Posts from 17th November 2003

Nov 03

The Voice Inside

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 361 views

The Voice Inside – Christina Aguilera

I’ve never been a Christina Aguilera fan at all, not her records or her image or anything. But this is really terrific. Obviously I knew she had a strong voice, but I didn’t think she had the wit or sensitivity to use it really well. I was wrong.

This starts as a simple little ballad, and the vocal faffing around is mostly kept to a minimum, singing the notes in straightforward fashion, but with feeling. There is some technical gimmickry on the odd word but it’s not too much. Then it builds and builds and in no time Christina has reached power levels beyond the grasp of 99% of others and she keeps going, and by the time very late on when a gospel choir fires up in the background and she nonetheless finds even more force (this isn’t just volume, it’s texture and character and feeling in the voice) to still dominate, I was completely won over. It’s one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard in a long time.

I said something about this record the other day, and guessed that she’d still look completely terrible in the vid, but I just saw that too and I’m wrong – classily filmed B&W, simple little silvery dress, black hair, looking sexy, the camera just pointed at her and staying there, but best of all she acts the song well. This is tremendous stuff, and makes me feel like listening to her other records again, see if I feel differently about that, as I really don’t know if I will.

Pleasing moment bought on by needless watching of Brazil / Peru

TMFDPost a comment • 341 views

Pleasing moment bought on by needless watching of Brazil / Peru in the pub last night. Yes, we wanted Brazil to get spanked because everyone wants the underdog to win. But we found ourselves more and more drawn to the good players of Peru. Was it the pluck? Was it the vim and verve with which they passed the ball. Or was it the uncanny resemblence their strip has to the trade dress of Red Stripe cans of lager?

As insidious as the lumbering behemoth that the summer action blockbuster has become

Do You SeePost a comment • 377 views

As insidious as the lumbering behemoth that the summer action blockbuster has become, is the summer quality film. Last year it was The Road To Perdition that was bigged up as the well crafted summer movie that will sweep all the Oscars, this year it was Seabiscuit. And as cold and as calculating as most of the soulless summer effects laiden films, none are more cynical than this attempt to big up the little guy. Especially when that little guy is Americee.

The leaden delivery of the voiceover giving us needless history lessons epitomizes all that is wrong with this supposed tale of a plucky horse. Whose story is it? Is it Horse Whisperery mystic Chris Coopers end of the west story. Is it vomiting Tobey Maguire’s story, a depression era tragic of being physically unfit to do anything properly but still being allowed to do it. Is it Jeff Bridges, who now acts almost identically to Kermit the Frog, and his huckster entrepreneur. Is it the horses story? It is frankly difficult to say, the film starts twenty years before all the action, and continues for another year or so after the obvious climax.

The only really spectacular thing about Seabiscuit is the hair design. Chris Cooper is aged to look like Harvey Keitel with the hair of a brillo pad soaked in milk. And Tobey Maguire’s red head is about as convincing as someone with red paint on their bonce. They spent more time and money making up the horses than they did on the humans. Which is a pity cos this is an old nag.

ζ is for…Catherine Zeta Jones

I Hate Music3 comments • 955 views

Who was, until a year ago a fine, bona-fide movie actress. until she became the devil. There I was going to the cinema to see a hard hitting period dramam about murder in the Windy City in the 1920’s. What did I get. I got the bob-hairdoed CZJ belting out ‘The Jazz’. Which isn’t even Jazz (which is a small mercy I should suppose). Chicago was a hit, it even won Oscars, which may mean it will never be safe for me to enter a cinema again for fear of some jumped up chorine warbling songs with no merit outside a storyline, getting in the way of the storyline.

And as for the Cell Block Tango: There is a reason they put these women in prison, and it was not murder. It was music.

ε is for…The Epsilon

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 691 views

What do you mean you have never heard of the Epsilon. You’ve not heard of central Pa’s hottest up-and-coming band. Come on they’ve played Fat Daddies Deb Place twice. Why only last month the managed to attract the attention of someone or other at The Rusty Nail in Ardmore. Don’t tell me you took the title to their legendary set opener ‘Ignore Me’ literally.

