Are you, or is someone you know, an eenie-meenie-miney-mo lover?

June has been a bit of an off month for me in terms of keeping things regular around here. And I’m not talking about my digestive adventures.

I apologize for the blog slacking to the two or three people who might keep up with what’s going on around these parts. I’ve tried to make my posts about ten times more long-winded than usual to compensate. Rest assured, I’ve been insanely busy on the music front, which is the main reason for my lack of rambling lately. I touched on what I’m working on in the last few posts, but in more graphic detail it looks like this.

I am:

  • Finally putting a concerted effort into pulling together all the disparate threads of this album called THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE, which I’ve been working on here and there over the past three years or so. “Ambitious” is a bit of an understatement when it comes to this thing. There are now well over two hundred songs that have been written with this album in mind, in addition to countless ideas that range from half-there songs to riffs or sketches not yet fully formed enough to know what they want to be. I decided it was time to buckle down and conquer the thing while it was still something I might be able to do without imploding. Otherwise it’s just going to keep swelling up to increasingly grotesque proportions until I give up on ever coming anywhere near finishing it. Somewhere between seventy and eighty songs have already been recorded in one form or another. Some are finished. Some just need to be mixed. some need a lot of work. My plan is to finish/mix the songs in need of finishing/mixing, record thirty or forty more of my favourites, and then shave things down to about the best hundred tracks and call it a day. This means there will be many songs meant for THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE still waiting for a home when I’m finished, but if I put them all in one place right now the results will be far too impenetrable and overwhelming. I figure somewhere down the road I’ll get around to a second volume. As it stands, even with just a hundred songs I estimate it’ll have to be a four-CD set. All that music isn’t going to fit on three discs like I originally thought, and it will end up coming out to about five hours of music. On one album. In one place. If this sounds insane, it’s because it is. But I’m determined to put it together once and for all, and I think if I can do it, and I can do it right, it’ll be something I can be pretty proud of, even if no one else ever has the patience or stamina to wade through it all.
  • Either working on another album of all-new material, with a much more long-winded working title, or not. I’m a little torn. HELLHOUND can go one of two ways. It can either turn into the most absurdly catchy, disturbingly normal-sounding set of songs I’ve put together in a very long time, with the other album going in the complete opposite direction, full of extended experimental pieces that are among the more out-there things I’ve done in recent memory…or I can throw away the idea of separating things and just let the catchiness and weirdness slam into each other head-on. If I take the first route, it means I get to release three new albums at the same time, which would be fun, and ridiculous, and make for a bit more fun with cover art and design, which is something I’m really starting to enjoy these days. Option number two would mean HELLHOUND, instead of being one of my more accessible albums, would become an oddball schizophrenic thing that would probably end up turning into a double CD, what with all the new songs I’m writing, recording now, and will be recording soon. At the moment there are about a dozen of these songs recorded, mixed, and CD-ready, and another twenty or thirty I want to record. The idea of one of my albums being relatively palatable and free of much overt weirdness is something I have mixed feelings about right now (I did it in the past…why do it again?), so I’m leaning in the direction of letting it all bleed together for something more sprawling and unpredictable. At the same time, it would almost be less predictable to put out a somewhat normal album full of catchy little songs, since that’s probably more or less the opposite of what is expected of me at this point. It could really go either way.
  • “Reissuing” CDs from the back catalogue a few at a time with proper cover art for the first time ever. I’ve got about ten of them printed and packaged so far, with about a dozen more on the way. There’s more than that in the vaults (and I’ve got art sorted out for just about everything now), but some of the albums are not exactly priorities for me (and not terribly good, either). Right now I’m concentrating on getting the ones I like best looking spiffy. As I said before, these are not things I’m going to put an effort into widely circulating. They’re available if you want them, but the main reason I’m doing this is for myself. It’s fun to have Papa Ghostface and Guys with Dicks albums looking like proper CDs for the first time ever.
  • Writing new songs and coming up with new ideas pretty much on a daily basis.

