrapped up in a conundrum, then baked inside an enigma and slathered with ambiguity sauce. I don’t even know why I do the things I do. Plus I have a PhD in Kung Fu/Womyn’s Studies from Shaolin U. So it just goes without saying that my work product is going to be hard for the lay-reader to understand.
If you go to their youtube site, you’ll see that they LOVE the song. They wrote that the chord progression in the chorus is genius. hooray for beyonce and her songwriters. That’s typical of musicians and of anyone who really loves music. The lyrics don’t matter if the music isn’t good. If the music isn’t good, no one’s going to listen to, much less remember the words. Are there no songs that you like in spite of the stupid lyrics?
I think your criticism is way over the top. These two kids got music in their blood. Do you not see that?
However, at least I understand your criticism. CW, OTOH, he’s just way too smart for a lay-reader like me. He’s the kind of guy who liked the Sex Pistols, which makes sense, because they were a band all dressed up with no place to rebel. So they just rebelled against music. Now there’s some guys who loved a good chord progression. I’m humming one of their more famous tunes right now.
Prolly the muzac comparison. No way you could know that I think muzac is fine. Why let crunchy guitars get in the way of someone enjoying a good tune. I also like smooth jazz.
I also admire anyone who just fucking does it. So my hat is off to these kids on that score. I really dug the laser engraved flash-drive thing and am wondering how we might do something similarly fun with our films.
But if you’ve ever seen my film, or followed any of the music links I’ve posted here, you’d know I’m not really big on the who irony thing; which is why I think the “sad bad lyrics” are actually really fucking great. It’s the part of the song where Beyonce actually speaks directly to her suitor and says, “This is how you can make me happy.”
Telling me how crappy that is while wearing a old Batman t-shirt is not a winning move.
And speaking of lyrics: Cole Fucking Porter, bitch.
re:batman shirts: all I can say is “come on dudes.” But in some ways I guess it’s the equivilent of Dunke Ellingtons tuxedo: it’s expected.
Re: the music: their are some interesting parts and some cheezy “jazz” parts but the Betty Boopishenss of the performance and the arrangement is sickening. These are adults. I’m sure they think it’s fun, that they enjoy remaking (castrating) these songs in their twee image, and that that is “who they are” but it’s too gooey. It fails as art. Everyone has a schtick, but theirs is weak: we’re a cute couple making cute music that hopefully will be on a mac comercial. Yuck. Take Lesile Feist. SHe has a similar voice, has been in mac commercials, and covers 70’s r&b songs, but her persona is that of a woman.
Really, they are not that bad. The post before was my serious argument against them and it is too extreme. They are too cute, but mostly this was just an opportunity to exercise my creativity via teasing Mr. Suderman, as is my wont.
You guys just don’t get it. All you see is the batman t-shirt, laser engraved flash-drives? Who the hell cares? Their music trumps whatever irony you might want to see. You’re talking about their style—how they look. I’m talking about the music. That’s all there is. I’m telling you these two got music in them. You see irony. I hear music. Would it have made any difference to you if you had only heard it, rather than seen them doing it?
And then you guys try to impress with Leslie Feist and Chuck Mangione? Or are you being ironic?
And what’s with the Cole Porter reference? Are you trying to tell me that all great lyricists have written silly lyrics that shouldn’t be tampered with? Are you reminding me that you know about great lyricists of the past? What the hell?
One thing I AM getting, though, is that you guys really like that Beyonce single ladies tune. That could be the reason you’re so deeply offended by Pomplamoose (BTW, I’d never heard of them before this post.) I wonder. Were you big fans of Michael Jackson, too?
No, jd, you’re the one who doesn’t get it. Not even a little. And that’s okay. If you like their rendering, with or without the accompanying video, good for you. I would hope that you would regard nothing that I’ve written an attack you for liking the track.
I’m not impressed with the track, as in I wouldn’t choose to listen to it. I wouldn’t change the radio station if it came on either. Same for the Beyonce version.
