“Cups” (Jellosea Remix)

 

Beating a dead horse: the horse stays dead and your arms get tired. But SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES, you can beat a dead horse back to life! I’m talking figuratively! About music! Please do not try at home!

Raise your horse-beating hands if you’re sick of “Cups.” Even Anna Kendrick has no idea why it’s still a thing. But I gots to admit, this remix is sliiiiiiiick. Perfect for driving through the misty mountains or past the roiling sea at midnight. Could also see it on an “eating acid with my boyfriend and then making love to body pillows in the dark” soundtrack. You know. Choose your own adventure. Enjoy!

I did Google “Anna Kendrick in space” before making this in MS Paint – no dice.

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It’s Gonna Be Cray: N*SYNC to Reunite at VMAs!

I have a bit of a loins itch because N*SYNC is reuniting at the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday. Rumor has it, aka truth has it. THIS IS SO BIG! Heartwarming moment for millenials everywhere!

Man, I totally remember 2002, when Timberlake debuted without the group, and I was like “This is bullshit, the age of the solo artist is OVER and boy bands are the way of the FUTURE!” Then Justin was all narrowed-eyes and “Don’t fear me baby…it’s just Justin,” and that’s when I finally realized what ladyparts are for. You won the battle, Timberlake, and over the next ten years you would also thoroughly win the war.

But I’m always up for a little nostalgia. Welcome back, Backstreet-Boys-with-more-charisma! This I promise you: SHIT IS GONNA GET HOT.

I can’t see them performing my all-time favorite N*SYNC masterpiece, “Pop,” because of course that song has already been sexed, done, and buried. Let’s go back to 2001, a magical time when nothing hurt and the future was full of lace-up jeans and Lunchables…

I scoured the effing Internet for this clip, because Sony was hellbent on protecting their copyright. Too bad, bitches, I was on a mission. Things I’d like you to watch for: JC Chasez’s charming cha-cha at 1:39 and the “surprise guest” at the end of the video. Classic!

Everyone pumped for the VMAs? What song do you think they’re gonna sing? Does Chris Kirkpatrick still look like a rock-alt hobbit? The anticipation, y’all!

Song of the Day: 4+20


A perfect song. For solitary stares into the distance in the high of summer. I guess there are a few songs that I hold so close to my heart that they’re hard to share; this is one.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young are embedded very deeply in my emotional DNA. I discovered them around age 10, and because my angst glands developed early, I found a lot of meaning in their sublime harmonies and poetry. Stephen Stills is my favorite because he writes simple songs that are just soul-crushing in their profundity. This particular song, “4+20,” has never meant to much to me as it does now, having just turned 24.

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Sometimes when I think about my favorite music, about the folk singers and rock stars of the 1960s, I get sad about the miasma of death that surrounds their work. Well, that might be a little melodramatic — maybe just the pressing weight of time. Where their music bloomed youthful once, now it’s got an oldie sort of quaintness. As we are now, you will be; as you are now, we once were.

Awhile back, I saved this Youtube comment I found about this song, on some other random live recording. It’s absolutely amazing, and said everything about it that I couldn’t articulate.

i can smell the room where i first heard this, as i listen. new carpet and there’s a hint of cigarette smoke. outside sits a ‘67 chevelle on a gravel driveway. this sound was an island of reason in a very confused little town on the prairie. we had these little discoveries on black discs of plastic. they were hard to find before computers and we shared them in person and listened together with the reverence of communion.

I like that this song is about youth, but it’s also about the end, and being alone. I guess it’s about feeling the hourglass run out, even though time is on your side.

A different kind of poverty now upsets my soul
Night after sleepless night, I walk the floor and want to know
Why am I so alone?
Where is my woman? Can I bring her home?
Have I driven her away?
Is she gone?

Funnily enough, this song never makes me feel depressed. It makes me feel very present; alarmingly alive. Because I think about Stephen Stills, singing, 24 years old, and how just for the few minutes he played his guitar in front of this crowd, nobody got any older.

Hip-Hoppelgangers: Trailer Debuts for “CrazySexyCool”

CrazySexyCool
Release: October 2013

PRAISE! Behold the wildly uncanny likenesses of T-Boz, Chilli, and Left-Eye, for the CrazySexyCool trailer has come!