This is all going on at the same time, with everything running into everything else. The long and short of it is that I aim to have at least two — maybe three — ridiculously sprawling new albums release-ready (which may well amount to about seven hours of music in total), and twenty or so older albums available with new/proper packaging, all by the end of August. I’m not sure if you’d call this sort of thing multi-tasking, or insanity, or something else, but it’ll be interesting finding out if I can pull it off. I think there’s a good chance I can do it. It’ll be a nice birthday present to myself to feel like I’ve finally put a medium-sized dent in all the music I need to record.

See, when I don’t put out a new album for four or five months — and by my standards, that’s like not putting anything new out there for a year — it’s not because I’m taking time off. It’s because I’m shopping for a tweed jacket in Panama.

So there’s that. This is what I was talking about when I said, “Expect a lot of new music relatively soon-ish, hopefully before the end of the summer.”

Should we do a random angry rant/tirade now? It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? I think we should go for it. Alright then.

You know, I thought I’d heard some pretty horrible music, with some pretty soul-destroying lyrics. I thought I’d heard about the worst the world had to offer. But today popular music has plummeted to a new low. I suppose it technically sunk to that level when this song was written and recorded, but today was the first time I ever heard it, and I’ve never wanted quite so much to erase something from my brain.

I’m talking about a Justin Bieber/Sean Kingston duet called “Eenie Meenie Miney Mo Lova”. Roll that around on your tongue for a moment or two.

A lot of love-related songs have been written over the years, some good, some bad, but this shit has managed to shave IQ points off of the entire songwriting language in one fell swoop. On the surface it’s about a girl who’s a player, though you’d have a hard time sussing it out given how awe-inspiring the lyrics are in their stupidity. Here they are.

Eenie meenie miney mo.
Catch a bad chick by her toe.
If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go.

Right. So, we start off with an age-old schoolyard rhyme, and somehow it’s applied to a female specimen we are meant to associate negative connotations with. If she shouts, let her go. Or, “No means no.” Or something.

She’s indecisive.
She can’t decide.

Holy fucking shit! We didn’t get the point when you told us she was indecisive. Good thing you explained that for us.

She keeps on lookin’
from left to right.

I’m glad to hear her eyes are capable of moving horizontally without trouble.

Girl, c’mon, get closer.
Look in my eyes.
Searchin’ is so wrong.
I’m Mr. Right.

So…you like her, and you’re amazing, and she should take your word for it. Playing the field is a bad thing. Searching is wrong? Okay. I’ll remember that next time I see your face on a milk carton.

You seem like the type
to love ’em and leave ’em
and disappear right after this song.

You already know she’s flighty, and you know very well what you’re getting into. You even acknowledge that she’ll probably be gone by the time the song is over. Why are you wasting your time? Are you dense? Are you that hard up for an audience?

So give me the night
to show you, hold you.
Don’t leave me out here dancin’ alone.

If you were dancing alone, I don’t think she’d want to mack on you in the first place. Dancing with yourself is generally not considered cool. It tends to mean no one wants to dance with you. Unless you’re Billy Idol. Then dancing with yourself carries a different meaning, especially in the case of the extended mix.

You can’t make up your mind, mind, mind, mind, mind.

Apparently neither can you, because you tell us something and feel the need to repeat it several times, either to fill empty space or to make sure us simpletons catch your meaning, which is about as deep as a puddle of piss after not consuming any liquids for a week. Carry on, though.

Please don’t waste my time, time, time, time, time.
I’m not tryin’ to rewind, wind, wind, wind, wind.

Sounds more like you’re stuck on repeat than anything.

I wish our hearts could come together as one.

Hearts have orgasms? Even if they do, I hope you realize life isn’t quite the same as what you see in the movies. Orgasms are so rarely perfectly synchronized.

‘Cause shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shawty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.