I’m slightly put off by the video, for a variety of reasons, which I’ve outlined. Borrowed interest + irony is not really my cup of tea, no matter how much music you have in your soul.
I don’t know why you’ve classed my reaction “deeply offended”; that seems at least as over the top as cw or KVS. At least with them it’s pretty easy to tell that there having fun with their pique. You seem genuinely hurt, and I can’t for the life of my figure out why.
Actually, Tony, in rereading the comments, it’s pretty obvious that it was cw and KVS who were over the top. I was attributing some of that to you, mistakenly. My apologies.
I would simply add that too many people are impressed by the style of the musicians, so that awful music—e.g., Sex Pistols, Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, KISS or even mediocre music, e.g. VanHalen (Eddie VanHalen is like a cw rant, it’s impressive, but what’s the point?)—gets way more attention than it should. Conversely, people who wear t-shirts and sneakers (and look cute) can’t possibly perform anything worthwhile in their living room.
jd, I put a comment up where I said the song was ok and that I was just goofing around. But respectfully, I don’t think you have a very deep understanding of modern popular music. It is an commercial art form that includes a lot more than jsut a bunch of notes. From the very beginings image—for example—was a huge part of the product. The point of it is to send a message who you are and thus who the listener is in context with society. Elvis didn’t just stand up there and sing a few songs. He got up there looking like a greaser prince, sang rock and roll which at that point was negro music, and thrust his pelvis in the face of his 12 year old girl fans. There was a lot more involved with it than just notes. And that’s why he was the kind of rock and roll instead of Chuck Berry or Howlin Wolf or someone we don’t even know. His multy-layered product spoke to those little girls just right.
So when you talk about modern popular music there are two ways to judge it. You can take it at face value stripped of history and context—though in real life it is pretty hard for any of us to come to a song like this—and then you are just talking about performance and notes. Or you can look at it in context and then judge the song and all the meta-crap that goes along with it. Is there presentation amusing or interesting? Are they “authentic?” DOes that music speak to the current moment? YOu are right that if it sounds good then it is good, but all that meta-crap is in the sound too. Sounds signal. That’s why heavy metal guitar sounds like heavy metal guitar and folk guitar sounds like folk guitar. That song—which I said above, is ok—sounds cute. SHe does “cute” things with her voice. Her presentation is childlike and playful and at the same time pretty emotionless. That is a pretty ironic sound. They definitley have a presentation, it doesn’t even have to be conscious, but it is still a pose. And like I say, kind of a boring one. I find Fiest presentation—which includes her look, the sound of her voice, the phrasing, the way she acts in the video—way more interesting. Plus I like that song a lot better too. Much more interesting words and music, plus hearing Fiest who is/was in Broken Social Scene and punk/experimental type band, plus she’s got all those apple commercial songs, do an old Bee Gees song makes me hear the song diferently. Context. Time and place. It’s a great song, a great performance and I think for choosing it at this times shows that she is a smart artist.
Maybe I don’t have a very deep understanding of popular music. But that’s OK, because I hated most popular music, when I was young. But I absolutely LOVED some popular music. And I would say that the music I loved has stood the test of time. The artists I loved were all about being popular and being “stars” and let themselves be marketed by rock promoters. They did all of that pop stuff, but they had something else going on: musical genius or uniqueness or creativity or something. It cut through all the flash and glam. I only know that in retrospect, I certainly didn’t understand it then.
So I would push back by saying that while I might not have a deep understanding of popular music, I don’t think you really love music. I would add that more people are like you than me.
Elvis wouldn’t have been Elvis if he couldn’t sing the way he did. If he did all of that stuff and looked the way he did and was marketed the way he was, but couldn’t sing, he wouldn’t have changed the world.
I will admit that maybe if I heard some more of Leslie Feist I could be convinced otherwise. But for now, Leslie Feist sounds like about 40,000 other artists who’ve gone before. Hell, so does Beyonce. I really don’t want to know about their “presentation” unless it affects the way they sound.
Speaking of “presentation”, have you seen the Beyonce video? “Presentation” and Beyonce’s booty. Talk about irony.