Friday, January 30, 2009

Fuck You

Song: Fuck You
Artist: Lily Allen
Album: It’s Not Me, It’s You

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sophomore release from Britain’s spunky, potty-mouthed Lily Allen since her amazing debut “Alright Still.” A couple songs leaked from the record, including first single “The Fear,” which I thought was just okay. I’ve listened to it a bunch and it just hasn’t grabbed me as much as her other songs like “Smile,” “LDN,” as well as album tracks “Friday Night” and “Knock ‘Em Out.”

That said, I really love the video for it though… she is just too adorable:

What I am TOTALLY digging though is the foul-mouthed, super catchy ditty called… um, “Fuck You,” which is all you can ask from a Lily Allen song; fun, sing-a-long-able, and full of wicked spunk. Actually, if you’ll forgive me for getting a little political, this song has been on a constant rotation since Obama got in office and I’ve been hearing all of these whining Republicans upset about all of the policies he’s already put into action, and how “super-libral” and “homo-loving” the man and his policies are.

Well… for all of the Ann Coulter’s, Bill O’Reilly’s and Christianist crazies out there, I’l like to say… “fuck you, fuck you very very much!”


Because we hate you, and we hate you’re whole crew…

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Lucky Day

Song: My Lucky Day
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Working on a Dream

I’ve been building this theory that artistry and creativity are driven by the understanding of our own mortality. Clint Eastwood has currently been making films at a fever pitch and arguably, he’s doing the best work of his career. Since 2003’s acclaimed “Mystic River,” the man seems hell bent on making a true mark on the history of film. “Million Dollar Baby” followed, then two World War II epics in one year, and then this year, he released both “The Changeling” and “Gran Torino,” to much Oscar talk.

I also think this holds true for Morrissey. After an initial burst of creativity in the early 90’s, he released some so-so albums later that decade ending with the much maligned “Maladjusted.” Seven years went by until he finally came out with a follow up, the excellent “You Are the Quarry” in 2004. Since then he has not stopped working, releasing the even better “Ringleader of the Tormentors” and this years “Years of Refusal.” It’s as if both of these men, after full careers with moments of little output, have begun to realize that their time is short and they either owe it to themselves, their fans, and maybe the world to continue on artistically.

I also group the amazing Bruce Springsteen in with this theory. After becoming just about the biggest American male singer-songwriter in the 80’s, “The Boss” fell off a bit in the 90’s with some so-so albums. But in 2002, after the tragedy of 9/11, Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band and released the amazing “The Rising.” Since then it’s like the man has been re-born, releasing two more solo albums and then most recently back with the band to record last years “Magic” and once again this year with “Working on a Dream.”

I didn’t love ‘magic” as much as “The Rising,” though that would be quite a follow up, but I have immediately connected with “Working on a Dream,” his most hopeful set in years. While he doesn’t write anthem after anthem like he did during the “Born in the U.S.A.” years, he can still do them, best evidenced by “My Lucky Day,” a positively hopeful and loving stomper that I am sure is GREAT in concert. The rest of the album (which includes his NOT nominated song “The Wrestler” from the film of the same name) has Springsteen in a relatively calm place, most likely spurred on by the new president. (Where “Magic” was a pretty pointed attack on the Bush administration.)

Point being, I think we might be seeing much more, and quickly, from Bruce (as well as Morrissey and Eastwood.) I can think of others, such as Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello that have, later in their career realized that time is of the essence, and their icon status can be as big as they want. As long as we have killer music coming, I have no problem with that.


My Lucky Day

Friday, January 23, 2009

Get On Your Boots

Song: Get On Your Boots
Artist: U2
Album: No Line on the Horizon

A new U2 song is cause for discussion, but the first single off a new U2 album is cause for a serious listen. And given that their new album (their twelfth) is their first since 2004’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (the longest gap between new albums for the band in its entire history,) I was absolutely very excited about hearing their brand new single “Get on Your Boots” from their new album “No Line on the Horizon,” which is being released in March.

The album was initially going to be produced by Rick Rubin, but the material from those sessions was scrapped, and they returned to work with two of the band’s biggest collaborators; Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Eno is hot off the heels of his amazing collaboration with David Byrne as well as producing the latest Coldplay album. It has been said that after their last two albums, which saw them return to their early sound, that they are once again going a bit more experimental sound of their “Achtung Baby,” “Zooropa,” & “Pop” period. (“Achtung” is my favorite album of theirs.)

