Posts from January 2002
A*Teens and Alice Cooper in year’s most unlikely collaboration: Tom wants the rest of us to contribute more? Fine. I decided to view the NME website for the first time in months and saw this bizarre headline staring me in the face. My mind boggled as I read the article; what could this possibly sound like? Alice Cooper’s threatening-for-the-70s guitar-rock combined with shiny Abba-pop isn’t a concept I find easy to grasp. I wonder if the video will feature a sexily sadistic nurse chopping off the A*Teens’ heads with a guillotine while Cooper does a fully-choreographed dance number (complete with dancers and neat, jittery camera angles) in the background.
This Is My Truth: “Unless something hugely dramatic happens before February 1, 2002 the courts will declare that Richey [Edwards] is legally dead.” (from Mojo Magazine, February 2002)
“It was Alexander Pope who said “A little learning is a dangerous thing”, and never has this been more clear than in the release of The Chemical Brothers fourth Long Player. Electronica’s darlings, the dancesmiths its okay to rock out to appear to have stumbled out into the Post World War II twilight and are unsure of what mood to kow-tow to. Somehow the skippity sledgehammer beats do not instill the euphoria of those previous days and it is unlike that Frank Capra wil be using Tod and Em Chem’s newer disc to underpin his new feelgood feelbad movie Its A Wonderful Life.
Star Guitar is their answer to The Drugs Don’t Work, which someone somewhere said. But as an answer it should only be given an F, and perhaps post the great crash of 1929 the Chemicals don’t work either. Even getting an inspirational diva of the calibre of Beth Orton in can do nothing but suggest that this – much like The Basement Jaxx and The Daft Punks of this world are the same old same old. No-one’s buying dance music in the States and all you English people do not understand the pain of walking round the Lower East Side with only a pair of headphones for company.”
What all the reviews of this album are actually saying is, this is the only album which has been released this month so I’ve got to use all of my purple prose on it even though it is the dullest slice of turgid bollocks I have ever heard. But then they pay music journalists by the word…
More pubs than you think I was amazed to discover the number of pubs in my local area that I didn’t even know existed, let alone have visited. A sign on the pub wall last night listed all the pubs in the vicinity which were affiliated to the local “pubwatch” scheme – and I hadn’t heard of most of them. The Three Compasses? The Famous Pig & Whistle? The Wishing Well? Obviously more strenuous efforts are needed to be find out whether these places are any good.
I like Ja Rule. Not a lot. But well enough. (Meaning I don’t switch the station when he comes on.) Everyone I know – from the predictable white guys who only listen to J5 or Can Ox to hardcore hiphop self-flagellates of any color or creed – hates the guy. With a passion bordering on irrationality. He is loathed by the underground for all the usual anti-bling bling reasons, the streets for selling out by making slicked up luvva-thug r&b. Nitsuh even called him his pop nemesis, baffling me when so many other deserving targets of fruitless aggression are clogging up pop’s pores. (#1 – Scott Stapp.)
Chemical Brothers: Come with Us: Pitchfork Review: “the quick reflexes and primal urges of a cheetah hunt”!!? What is it about the record that is doing this to reviewers?
Let’s text Sophie Ellis-Bextor! “Can you fit your face inside a childs activity centre” is one I would certainly like her to answer.
Collapsing New Waves: I like the sound of synthesisers, so I like the sound of this art-snob Electroclash synth revival even though the best synthdisco record I’ve heard this year is also the oldest (Sugababes/GirlsOnTop/AdinaHoward/Numan, expect review when work backlog clears). This article’s a bit in love with itself, though – Fad Gadget may feel more relevant now than they have done for a good while but the dots here don’t join up. And the piece is rife with do-you-see? lyrical analysis – “he and his sweetie snog “in the shade of a rubber tree” — possibly grown from a seed, possibly made of old tires (or, perhaps, bearing the rubbers that catch one’s seed).” Clever stuff, no?
LES SAVY FAV – “Adopduction”
I was kidnapped!
I dreamed I was kidnapped!
And so the song begins, riding like a car with a bad transmission, and Tim Harrington is the poor kid gagged & bound in the trunk, head smacking against the inside of the trunk lid, piecing together the story as it comes to him. After detailing the situation a bit (describing his captors), the song hits a semblance of a groove – this would be the part where the car pulls over to the side of some deserted road and his captors lead poor Tim into some shoddy cabin. And little Tim is tied to a rickety splintering chair, sweating underneath a musty light blue pillowcase, talking to himself as the guy with the moustache and the chick with the eyepatch take turns talking into a cloth-wrapped cellphone. And, then, things change – “So if slowly, I could trust them – dare I say it, even love them – who’s to blame?” Banging the point home is the world’s most demure Beach Boys harmonizing, a miniature chorus of “wooo-oooo” mocking every wistful detail – getting glasses, making ransom notes, eating dinner – digging at the scab the same way two fingers rubbing together like cricket’s legs diffuse any bathetic tale of woe, the same way that ratty rope rubs against his wrists, the same way the trunk hood kissed his forehead.
This is the dream of a kid that feels completely abandoned. That’s the saddest thing thing – it isn’t the narrator getting closer to his captors, or his family not caring enough to actually get him back for more than half the original ransom. It’s the fact that all of this is a dream, and he’ll wake up, and he’ll be back with the family that couldn’t give a rat’s ass about him, and there won’t be any saviors waiting in the wings with duct tape and handcuffs, offering salvation, offering an escape, offering some small sign that he matters. Instead, he’s left talking to himself, at night, in bed, in the dark, where the wonder of the adventure turns into something less enjoyable – “Although we got so close, you know they never even told me their real names.”
Eventually, he goes back to sleep.
“Great music, like all great art, should transcend its time.” Serious people, like philosophers and poets, say things like this because they believe great art enters human beings into communion with the categorical — Truth and Beauty and Morality and all those other good things. I suspect lame rock critics mouth mush like this out of a neurotic need to divide the damned and the saved within music with big black lines. Or maybe they just exaggerate their hatred of faddish things so as to not look stupid five years later, when everyone has long realized that the New New Thing was in fact merely the New DJ Spooky or the New Britpop. Or maybe they say it out of a complete lack of anything substantive to say about their objects of love.