25
Oct 00

Maybe I’ve been nostalgically primed:

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Maybe I’ve been nostalgically primed: I’m home for the holidays (well, the World Series days, anyway) and the only person up this late, just like I was that night that I first heard the riff segue out of “Son of Mustang Ford”‘s end, or because it’s late October, right when it’s starting to get dark, right where the season was eight years back (was it that long ago?) when I was waiting to get picked up from work and my eyes first flicked over the MTV playlist reprint that namedropped Nirvana, or maybe it’s because the block of time on MuchMusic playing in the background is peppered by more ads for Enuff Z’Nuff and White Lion-laden compilations than any ad block during the Headbanger’s Ball era, but hearing the opening ten notes of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” out of any sort of blue still, after all this time, gives me chills; even though I’m expecting the huge explosion ten seconds into the song (and cognizant of the implosions that followed after the song had blown up again and again), the song still has that air of unhinged promise about it, a rare quality in so much of the music I hear today—as far as this year goes, there are parts of the Le Tigre record that I think almost grab onto it and squeeze tightly, and other albums since ’92 have had their moments here and there (“Now You Know” from the Afghan Whigs is the one that springs to mind right away, and there’s one part on that Guns N’ Roses track from last year (!) that also inspires that same internal tug), but “Smells Like Teen Spirit” remains at the top of this particular heap—and not only that, it hasn’t become stale to these ears at all, even with its constant generational incantations and the whole unfortunate episode of “alternative” and the post-suicide Morrisonization of K. Cobain.

11
Oct 00

“Kid A”

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“Kid A” will debut at #1 on this week’s Billboard chart. 209,000 copies of the album were sold in the States in its first 7 days of release.

6
Oct 00

Sacrebleu!

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Sacrebleu! Two follow-up albums? Although I guess the Christmas album could count for half, since it seems to be something of a rite of passage for any singer under the age of 17 or so.

There is that one stanza in “Bounce With Me” about Lil’ Bow Wow’s turning into a “baller” when he turns 16. Which made me think “ew” when i first heard it.There are other “when I grow up” parts in “Bounce With Me,” but that one, um, stuck out the most. At least there were no references to pockets being full-grown or anything like that.

Also of note: Aaron Carter’s first minor “hit” (which was more popular in Canada than anywhere else I noticed, although that might be due to my cable system’s carrying MuchMusic) was a cover of the Jets’ “Crush On You,” which works from both the sibling angle and the youngsters-singing-about-innocence angle. And the musical angle? Let’s be nice and say this: When I first heard/saw the video, I thought it was some sort of low-budget cable commercial for a promotion in some park.

In the battle of the preteens

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In the battle of the preteens ensuing on the Billboard 200 this week, Backstreet brother Aaron Carter (brother of Nick, who is I think the cute one? oh wait they are ALL the cute ones, except for that one who looks too much like Donnie Wahlberg) loses out to Lil’ Bow Wow. The bouncing baby rapper’s album “Beware of Dog” debuted at #8 this week, 8 places ahead of Young Mr. Carter’s “Aaron’s Party (Come and Get It).” Of course, Lil’ Bow Wow has the added advantage of a novelty hit (“Bounce With Me”) that’s already logged 20 weeks on the charts, while Aaron has … his older brother.

But the real question is, will either of these artists have the latter-day cultural impact that Jordy—you remember him, yes? the French rapping 5-year-old?—has seven or eight years after his single was first foisted on the world? I ask this because six or seven people have brought “Dur Dur D’Être Bébé” up in casual conversation over the past few weeks. And also because no one seems to know where young Jordy is at the moment.

Other US chart news: Debuting at #1 this week is the new album by Mystikal; right behind that is 98 Degrees’ latest offering, which was accompanied by an ‘N Sync-worthy barrage of live MTV specials including a “you pick the next single” contest. Possibly relevant, but maybe not side note: Mystikal’s record was put out by Jive, the same company responsible for the huge debuts of Britney, the Backstreet Boys, and ‘N Sync over the past year, while 98 Degrees (who I always found to be sort of lower-rent anyway, and on this new album they are writing their own songs—red flags at alert!) is a Universal offering. (Did I ever mention the ‘N Sync midnight madness sale at my formerly local mall, where I ran into a girl who bought 3 copies of “No Strings Attached” for the sole purpose of helping her favorite band beat the Backstreet Boys’ first week sales record?)

4
Oct 00

Don’t forget the “list” subset of the indie novelty single

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Mary Lou Lord’s “His Indie World” and Tullycraft’s “Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend’s Too Stupid To Know About” both come to mind right away. Come to think of it, these two songs provide a nice little “proof of your cool” point-counterpoint; Lord’s song is a “he’s too hip for me, all he talks about are these bands over and over again and I just want to put on some Nick Drake” lament, while the Tullycraft song persuades (or tries to, anyway) a girl to ditch her current boyfriend for Sean Tollefson and his infinitely superior record collection. (We’ll leave the obvious gender/music consumption correlations aside for now.)