Congratulations! You’ve just written the most pathetically stupid chorus to ever grace a piece of music. Also, Justin — or whoever is responsible for crafting your image — in case you didn’t know, you’re not black. Unless the girl you’re singing about is three feet tall, you should probably figure out some other pet name for her. “Shawty” doesn’t exactly sound hip coming out of your mouth. That goes for you too, Stereos.

Here’s a suggestion, wannabe white R&B pretenders: stop appropriating lingo created by African American artists, stop dressing like rappers and trying to act like you’re “street” when you probably don’t even have any pubic hair yet and have led a charmed life very far from the street, and maybe people who are older than twelve will start to take you a little more seriously. Here’s another piece of advice: when an article is followed by a noun that begins in a vowel or a silent h, said article usually changes to reflect this and become more phonetically pleasing. In this case, “a” should be “an”. This is called simple, common sense grammar. They teach it in grade school.

Let me show you what you’re missin’.
With me you’re winning, girl.
You don’t have to roll the dice.

So she’s a gambler too? Dude, what are you doing?! You’re not going to convince this girl you’re more exciting than a game of roulette. You can’t compete with the thrill of potentially destroying her life, or winning an insane amount of money, or both, in a matter of moments. At best, maybe you’re a momentary distraction. Give it up.

Tell me what you’re really here for.
Them other guys?
I can see right through ya.

Your powers of perception truly boggle the mind.

You seem like the type
to love em and leave ’em
and disappear right after this song.
So give me the night
to show you, hold you.
Don’t leave me out here dancin’ alone.

That’s right. Gotta repeat the pre-chorus hook. Gotta be a good little generic do-nothing, say-nothing pop song.

Can’t make up your mind.
Please don’t waste my time.

Don’t waste YOUR time? If she hasn’t told you to get lost by now, she’s just being nice. You’re wasting her time with your bad grade school poetry. Actually, that’s an insult to grade school poetry, which kind of looks like Cormac McCarthy next to this stuff.

Not tryin’ to rewind.
I wish our hearts could come together as one.

Again with the chestgasms. Give it up. There isn’t a condom big enough to hold your heart.

Cause shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.

Eenie meenie miney moe.
Catch a bad chick by her toe.
If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go.
Eenie meenie miney moe.
Catch a bad chick by her toe.
If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go.

Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.
Shorty is a eenie meenie miney mo lova.

Can’t make up your mind.
Please don’t waste my time.
Not tryin to rewind.
I wish our hearts could come together as one.

So…what have we learned here? You thought this girl was a player, but you tried to convince her you were more exciting than those other guys. You wanted to have an orgasm in your heart with her. But instead of developing any kind of meaningful connection or saying anything of substance, you settled for calling her an eenie-meenie-miney-mo lover about two hundred times and grabbing her by the toe.

Congratulations. You, my friend, are a douchebag. You could have just rubbed one out and saved us the trouble of being subjected to this awesomely pathetic drivel you call a song.

I have nothing against Justin personally. He serves his purpose, even if it’s one that makes me throw up in my mouth a little, and preteen girls do need their manufactured soulless pop tarts. But if anyone got paid any amount of money to have a hand in writing that atrocity of a song (and believe me, someone did), it was a sad day in the history of songwriting when it happened. This right here is why I don’t listen to the radio or watch much TV. This is the shit that, if you hear enough of it, makes you wonder why you bother making music at all when what really sells and touches people is something a five-year-old could write. Fortunately I stay far enough away from popular music most of the time that my contempt stays at a low throb and doesn’t often boil over like it used to.

But seriously. Shawty is an eenie-meenie-miney-mo lova? Are you fucking kidding me? Buy some brain cells, people. This is not music. It’s a really, really poorly put together product. I hesitate to even call it a product. It’s more like a musical bowel movement that only got about halfway there, amounting to some half-hearted gas and a few brown flakes.

Actually, it’s worse than that. Pardon the disgusting comparison, but this song is the musical equivalent of an anal fissure. And if you’ve ever heard Kevin Smith talk about an anal fissure, you know it ain’t pretty. I’m not even going to get into the actual music. The lyrics are enough of a stain on the soul of humanity all on their own. This song pretty much does what the dog is doing in this comic strip.

