Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Is Boring: Running 2009 Songs List

Yeah, this is pretty boring, but it's probably a good idea for me to keep a running list of the songs released this year that I really liked, since I'll probably have to turn in a list of these at the end of the year anyways.

Also, I am aware of the fact that there's a certain hater(s) who is under the impression that I spend all of my time searching Hype Machine for remixes. This is not the case.

I'll probably keep updating this list.

In no particular order.

Annie: "Songs Remind Me of You"
Annie: "Anthonio" (Fred Falke Remix)
Summer Camp: "Ghost Train"
Museum of Bellas Artes: "Who Do You Love"
Drake: "Best I Ever Had"
R. Kelly: "Every Girl" (Skeemix ft. Lil Wayne)
Best Coast: "Sun Was High (So Was I)"
Plies: "Becky" (Yeah, not really sure where this one came from, but whatever.)
The Big Pink: "Velvet"
The Big Pink: "Dominos"
Florence + the Machine: "Drumming Song"
Classixx: "I'll Get You"
Name the Pet: "Get on the Bus" (Not a Destiny's Child cover, maybe unfortunately.)
Sean Kingston: "Fire Burning" (*sigh*)
Metronomy: "Not Made for Love"
Le Kid: "Mercy, Mercy"
The Juan Maclean: "Tonight"
Peaches: "I Feel Cream"
The Smith Westerns: "Girl in Love"
Fear of Tigers: "The Rich Cry Too"
Simian Mobile Disco: "Cruel Intentions" (ft. Beth Ditto)
Röyksopp: "The Girl and the Robot"
Röyksopp: "Vision One"
Girls: "Lust for Life"
Saint Etienne: "Spring" (Air France Remix)
Saint Etienne: "Method of Modern Love"
jj: "From Africa to Malaga"
The xx: "Basic Space" (Pariah Remix)
Harlem: "Beautiful and Very Smart"
Fan Death: "Jealousy"
Lady Gaga: "Bad Romance"
Destroyer: "Bay of Pigs"
Teengirl Fantasy: "Ass Klapz"
The American Dream Team: "My Boo" (Ghost Town DJs Cover)
Fever Ray: "Here Before" (Vashti Bunyan Cover)
The Field: "The More That I Do"
Rainbow Bridge: "Big Wave Rider"
Neon Indian: "Deadbeat Summer"
Neon Indian: "6669 (I Don't Know If You Know)"
Toro y Moi: "Blessa"
Gatekeeper: "Optimus Maximus"
Mariah Carey: "H.A.T.E.U."
Mariah Carey: "Ribbon"
Basement Jaxx: "Raindrops"
Jenny Wilson: "The Wooden Chair"
El Perro Del Mar: "Change of Heart"
Calvin Harris: "Flashback"
Duck Sauce: "aNYway"
Little Dragon: "Blinking Pigs"
Sally Shapiro: "Miracle" (Bogdan Irkuk Remix)
Micachu: "Turn Me Well"
Wildbirds and Peacedrums: "My Heart"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Things I Do Astound Me

In September of 1996 a terribly unhappy 21-year-old man named Ricardo Lopez mailed Björk an acid-spraying bomb and killed himself shortly thereafter. Because he recorded his suicide, authorities were able to intercept the bomb before it reached Björk (or whoever opened her mail in 1996), but you can still absolutely see the video of Ricardo Lopez killing himself, and needless to say, that shit is BLEAK. Literally, it's the worst thing I've ever seen on the internet.

Most terrible internet shit is just physiologically disgusting, but the worst part of Ricardo Lopez's suicide is the visible despair before he puts the gun in his mouth. For the duration of the recording, before he actually commits the act, it feels as if he's actually dead, but just searching for the courage to physically parallel what he already knows is true.

He also chooses one of the loveliest Björk songs as the soundtrack for his death: "Like Someone in Love" is an Ella Fitzgerald cover, and while I can't speak for Björk's performance relative to Ella's, I can say with confidence that Björk's version is corrosively beautiful; it feels so good that it makes you feel bad because of course, of fucking course you don't feel this goddamn good. There's not some fucking harpist soundtracking your wistful ass infatuation unless you live in Rivendell or some shit.

Björk's version is so good that it allows me to forget that I once watched several minutes of a dead man preparing to kill himself, set to the same song. Her performance comes across as so earnest and sonically tangible that it wipes the worst shit I've ever seen on the internet from my head for about four and a half minutes. That is really the best any of us can hope for.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When You Wish Upon a Star

I got a text message from a friend today, thanking me for introducing him to his favorite book. The book in question was The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. If you've ever read Kundera, you know that the narratives in his novels are just excuses for him to say all of the deep ass shit that he walks around mulling over all the time, which sounds like a pretty pretentious read, but it's not. Dude is every bit as populist as Lil Wayne and R. Kelly.