Based on “Boots” I have no idea what to expect from the album. Initially it sounded like “Vertigo” to me, but there are some odd blimps and bleeps happening in the background… and while I have no idea what on earth he’s talking about lyrically, Bono’s delivery is typically dynamic. The guy sings with such conviction, it’s hard not to take notice. And after a few listens, the sexy groove really got to me. Is it a “Beautiful Day?” No. Heck it’s not even “The Fly,” but it’s no more ridiculous than “Discothèque.” And I LIKE that song.


Get on Your Boots

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Life Would Suck Without You

Song: My Life Would Suck Without You
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Album: My Life Would Suck Without You

Monster single alert. Last we heard from Kelly Clarkson she released her third album “My December,” to much controversy. Apparently Clive Davis didn’t like it, wanted it scrapped, but she relented and released it anyhow. Now, I’m not a huge Kelly fan… don’t get me wrong, I think the girl has had a couple of killer singles but I haven’t taken the time to sit down and listen to a full album. Yet with so much talk about the “darkness” of “My December” I just had to. And I thought it was good, and honestly NOT the departure it had been trumped up to be. It just sounded like… Kelly Clarkson.

As if her record company WANTED the album to tank, they set out and released single after single of the most boring songs the album contained. While it wasn’t brimming with the über-pop hooks from “Breakaway,” it certainly had its share of catchy songs. But they didn’t release them as singles. Oh well.

As a possible mea culpa, Kelly got back with producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin (The guys behind “Since You’ve Been Gone”) and have now given us “My Life Would Suck Without You.” It’s practically a sequel to “Since You’ve Been Gone,” but… it totally rocks. It took a couple listens but I hear another big hit for Kelly, and another new karaoke favorite. It’s got the pop-rock polish that she rode to great success on “Breakaway,” and as if to make that totally clear even the single’s cover is all bright and candy-looking. She even is holding a heart-shaped lollipop! (Lollipop? Must mistake me you’re the sucker!)

I think the title is a little goofy, but thankfully that line isn’t the hook for the song. That is given to the line “Cuz we belong together now,” which by the third listen you will want to shout along wherever you are. (I have repeatedly resisted doing so on the train.) It’s hard not to compare it to “Since You’ve Been Gone,” a song that admittedly usually comes but once in your career. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something is Squeezing My Skull

Song: Something is Squeezing My Skull
Artist: Morrissey
Album: Years of Refusal

Always at the top of my “Can’t Wait For” list, is the prospect of a new Morrissey album. And this has doubled since his one-two punch of 2004’s “You Are the Quarry” and 2006’s excellent “Ringleader of the Tormentors.” So it came with much excitement that Moz’s new album, “Years of Refusal” is coming out next month. Jerry Finn, the producer behind “Quarry” is back (though unfortunately, died of a severe cerebral hemorrhage just after the album was complete) and “Refusal” cuts a similar vein to both predecessors. Though I must admit, I’m not feeling it as much as I did the last two releases.

First single “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” sounds like a return to “Vauxhall & I” Morrissey, (possibly my favorite record of his) a bit more acoustic and laid back. But it doesn’t bite, at least hasn’t yet, as hard as the stellar songwriting on “Vauxhall.” Elsewhere, the album contains the rock and could only be Morrissey swagger that we (well fans) have grown to love. I really like album opener “Something is Squeezing My Skull,” a Morrissey title if there ever was one. It reminded me of the rock swagger of “Ringleader,” making me think I was in for another good treat.

Oddly, the album includes “All You Need is Me” and “That’s How People Grow Up” from his recent Greatest Hits album. They totally fit on the album, but it’s just odd as I don’t think a proper Morrissey album has ever included previous released material. Though, “That’s How People Grow Up” remains one of the best tracks on the album.

I’m still listening, but thus far it’s just a slight disappointment for me. But my expectations are probably a little off. Certainly, if you like the man, you’ll love “Refusal.”

And there is no denying... the cover is AWESOME.