Lookee here. The Epsilon. The hottest up-and-coming band in central Pa. You heard it here last. Especially if their lyrics are anything to go by. I like alcohol more than the next man, but if the lyrics to either versions Two 40’s are anything to go by, these chaps will be getting a slap round the chops from any young lady they go on a date with. Sunday or no.


I have my own version of said archive which, when you click on a link a siren goes of and it tells you that IT IS ALL SHITE. Whale song and bleeps and mogadonish loops. Ambient means ignore it, there’s no National Library of Wallpaper is there?

δ is for…the delta blues and Delta Goodrem

I Hate Music2 comments • 906 views

Which the good people of the Guardian Music Magazine pointed out is 100 Years Old today. Or yesterday. Or actually, when you look at the editorial piece, it is 100 years since it was discovered. Who was in the priviliged position of discovering was unclear, since the article was written poorly – as any article writing to valourize something that is inherently rubbish would be. (Note to reader, by dislikeing the blues I am not being racist. I just hate the blues. By celebrating 100 years of its “discovery” the Guardian Music Magazine obviously is, especially when it goes on to get two of the blues finest practioners Robert Plant and Jack WHITE to talk about it).


Who is the current champion of the I Hate Music Prize for pretending to play a piano despite some obvious inability to ever press down on the keyboard.

γ is for…Gamma-lan

I Hate Music1 comment • 818 views

When mankind first had the perverse urge to create music he invented instruments with whatever came to hand. Hunters of the veldt made drums out of cowhide, the Tolmec’s made simple reed flutes. And the primitive tribe of Java, after a heavy day of work down the glockenspiel mines gathered together a few half hundred copper kettles, a ton or two of bronze bars hit with buffalo horn and a lot of wheels they found lying around to use as gongs. With such a blatant misuse of their natural resources they really should have died out. Instead they have created a Ganemlan orchestra, a fiendishly complicated musical version of Chinese water torture.

In his book ‘Music of Java’ Jaap Kunst says, “Gamelan is comparable to only two things, moonlight and flowing water.” I can only assume he means wet and it keeps you up into the early hours of the morning with its twee tinkles.

β is for…The Beta Band

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,200 views

Beta Band Members One: I’ve written this really morose dull song.
Beta Band Member Two: I know why don’t we make it even worse by playing the worst theme tune to the worst science fiction film ever over it.
Beta Band Member Three: Ace. Ginchy. I’ve got an idea. How about Writing a song about how we all met and made our triumphant first album.
Beta Band Member Four: Super. Let’s do it in five different styles, none of which we are adept at.
Beta Band Member Five: Hey, have you heard this sample Daydream in Blue.
Beta Band Member Six: Yeah, it sounds really good in all the other songs that use it.
Beta Band Member Seven: Why don’t we do a rubbish song with it in then.
Beta Band Member Eight: Ace. How many members of the Beta Band are there?
Beta Band Member Nine: In theory, as long as you have no musical ability at all, you are in. So nearly Four Billion.

α is for…Alphaville

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,177 views

Ah, German Pop. One of those implied oxymorons. And if there were ever a band of oxymorons, it would be Alphaville. Racism is an ugly label, but surely Big In Japan is almost as explicit as Siouxie and The Banshee’s “A race of people short in size” in Hong Kong Garden. Big In Japan further slurs the Japanese nation by suggesting that it is basically just a giant pick up joint for slumming western sexual inadequates who can pick up a geisha for a few Yen. I sure there are musicians who live in Japan right now who would virulently disagree with this viewpoint.

If the Greeks had known their alphabet would have caused this kind of trouble, I daresay they would not have even started. If they had also known that Alphaville had recorded a song called Big Yello Sun (Concrete Soundtraxx For An Imaginary Film) they probably would have given up the ghost on the whole civilization mularkey and as such Europe would be ruled by the older civilizations of Japan and China. And who would be big then?

The Greek Alphabet of Piss-poor Pop: Introduction

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 2,082 views

I notice elsewhere, in my absence, some young scamp over on NYLPM has started a concept piece, some say think piece entitled the Alphabet Of Pop. Now no-one knows more than myself the beauty of lists, as my Week Of Wank and Breakfast Of Banality proves. Its cheap easy journalism and also gives one a built in deadline which battles stronger than the average slagging of Pavement with the Bombay Sapphire. So I have decided to counter such nonsense