God bless you, VH1 executives, in your pure vision. For you did not just film a biopic starring actors who don’t quite fit into their wigs (I see you, Jacksons). You inserted these three into your magic TLC bone-restructuring machine, and created a trio of frighteningly accurate skinwalkers. Save for the subtle tell of Lil’ Mama’s overwrought biceps, this is the most successful resurrection since Jeebus himself.

(Also, speaking of Lil’ Mama, how perfect is she as Left Eye? This girl is on FIRE! Pause for effect. Too soon?)

I mean…God, this looks good. Like it actually doesn’t look that bad. Those “Waterfalls” shoulder pops are so on point I’m jealous. I don’t think I’ve heaped praise on a VH1 original movie like this EVER. I’m actually not used to their films looking good, so paradoxically my expectations are lower. I don’t know how to feel. Since when was quality a watchword on this network??

So obviously I’m going to be lacing up my hi-tops and breaking out the lone-eye war paint this fall, and enjoying this movie in the comfort of my 90s nostalgia. Won’t you join me? It’s MTB! MTB! MEANT 2 BE!

Jennifer Lopez’s “Play”: A Definitive Guide

I think it was about four months ago that I had a Bar Mitzvah-themed party, and this was on the playlist. I don’t think people realize I’m still actively listening to that playlist. Thought I’d brighten your Throwback Thursday with this amazing 2001 gem that invariably gets me doing the power-sprinkler on any dance floor. Including my bedroom floor. I do this really good supine sprinkler that propels me in a carpet circle.

Like, what’s happening here? Jenny’s flying in billion-dollar comfort through some kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland, while her personalized J-LO logo feeds into every technology system on her personal airship? REGAL. I have to give props to Jenny’s come-hither facial strategies during this whole situation. She says so much, and so little, with just a slow-motion blink.

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And then she’s like, “I’m really bored of watching this Planet of the Apes scenery so let me hit up that club in coach. Garçon! Bring me my  traditional woven white Ed Hardy blouse. And my curling iron, the one made of a mammoth tusk, because I’m feeling ethnically questionable VOLUME tonight.” And she just marches that shit straight into the Chrome Ballroom, into her throng of cryogenically frozen party people, hurtling through space right along with her.

Also I guess once she’s been dancing for 37 seconds, she needs to take a quick break in the anti-gravity sauna? I’m obsessed with what this man is doing in there:

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Is he pouring powdered ecstasy into his mouth using wind power? He’s like “Oh, I didn’t know anyone else would come in here, can I just finish this up real quick?” And then J-Lo’s back in the turbine chamber, working that low-angled camera, having left this molly-addled loner to his business.

Can I also add that this song and video features some of the BEST spoken-word bridge in pop history? I JUST WANNA DANCE. IS THAT A CRIME? ALL RIGHT THEN. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lipsynced those words, only to ignore everyone around me (they always seem to nod after I ask “Is that a crime?” That’s why you never look at people during the pause before “All right then”). There’s also a lot of different facial options you can pursue for the line “Yeah, that’s the hotness right there.” Jenny approaches it with a kind of cool appraising confidence, while I like to experiment with sexual satisfaction or surprise. Like, looking down at my own spastic body. Yeah! That’s the hotness right there!

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Also have to appreciate her confrontational scene here, with the unseen DJ. She really takes him to task on his job function. I mean, I think it’s reasonable. She even addresses him with a salutation. “Now, Mr. DJ. I’ve asked you three times. PLAY MY MOTHERFUCKING SONG.” She takes the sting out of it with a little giggle, too, so he knows she’s just kidding and he has total job security on the Pimptronica Blimp. And I guess he does play her motherfucking song, because before long we get to see all of those well-dressed hostages totally passed out while J-Lo bounces her ass amongst them in the morning light. Side note, appreciate her aggressive head grooving at 3:03. I’ve done that – without double-hair-buns, so the effect was muted, but I’ve still done it.