Someday a rain will come and wash away all the brain-dead Auto-Tuned scum, leaving all the weak and tone-deaf voices exposed for their true selves, and this artificial bullshit will no longer be enough to provide the springboard for and then form the basis of an entire career. It might not happen in my lifetime, but it’ll be a great day nonetheless. The death of at least a small amount of artifice. Maybe a little bit of the stuff that can actually be called real music will trickle to the surface, having a little less rancid crap to compete with.

What a beautiful dream.

And…end rant. Maybe it wasn’t the best one of all time, but I think it was pretty good. It had swear words and everything. I’d put it somewhere in the top twenty.

Also, it seems I’m suddenly getting a whole lot of traffic from people searching for Kate Beckinsale. All this based on one post where I mentioned her in one sentence, briefly, in the context of a Chandler mixing console. Interesting. I would post a whole whack of pictures of Kate to placate anyone who’s come here looking for her only to leave disappointed, but that would feel a little odd.

Elsewhere, this is the time of year when my Wurlitzer is at its friendliest, so there may be a fair amount of it showing up on at least one of the forthcoming albums. The action always gets a little sticky and develops a bad attitude during the colder months, though the tuning is never effected. This makes it a little frustrating to record, because you’ll be playing a song when suddenly a few notes just don’t make any sound when you press down on the keys. The summer is apparently Wurlitzer Season, when the weird action dissipates for a good few months, so I’d best be taking advantage of the respite.

It goes without saying that you should expect to hear a little bit of just about everything on THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE, from thirty-second acoustic fragments, to ten-minute spoken word pieces, to weird electronic tracks, salsa, and everything in-between. As for what to expect from HELLHOUND, well…I seem to be concentrating an awful lot on acoustic guitar. I don’t know why acoustic keeps trumping electric most of the time. I’m long overdue to let it rip on an electric guitar over the course of a whole album instead of just a song or two here and there. It must be the wood.

The lyrics I’m writing right now feel like some of the best I’ve written in a while. There are plenty of typical Johnny West-isms (whatever that means), but there are also some ideas and issues being addressed that are quite a bit larger and more serious than the things I typically sing about. There’s a song called “Everyone You Love Is Dead” (now there’s a cheerful title!) that ponders what the afterlife may or may not be like, assuming there is such a thing. There’s a song written from the perspective of a man whose partner commits suicide because of the atrocities he witnesses while participating in what may or may not be the war in Iraq. Another song spends most of its time comparing the behaviour of a sociopath to that of a professional assassin. This is not typical subject matter for me. I couldn’t tell you where it’s coming from. As usual, it’s just the stuff that comes out.

I hope you’re all naked in hammocks somewhere, enjoying the summer weather and scaring people with your lack of tan lines. I know I am.


  1. I heard/saw a “song” once, “performed” by Sean Kingston, called Fire on the Dance Floor. It was officially the crappest piece of crap I have ever seen/heard.

    It was so crap, I had to google “Sean Kingston is Crap”, just to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind. I hadn’t. Lots of people agree, but very disturbingly, even more don’t.

    The most disturbing thing happened when I found the lyrics, and lo and behold! it was written by not one, not two, not three, not even four people, but FIVE PEOPLE. It took five people to come up with that crap.

    So, of course I had to check this little piece of (f)art, eenie meenie miney mo lova, and guess what??? No, not five, not even six … it took SEVEN PEOPLE to come up with it!

  2. Justin Bieber is probably the biggest reason I’ll end up stopping with this music thing. If that’s what music is, I want no part of it.

    Also, can we talk about the fact that those lyrics are kind of violent towards women?

    “Catch a bad chick by the toe, if she hollars let her go”

    First off, the original incarnation of that rhyme is actually quite racist (Take out ‘tiger’ and insert the n-bomb)

    Secondly, if Justin is making women “Hollar” in this manner, perhaps he should go back to school and re-take sex-ed classes where they explain harrassment.

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