I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris

Friday, January 16, 2009

Naughty Girl

Song: Naughty Girl
Artist: Mr. G
Album: Naughty Girl (Summer Heights High)

For the last month and a half I have been enjoying an Australian TV show that was acquired and played on HBO. Oddly, the network didn’t seem to promote the show as much as the majority of their programming, and I just happened to be lucky to catch the first episode, and subsequently the entire series. Since its start, and liking the show more and more as it went on, I found friends that were also watching this crazy series which I am certain will be known as a cult classic.

The show is set in an Australian high school and shot in a mock-documentary style a-la “Waiting For Guffman,” “Best in Show,” and “This is Spinal Tap.” It was written and stars actor Chris Lilley, who plays three very different characters. An effeminate music/drama teacher named Mr. G, a young delinquent named Jonah Takalua, and a spoiled female student named Ja’mie King. He is SO good and different as the three characters it’s pretty wild.

The Mr. G character is putting on a musical he wrote once he was inspired by a student that overdosed on ecstasy. Check this out:

Well, the final show in the episode is rather insane, but even MORE insane is the fact that a remix of the show’s song “Naughty Girl” actually charted in Australia. And even MORE insane is the fact that I totally love it. It’s actually a rather good dance song, and the irony of a thumping club track that has gotten a lot of play in that country about the dangers of ecstasy just tracks me up. It HAS to be heard.

Since the song did so well, they made a music video comprised of fans of the show performing the song to the camera. Very You-tube like. It’s hysterical, but also a little disconserning given a lot of children are singing lines like, “she’s a slut and she knows it.”

Check it out:

If you can I highly recommend checking this series out. It’s hysterical!!!


Ja’mie King

Jonah Takalua

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Song: Ulysses
Artist: Franz Ferdinand
Album: Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

With only two albums under their belt I was quick to call Franz Ferdinand one of my favorite bands. I’ve been eager for a follow-up to their 2005 sophomore album “You Could Have it So Much Better,” which I absolutely loved, so I have been absorbing their latest, “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” for the last couple days. Several months ago when they first announced the new record a song, “Lucid Dreams” was leaked to the internet and played on their site. I liked the song enough, but thought it might be album filler… certainly not a first single. Then a couple weeks ago official first single “Ulysses” was released. If I’m honest I was a little underwhelmed. But look at their track record… “Take me Out” from their self titled debut kick-started them onto the scene and is one of my favorite songs of all time. I have never gotten tired of it. And “Do You Want To” from “YCHISMB” was, in my opinion the most perfect of pop songs. It wasn’t as big a hit, but I have no shame in letting you know that its play count on my iTunes is upward of 200+. Yeah… a fan here.

Now that I have been listening to “Tonight,” I get that they may have given up on writing the perfect single. And the album does not suffer in the least. “Ulysses” is actually a pretty killer song, its hooks, catchiness, and mysterious lyrics that draw from a poem by Homer, open slowly. Now when it opens the album I see why it’s the first single, but it’s certainly not the best thing on the album.

It was rumored that the album would take the band in a much more dance direction which is partially true, but it’s all Franz. Ironically, it’s a return to Franz’s more loose songs, at times messy and gritty and not as produced as their sophomore album. That said they play with electronic beats and synths like they never have before, including the now eight plus minute long “Lucid Dreams,” which has an electro breakdown in the middle. I like it better than the linked version quite a bit. I’m still listening, but I already get the feeling that it could turn out to be one of my favorite records of 2009.



This video is so gritty

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Slap a Bitch

Song: Slap a Bitch
Artist: Macy Gray
Album: Slap a Bitch (single)

When Macy Gray first came out I really dug her first record. While I got tired of her mega-hit “I Try,” I really thought her debut, “On How Life Is” was a neo-funk marvel, albeit with Adult Contemporary leanings. In retrospect, Gray might have been frustrated with the soccer mom fans she got from “I Try,” because on her sophomore record she really let her freak flag fly. (Well, admittedly the first single, the Erykah Badu duet “Sweet Baby” was very “I Try” as well) I liked “The Id,” but it didn’t register with audiences the way her debut did.

Since then, I haven’t followed her music, despite her releasing two albums and a greatest hits album. Apparently, (according to Wikipedia) the albums were well received. Does anyone remember these? How are they?

Regardless, Macy Gray is returning to the stage for a new album this year. It is reportedly titled “The Gray Life” and for some reason she’s going by an alias… “Nemesis Jaxon.” And she recently released this statement about it...