And then, right before the party sails into the sun, headed for some fiery synthy doom, Jenny capitulates her aforementioned points with one final ASS SWIVEL. She’s the queen!!! Have YOU ever successfully ended a story with an ass swivel? Royal.

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Well, this has been a super productive 20 minutes. I say that with no sarcasm as the writer, but a lot of sarcasm for you as the reader. But don’t play like you didn’t just download. It’s not negotiable. I asked you three times.

Cory Monteith’s Sudden Goodbye

R.I.P., Cory Monteith. A clumsy, earnest, and unexpectedly authentic actor that I could never justify hating. And that’s a big deal when it comes to Glee. Cory had a pleasant and pure presence from his first moments on the show. It was he who carried the first season. Cory was eventually eclipsed by more flamboyant performers, like Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, and his Finn Hudson went from endearing football hunk to awkward country has-been. But despite the cruel barbs thrown at him by screenwriters and choreographers, Cory brought his role to life with sweet honesty. His death was so unexpected. A real case of you-don’t-know-what-you-got-till-it’s-gone.

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The thing is, Cory was unremarkable as an actor. He was just okay. He had his moments, but for the most part he coasted along affably, screwing up the more dramatic moments and lumbering nervously through scenes. But he had something that’s often harder to come by on a hit primetime show, and that’s innocence. Cory seemed like a really good guy who tried his hardest. He was guileless and just nice. And because Ryan Murphy writes for actors’ personalities due to a lack of creativity and vision, Finn was guileless and just nice. He was an everyday jock with a sunshine smile.

It’s going to be interesting to see what direction Glee will take. Personally, I feel like Lea Michele may ask to be written out of the show. Her real-life relationship with Cory appeared to be adorable and healthy, and the pain of continuing on the series in his conspicuous absence will probably be too much. Knowing Glee, his death will become a poorly handled storyline, stunningly offensive in its execution. I suppose when he signed that contract, he had no way of knowing he was resigning his legacy to a soul-sucking reptile like Ryan Murphy, typing away in his deep hole where morals go to die.

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I’ll miss Cory. His open face and untrained, occasionally beautiful voice were good reasons for me to invest in this show. He was a nobody who was catapulted into fame and was shockingly cool and approachable about it. A humble and kind Average Joe. It’s just a shame, plain and simple.

Here’s one of my fave performances of Cory’s, a duet with Lea Michele where the chemistry is lovely and palpable. Break your heart a little bit.

She Blue Herself: Britney Spears’ “Ooh La La”

Ooh La La
Britney Spears
2013

Britney’s smurfed-out new video came out today. This is a really good example of “I watched it so you don’t have to,” because it sucked out a lot of my life force.

The song has been latched onto my brain for days like some kind of sonically engineered hungry protozoa. Get Brit into that breezy high octave and there is literally nothing I can do to resist. I mean, obviously it sucks, but since my generation all grew up bathed in the Holy Light of B-Spears, there’s a certain pleasure to her releasing anything new in 2013.

Please do not subject yourself to this, though. It’s all Smurfs and languid, medication-enhanced fist pumping. There’s definitely an exploding duck in there. And Neil Patrick Harris. Is it me or have Britney’s eyes become really desperate and sad? I mean, not just emotion-wise, but shape-wise. There are several frames in this video where she frantically works to un-droop her gaze. Her brow bones seem to literally be collapsing under the weight of vestigial mid-2000s trauma.

I also encourage you to remind yourself that all the Smurfs were CGI-ed into this later. I’m obsessed with imagining Britney flirting with her empty flat hand in front of a green screen. Post-fame in a perfect nutshell. Actually, I can’t think of a better description of Brit herself than “perfect nutshell.”

Yoü And I (Mark Taylor Remix)

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For reasons I can’t explain, Jo Calderone has been on my mind lately. I miss him. I miss Gaga’s ever-so-brief comeback. Born This Way was not a very ambitious album overall (almost every song sounds the same), but it doesn’t matter, because it showcased the finest composition of her career, “Yoü and I.” The rawness of the lyrics, her honeyed voice, the musical triumph of it all! Gaga’s so talented when she’s real, and when she’s not blatantly Madonna-ing all over me, I’m so in it with her.