I have listened to R. Kelly's "Every Girl," at least once a day ever since I got it in June. It actually isn't an R. Kelly song; it is a Lil Wayne song which appears on R. Kelly's The Demo Tape, where every verse in the original but Lil Wayne's is lopped off to make room for Kelly's carnal ambitions, which push the meter all the way into the red.

There's nothing more Kellzian than a song about wanting to have sex with every girl in the world, so it was really only a matter of time before he hopped on this song in some form or another (I take that back; there is another moment on The Demo Tape in which Kellz hops on The-Dream's "Kelly's 12 Play," a song about having sex to R. Kelly's 1993 album 12 Play, where he seizes the rare opportunity to sing about having sex while listening to himself sing about having sex, which is at least as Kellzian as singing about wanting to have sex with every girl in the world, if not more so). On the surface it seems like this is par for the course for the most female-preoccupied recording artist in pop music. It's a great reminder of how awesome it is that Kelly got past that dark period where all of his songs were about embracing thugs, being the greatest, and getting saved. Fuck that.

There are about 6 billion people on the planet, and a little over half of them are female. We can exclude girls who are too young and too old, and girls who aren't fuckable, for reasons aesthetic and practical, and there's still at least one billion girls that Kelly and Weezy are singing to on the track (a very conservative estimate). Without considering the average duration of intercourse, birth rates, and travel times, it's clearly impossible for Wayne and Kelly to complete the quest, even if we let them split the whole lot half and half (though it's clear that they each would like to fuck every girl in the world).

This is pretty weird: in mainstream hip-hop/R&B, male artists almost never ever admit to some kind of sexual limitation, even if it's just logistical. It's far more believable that R. Kelly or Lil Wayne would pen a track called "I'ma Fuck Every Girl in the World" than to come out and admit this is something that they cannot do. It is even weirder that this track's tone is straight up joyous. They are both celebrating the fact that their dreams are limited by the sheer enormity of their own appetites and the unimaginable number of exquisite creatures who, by the simple force of fate will escape their Patrón guzzling, rain-making, Auto-tuned grasps. A shame, really.

The central story in Unbearable Lightness of Being is about lovers Tereza and Tomas. Tomas is habitually unfaithful to Tereza, and at some point decides thusly: "Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself known in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman)."

Tomas uses that idea to justify his philandering (it doesn't), and real talk: Eric Benet probably said some very similar shit to Halle Berry after he hit her up with the sex addiction bullshit; however, there's likely a lot of truth in Kundera's words, and though it definitely seems like Kellz and Weezy's wish list fits in with Kundera's assertion, I feel like there's something in the tone of "Every Girl" that Unbearable Lightness misses.

There's something sublime about that kind of effusive, overwhelming desire. Of course, it runs directly counter to the type of stupid monogamous idealism that dominates pop music, and that most people (including myself) usually prefer, but it just feels dreamy. If there are any two people who are reasonably well positioned to fuck a lot of girls, they're Lil Wayne and R. Kelly (Wayne more than R. Kelly, for obvious reasons), but here they are, admitting defeat; not throwing down their arms, but definitely fighting a losing battle, and happily. They're sorta like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, rushing at the Bolivian cavalry, guns-a-blazin'.

I'm not trying to argue that "Every Girl" is a love song, but isn't the best pop love all about hope in the face of defeat? There's even the slightest note of sadness in the song's central idea; just imagine Lil Wayne at 90, wizened with very neat, well kept dreadlocks hanging all the way down his back. His physique has very gracefully gone to seed, but you can barely tell because his patchwork skin is literally covered in tattoos. An exceptionally satisfied young woman is collecting herself in his sunny, open room, and kisses Lil Wayne, seated on the bed, briefly before she leaves. He raises a half-smoked blunt to his lips, relights it, and takes a hit.

He hears footsteps and turns around. A new girl has entered the room. He sees her and immediately thinks, "Goddamn, she the finest one yet." He gets up to meet her, but takes two steps and falls down. The new girl runs over to Weezy and drops to her knees. He's still coherent, but it's obvious that something is wrong. She screams for help, and he half-whispers, "Nah, nah, nah, don't even."

She wraps him up in her arms, and he manages to push his torso into her lap. He asks her,

"What's yo name?"


Wayne smiles, and she can see all of the tiny monitors in his grill flickering out, one by one. "I'm a gangsta, Miss Eva," he coos before he dies.

Talk about having a fucking dream.

Lil Wayne - Every Girl (R. Kelly Remix)