Month: August 2012

Smile, egghead.

Exciting music news!

Esthero’s new music video teaches us about the coolness of drunk parenting! I now know it’s okay to drink straight liquor in the middle of the day and neglect your child while she plays with knives, just as long as you’re well-dressed! Yeah!

Avril Lavigne and the Paddle Pop Lion (aka Chad Kroeger) are engaged to be married!

Carly Rae Jepsen, after demonstrating something approaching talent in her audition for Canadian Idol, is now building a career out of recording and performing teenybopper pablum with the emotional maturity of an infant’s explosive diarrhea!

That K’naan song I crapped all over in my last post still blows goats!

Exclamation points make everything sound exciting!

As for me, I have decided to warp my facial hair-growing goal a little. My initial plan was to see if i could go the whole year without trimming my beard in any meaningful way, aside from snipping the odd derelict hair that gets in my mouth when I’m trying to eat. So far, so good.

But why not spice it up a little, and instead of aiming for a year-end trimming extravaganza, make the cut-off point the day I have THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE finished and packaged? It’ll probably be close enough to the end of the year that it won’t make much difference anyway.

If I really wanted to live dangerously, I would shave the whole thing off in recognition of the momentous occasion. But that would be going too far. I think a good trim is enough.

More news on that album soon. I’ve written some recent songs about heart-warming things like Satan welcoming a son into the world and killing yourself to get away from someone you really dislike. I aim to put up a video of the recording of one such new thing sometime in the next week or so. I mean it this time.

What else? I got older this month. I’ve only got one year left now to make my masterpiece, whatever that may be. Robert Smith of The Cure wrote and recorded Disintegration when he was twenty-nine, convinced most artists had done their best work before turning thirty. Hey, it worked for him…

On another note, there’s some good tennis being played right now in the early stages of the US Open — especially on the women’s side. I could have done without seeing the dude from LMFAO in the audience the other night, though.

Beyond bad.

I try to stay away from what I feel is bad music. Most of the time I’m successful. But sometimes it finds me, and there’s nothing to be done. Once in a great while, this unwanted music that finds me is so bad, I have to pause for a moment and ponder the big, universal question: “If there is a God, why would he/she allow this stuff to exist? What purpose does it serve?”

You might tell me that’s two questions instead of one. I’ll tell you it’s a two-pronged single question. Then we’ll fight over it, and Olympic scoring will lead to a controversial result.

I digress. I was unlucky enough to hear K’naan’s new single “Hurt Me Tomorrow” for the first time just now. When I say I heard the song, what I really mean to say is that I heard the first twenty seconds of it, vomited, turned off the television, and changed my clothes. Instead of listening to the rest, I did an internet search to read the lyrics. I guess it’s been a while since I was confronted with a song that shook me to my very core with its awfulness, and I was due. But man…this one sure is something.

K’naan spends most of the song trying to convince a girl not to break up with him by throwing out bad forced rhymes, most of which end with the names of famous people. I’ll just touch on one of those rhymes, and then we’ll examine the chorus, which is the real heart of the song.

I need a button I can push so we can start again,
’cause girl, you bring me to my knees…Nancy Kerrigan.

Think about this for a second. The guy is equating romantic longing with a figure skater being violently clubbed in the knee with a collapsible police baton.

First of all, Nancy was not brought to her knees. Her knee was the part of her body that was attacked. She didn’t then fall to her knees and aggravate the injury further. She sat down and cried. You don’t get shot in the stomach and then poke around inside the wound with your finger to make it worse.

So right away the comparison isn’t really on-point, because the details are wrong.

If what he’s trying to get at is the object of his affection causing him pain that’s comparable to being hit in the knee with a police baton, well, I’m sure that’s going to work out well. Telling someone they’re causing you physical pain without even touching you isn’t going to come off as desperate or self-pitying at all. In fact, being a drama queen is a great way to endear yourself to someone who’s considering leaving you, and it doesn’t give them any indication that they might be moving in the right direction by cutting you out of their life. Doing it in a way that isn’t the least bit poetic or interesting is another selling point. She’ll really appreciate that!

You know what else? Nancy Kerrigan was attacked in 1994. The girl who’s breaking up with you — how old was she when that happened? Three? Does she even know who the hell a 1994 Olympic figure skater is? I’d select my pop culture references more carefully if I were you, man. Ubiquitous as information is now with the internet at everyone’s fingertips, maybe consider dropping a name she might know without having to look it up.

As soul-stirring as that little snippet of song is, the chorus tops it.

This ain’t a good time,
but when is it ever?
I know the perfect time,
and baby that’s never.
So don’t you dare leave me now —
throw my heart on the ground —
’cause tonight ain’t the night for sorrow,
but you can hurt me tomorrow.

Awful rhymes aside, note that he isn’t asking the girl not to break up with him. He’s telling her. “Don’t you dare,” he says. That’s the kind of language you use to threaten someone. That’s the language of an abusive partner.

He says the perfect time is “never”. So, the time it’s okay to break up with him doesn’t exist. And yet, a few lines later, he says tomorrow would be okay. Just not tonight. It’s never a good time, you understand, but tomorrow would work for him.

Maybe it’s a scheduling issue?

If the girl really did throw his heart on the ground, well, there would be no tomorrow. He’d be dead. The body cannot live without the heart, and the physical damage done would be catastrophic beyond the possibility of repair. So I can understand him not wanting her to do that. But why even give her the idea? She just might get so fed up with your shitty song she decides killing you is worth her while.

If you treat the language as being allusive or metaphoric, it’s hackneyed, sophomoric, and lame beyond belief. More than that, it’s an insult to the possibilities of the English language. If you take it at face value, it’s the talk of a person who’s insane and has no concept of time, and no understanding of the workings of the human body.

Oh, pop music. You get dumber all the time.

Cover me.

A funny thought occurred to me just the other day.

For years now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of recording an album of cover songs. Every once in a while I’ll find myself recording someone else’s song, putting my own spin on it, and thinking if I did this sort of thing often enough, eventually there might be enough material for a full album.

Not that I’m anywhere near that point yet. But a little while back, I pulled out my take on “Walking on the Moon”, which I’d all but forgotten about. And I thought, “Hey! I like this! This is good! This would be a good opening track on my hypothetical covers album!”

This got the ideas bouncing around again, and I wrote out “rough list of songs worth tackling #642”. The odd/interesting thing is, these are not, as you might expect, songs that have really had any “influence” on me or what I do. They’re just songs I like and think I could do something interesting with.

So far, every single projected cover song I’d like to tackle was originally recorded in the 1980s. Make of that what you will.

The funny realization was this: because of the cost involved in obtaining the rights to put these songs on an album, I would probably end up limiting myself to ten or a dozen of them at most, so as not to end up spending more money getting permission to record the songs themselves than on the actual making and packaging of the album.

I think it’s kind of hilarious that it’s possible I might someday make the kind of short, concise, ten-song album some people have long wished for me to produce (clearly these are people who haven’t investigated albums like BRAND NEW SHINY LIE), with the catch that not a single song on it will be my own.

That’s just perverse enough to get me more interested in this idea of a covers album than I’ve been in a long time.

So, once THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE is out of the way, along with a collection of cast-offs that may or may not be billed as another misfits collection and whatever more digestible “normal” album comes next, maybe it’ll happen.

Also, those missing albums at CJAM have now been replaced. Hallelujah, praise the fjord.