Posts from 21st December 2003

Dec 03

As part of its new year update

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 506 views

Freaky Trigger will be running its (or in this case, my) Top 50 Tracks of 2003. Here are the ones that didn’t quite get in.

50 CENT — ‘In Da Club’ (you all know this); AVRIL LAVIGNE — ‘I’m With You’ (heroic return of the pop power ballad); CHINGY — ‘Right Thurr’ (lechery and laffs); ELEPHANT MAN — ‘Egyptian Dance’ (a belly dancer; a snake charmer); JAMMER — ‘Boys Luv Girlz’ (nagging gender-politics grime); JESSICA SIMPSON — ‘Sweetest Sin’ (scary insight into fundamentalist romance); JUNIOR BOYS — ‘Birthday’ (awkward but captivating synth-pop); JUST A MAN — ‘I’m Sorry’ (yearning Italian disco-pop); KELIS — ‘Milkshake’ (six months on I’m still not sure whether I like it!); KYLIE MINOGUE — ‘Slow’ (electro-smooch lustre diminished by rubbish album); LADY SAW — ‘Let’s Go Party’ (strident invite to dancehall fun); LIL JON AND THE EASTSIDE BOYS FEATURING THE YING YANG TWINS — ‘Get Low’ (wonder if it’ll cross over here?); RICHARD X – ‘Finest Dreams’ (more for the Human League really); SEEED — ‘What You Deserve Is What You Get’ (Deutsche-dancehall romp); SINEAD O CONNOR — ‘Chiquitita’ (hyper-intense version of ABBA classic); T LOVE — ‘Polish Boyfriend’ (soundtrack of my honeymoon by Polish Electric 6); TES — ‘New New York’ (indie-hopper rips off Blueprint with marvellous results).

Collier Schorr photos

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 673 views

Collier Schorr photos

a list of her subjects:
young soldiers-done better by Rineke Dijkstra’s .
the erotics of youth as a good thing-done better by Bruce Hanley, Jack Peirson, etc.
the erotics of youth as a bad thing- done bettet by Nan Goldin, Larry Clarke.
college boys and how hot they look- done better by Tim Gardner.
wrestlers and how hot they look- done better by Bruce laBruce.

cliched, dull, not even hot in a “i could wank to this” way, and even worse. cliched, Collier Schorr has gotten hype and im not sure why.

(i am not saying that every work needs to be innovative, but it needs to at least show an awareness of precedent, and she hasn’t)

Mad World

I Hate Music3 comments • 2,132 views

If there is one thing guaranteed to turn me off going to see a film, it is someone claiming that it has a “great soundtrack”. So it is that I have not yet seen Donnie Darko, and at this moment I am intensely grateful for that. Not that I have anything against the movie (other than that it seems to be a favourite of the kind of mumbling disgraces to humanity who like Pavement (see below)), but going to see this tender tale of a boy and his bunny would have also meant one more hearing of Gary Jules’ ‘haunting’ cover of “Mad World”. And I think I might be at that point when one more hearing might be the death of me (and several bystanders).

“There you go again Tanya, you old cynic! Doesn’t it mean something that at Christmas a real proper song might be number one instead of the usual tinselly tat?” Yes it does, dear reader, it means that the world is even more fucked than I had thought. Christmas is the one time of year when I can imagine some tiny excuse for people buying the miserable tripe they do: their brainstems have been replaced by mincemeat and their cranial fluid by sherry. For a non-Christmas record to be No.1 at this time of year removes even this crumb of comfort – people are buying Gary Jules because in all honesty they think it is a good record.

Let us examine the song more closely. It is ‘moving’ i.e. it has been slowed down and sung in a wheedly voice to a sparse accompaniment. This is the oldest trick in the pop book and yet it never seems to go out of fashion – the shoddiest piece of pop nonsense can sell bucketloads a second time if you sing it slowly enough and trot out the acoustic guitar (or as in this case piano). WHEN WILL YOU LEARN?! Singing songs more slowly does not make them more REAL, it just makes them LONGER. For extra agony Gary Jules has decided to sing “Mad World” in the style of Michael Stipe, which is essentially spitting in hope’s face: just as it seemed we might soon be rid of Stipe’s own pestilential band a clone appears!

And what of the composition itself? “Mad World” was originally on the aptly named The Hurting album, the first by Tears For Fears, a pair of hairsprayed poltroons who had taken their name from a phrase used by radical psychoanalyst Arthur Janov. Janov deserves a spot in the box at the International Pop Crimes Court in The Hague, as his therapy also inspired John Lennon and laughing stocks of the universe PRML SCRM. Janov’s influence on Tears For Fears led to “Shout”, as in “Shout, shout, let it all out.” I will now attempt to test this advice myself.

(deep breath)


Oh, I feel better now. Maybe Janov had a point after all. Anyhow, “Mad World” in its rubbish original version was a moody bit of synth-pop entirely typical of its era: it was gibberish and nobody paid any attention to the words anyway, they were too busy lengthening their overcoats to care. Slowing it down has meant that it is impossible not to pay attention to the words and what a surprise they are rubbish. It turns out that the song is written by someone who feels alienated, hated and unloved – fair enough says this impartial listener. Gary may not have written the words but he has set a terrible precedent – what is now to stop people taking A Flock Of Seagulls singles seriously? Or – dear heaven no – Depeche Mode???

One thing I heartily approve of, though. The dreams where Gary dies are some of the best I’ve ever had, too.