Here’s a fantastic remix I stumbled upon via Spotify. It’s much more dancey, which I think brings out the nostalgic joy of the song. Something about lonely nights, and my lipstick on ya face.


Just for posterity, I’m posting an old Tumblr post that I spat out after the “Yoü and I” video was released.

Okay, so here is my thing about this video. Well, first let’s get macro: I really do support and appreciate Lady Gaga’s assertion that she represents gender issues by occupying an objectified media-whore space. She says she brings problems of femininity to light by perfectly embodying THE OBJECT. And through purposely performing that identity, she becomes THE SUBJECT, and starts dialogue about power, relationships, culture, etc. Cool. Thumbs up.

This song, Yoü And I, really zinged me in the heart when it first came out. It sounded like some of her most honest and universally appealing work – she’s bare and vulnerable and wailing about how the love of her life will never truly fade from her soul. It is by far the most sensitive and real track off Born This Way.

I am a little disappointed by this video, because on the one hand it is so conceptually ambitious and emotionally complex, and on the other, it’s a total retread of all of her artistic endeavors. The strongest parts of it, by far, are the brief glimpses of Gaga’s gritty Italian greaser alter-ego Jo Calderone and his reverent girlfriend with lips and hair like sweet corn. Their relationship is represented in raw, sexy strokes, like an old Fellini romance or a James Dean film. Now THAT’S a rumination on the exchange of power between a man and a woman – aggression mediated by understanding, rough meeting soft, love conquering brutal strength.

Jo was a flesh-and-blood iteration of the best, most relevant work that Gaga’s done for the reinvention of the female pop artist. More confrontational femme masculinity, please, sweet Lady. Vive Calderone!

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“Fembot” – Robyn

Robyn seems to go with everything. Room cleaning, work, studying, vajazzling. Gentle rap and flesh-jiggling synthesized beats. Currently IN THE ZONE with the Body Talk album and I don’t care if my colleagues happen to catch me lipsyncing my fave lines. Too late because I just mouthed “AUTOMATIC BOOTY APPLICATIONS” in my boss’ general direction.

River Flow: Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher”

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I wrote this piece at the behest of Faye, my best and constant digital companion. She ran it in Reality Sandwich, the online magazine she works with, which is really cool and I love her for it. It appears here.

“What is your favorite song?” she asked me in the dead of night, eyes black and limpid in the dark.
She climbed into my bed, then, and we huddled together with the reverence of communion, two twelve-year olds bathing in waterfalls of melancholy piano and deep male vibrato. Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher” valiantly poured out of my five-dollar speakers and I stared into my friend’s face, willing her to taste what I tasted. “It’s like a river,” she whispered as the low chords built and roiled. It was a strange word for a pop song, somehow holy. Yes, a river.

The song takes me somewhere new, ancient, still, deep. It took me somewhere even then, when I was a little girl. Even before I grew up and learned about art and religion and self-actualization. It was my first experience with a song that went beyond the ear or even the heart. It wasn’t the lyrics or the story contained within them, although it was lovely and poignant: a woman remembers the teacher she once loved in the blush of her youth. “He was not that much older than I was…he told me he liked Turner; never have I turned since then.” I did not yet understand the act of mourning lost innocence, nor the desperate human beauty that touches us even when we barricade ourselves behind material possessions. I only understood the voice and the piano and the vortex it opened up inside me.

Years passed and I kept listening to that song, kept closing my eyes in cars and beds and green fields, touching the divine as soon as the first notes started. It was that piano, like a river, speaking of time endless and the profundity of loss, of dreaming, of growing and dying. The way the chords just tumbled into one another and repeated, repeated, louder and softer, like a fractal. And his voice did not sound human to me. It made me just feel. It was deep and sweet and biting like honey, too weighted with memories to contain only one small life. It contained every experience; the voice was male and mature, but the sound echoed from within a womb, with a woman’s tenderness. ‘The Art Teacher’ was mine. I did not play it for very many people after that night when I was twelve. It was mine alone to experience, so meaningful that it made me nervous. Eternity contained in three minutes. Not a song but a ritual. A solar eclipse. Mine. Ours. Everything.