“ladies and gentlemen. boys and girls. pimps and hos. my name is macy gray. i have decided to re-enter the real world and make my fifth album. it will be the biggest comeback you've ever seen. bigger than the big lies the american government has been telling us for eight years. not for the money and not for the fame, but friendship. yes. i miss my fairweather friends and the only chance i have of being in their company again is to write more hit songs and start getting my picture taken in trendy restaurants with other people who believe themselves to be stars. my very first contribution to my up and coming super success is a biographical ditty called: "SLAP A BITCH," written by Myself, Jared Gosselin and Phillip White - also known as Jared and Whitey. They are also the producers of this song. The great Dave Pensada, mixed and mastered. A quote from the song: "when i was 13, i slapped a bitch." for those of you who download songs for free, i've done you one better. i've made a video. for free and it is one of the most entertaining works of art that you will ever see. A Vma winner for sure. If I don't get an award for this video I'm gonna sue. Someone should sue mtv anyway for false and misleading network name. Anyway. Obama says...yes we can. I say... Boom shaka laka baby. Ladies and gentlemen Men and women Winners and losers, SLAP A BITCH. BY MACY GRAY. COMING SOON. VERY SOON.”

Umm… okay.

Well, my interest has been seriously tweaked because the first single, “Slap a Bitch” is bat-shit crazy and TOTALLY catchy. Subversive, brash, and a party starter. Not sure if this will re-spark her career, and I am certain it will NOT grab the soccer mom’s back… but it might pull in a new funk-hipster crowd that has either forgotten or never knew “I Try.”

What do you think?


I don’t know if this is the actual video but it’s as koo-koo-kaarazy as the lady that sings the song…

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Fame

Best of 2008

Song: The Fame
Artist: Lady GaGa
Album: The Fame

Here’s a slow burner for me. I had been hearing about this Lady GaGa here and there and then finally heard her overseas hit “Just Dance” which has only recently hit the airwaves and clubs here in the States. Then I started to see her advertize on Logo and I was interested enough to get the record and see what she’s about. Besides, I love good electro-pop. But initially I wasn’t sold. I sort of wrote her off as a very light flash in the pan, but as I began to listen to the record the hooks started to take hold, and then lyrically, I thought some of it was rather interesting.

“Just Dance” is the most mainstream of the tracks, but I found myself getting into some of the other sunny club jams like “Summerboy,” “Eh, Eh,” and “Poker Face.” Even the one slow jam, “Brown Eyes” had a cute semi-epic charm, with a great hook. But further listens revealed that the album was taking the essence of our celebrity culture, and using them as love metaphors. The more I heard, I thought about how perfect it was for songs of this type to be produced as pop club music. The themes of the record being what Britney SHOULD be singing about right now. “Paparazzi” uses that “job” as stalker metaphor (“I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me, papa-paparazzi”) and “The Fame” uses our culture’s glitz obsession to marry lyrics that glamorize that life, and then debase it.

If you have a taste for sunny pop with a techno-lite vibe, you’ll really like “The Fame.” And give it the time to grow on you.

She’s also currently feuding with Christina Aguilera if that does anything for you.


Poker Face

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich

Monday, January 05, 2009

Made in the Dark

Best of 2008

Song: Made in the Dark
Artist: Hot Chip
Album: Made in the Dark

Hot Chip has been a slow build for me. I thought their debut was so-so, a little too dorky and jokey to take very seriously. The follow up, “The Warning” was a HUGE improvement… and while the jokey-ness was still there, there was also a new sense of depth, showcased best by “And I Was a Boy From School,” a beautiful mid-tempo electro track that was lyrically strong and emotionally evocative. I was excited for the follow up, and “Made in the Dark” delivered. First single “Ready for the Floor” became my favorite single of theirs ever and I think it’s one of the best songs of the year. The album itself was a marvel, and I actually think their best. It’s a good mix of upbeat and fun jams mixed with a surprising amount of ballads. And good ones.

My favorite hands down is the downbeat title track which I just loved. It’s a beautiful break-up ballad that was certainly unexpected from the kings of dork techno. It belongs in a movie, very cinematic and emotional.


Ready for the Floor

One Pure Thought