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I got a Dreamwidth account back in 2009 during a previous LiveJournal hullabaloo but never got around to doing anything with it. Now I've finally "migrated" or "archived" or "backed-up"* all my lj posts onto Dreamwidth and set Dreamwidth so that all my Dreamwidth posts will automatically cross-post onto LiveJournal as well. All my old LiveJournal posts are still on LiveJournal too. So I'll be actually writing my posts on Dreamwidth, but I assume commenting and conversational back-and-forth and action will still almost all be on lj. And I'll cross-post your lj comments for you onto my Dreamwidth, unless you object or do doubleposting yourself.

My LiveJournal:
http://koganbot.livejournal.com

My Dreamwidth:
https://koganbot.dreamwidth.org

The only major glitch in the copying is that in my posts my video embeds were lost, which means that, whenever I want to find a compulsive activity that enables me to avoid being in the social world, I'll go back and spend time adding videos back to the old posts on Dreamwidth. Also, as far as I can tell, Dreamwidth doesn't have the capacity to let us embed videos in comments at all, which is a drag; so not only are all your and my video embeds lost from comments, they can't be reinserted either. Oh, and Dreamwidth sidebars will have fewer links and I don't think there's a way to stick Taylor Swift's "Lose Yourself" there either.



Under the cut I describe what impelled the change.

A wild or turbulent disturbance )



*None of those words is really accurate: I didn't "migrate" so much as simply got Dreamwidth to copy all my old posts onto Dreamwidth. But as I say up in the text, the LiveJournal posts stay on LiveJournal too.
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Whiffing )

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2012:
1. Taylor Swift "Red"
2. Miranda Lambert "Fastest Girl In Town"
3. Charles Esten & Hayden Panettiere "Undermine"
4. Lionel Richie ft. Jennifer Nettles "Hello"
5. Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
6. Eden's Edge "Too Good To Be True"
7. Eric Church "Creepin'"
8. Kelly Clarkson ft. Vince Gill "Don't Rush"
9. Luke Bryan "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"
10. Kix Brooks ft. Joe Walsh "New To This Town"

Other categories )

COMMENTS: Quandary ) "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" has the sort of glorying in self-deception that country lyricists and singers drool over; and even if the sound is fundamentally pop, there's a clarity in the arrangement that likely comes from country. Meanwhile, "Red" is the first time Taylor's written what sounds like an actual teenybopper song, as if it had been created during an elementary school exercise in beginning poetry. That's meant as a huge compliment.

Hayden Panettiere, who as a true teenpopper had thoroughly bored me, suddenly has a bead on my emotions. Talk about finding her voice.

I don't know if "Don't Rush" is a direction for Kelly Clarkson or just a blip. She was confused and feckless on her last two albums, the wrong big blast of this person's and that person's pop rock. And now here she is in '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, and the richness of her pipes returns. And Lionel Richie, who to a good extent defined '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, provides a terrific setting for Jennifer Nettles' half sandblaster of a voice, lushness that doesn't lose its gristle.

Lots of great male voices in country, which is fortunate because in every other genre I pay attention to the men tend to sound ridiculous.

Frank Kogan

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Might as well get these going, though I guess as a prediction this is pretty safe and obvious:

Taylor Swift joins Pistol Annies, who incorporate dance steps, harmonies, and raps using Bell Biv DeVoe/Backstreet Boys as template, w/ Big Bang and Danity Kane as modern analogues but Big-&-Rich tight country harmonies mixing with the R&B. Most parts are sung but brief raps are interjected and there's always a rap break prior to or as the middle eight. Rap styles are developed from each individual Annie's speaking style, as Taylor did on "Lose Yourself" — Teena Marie the model for keeping raps in the singer-songwriter ethos. Chapman-Shanks-Liddell-pop-rock-style production abandoned; Teddy Park and Shinsadong Tiger called in to produce and co-write.

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Here's my ballot for the Nashville Scene's Country Critics Poll.

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2010:

1. Little Big Town "Little White Church"
2. Sunny Sweeney "From A Table Away"
3. Martina McBride "Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong"
4. Taylor Swift "Mean"
5. Laura Bell Bundy "Giddy On Up"
6. Kenny Chesney "Somewhere With You"
7. Trace Adkins "Ala-Freakin-Bama"
8. Sarah Darling "Whenever It Rains"
9. Stealing Angels "He Better Be Dead"
10. Sarah Darling "With Or Without You"

TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2010:

1. Taylor Swift Speak Now
2. Jamey Johnson The Guitar Song
3. Kenny Chesney Hemingway's Whiskey
4. Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Dharohar Project Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Dharohar Project [EP]
5. Reba McEntire All The Women I Am
6. Chely Wright Lifted Off The Ground
7. Jerrod Niemann Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury
8. Flynnville Train Redemption
9. Laura Marling I Speak Because I Can
10. Laura Bell Bundy Achin' And Shakin'

A bunch of other categories )

Some wonky shit )

My comments )

Sloshbucket )

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I've also started posting at a blog called Jazz Advance ("From Free Jazz to the new vanguards"), where I'll show up occasionally, if you're interested. I mention the Contortions, Joni Mitchell, Ashlee Simpson, Taylor Swift, and Nazareth. Right on the jazz vanguard I am!

(I've already said a bit about Jazz Advance over on Sükråt.)
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The retail season is vroomin' up the hillside. Four women, a couple of guys, a new girl and the panorama wide open.

Ke$ha )

Willow )

Taylor Swift )

Kanye West )

Taylor Swift )

Katy Perry )

Chris Brown )
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Crackerjack Taylor Swift thread over on the Jukebox, with pretty much everybody finding at least one thing to disagree with in what anyone else says, but all having a good congenial time of it. The song under review is "Back To December," but the thread goes for the album as a whole, "Mean" getting a good work-up from all angles. E.g., Mat and Theon:

Mat, on November 3rd, 2010 at 5:43 pm Said:
Taylor stacking 'mean' and 'pathetic' and 'liar' like that is her being willfully childish, as a joke, but also suggesting this phantom menace's level of sophistication. He was a brutish jerk, so why shouldn't she just lash out at him in the crassest, simplest way, now that she can, now that she's in a big old city (skyscraper) and he's down in the bar, drunk and bitter. I think it's a funny line.

theon, on November 3rd, 2010 at 6:13 pm Said:
the "liar/pathetic/alone in life" bit in "mean" is the most overwhelming part, guys. all the stuff about how the narrator's gonna escape and be happy is in the future tense and thus implicitly the subjunctive. so the song is being written from a trapped place, but she's being bouncy and certain about her escape, the way you do when you're cheering yourself up; the word "mean" is both a juvenile joke-word and this big-deal cosmic judgement (mean of spirit, etc.). then at the end when she starts shouting and gets a little wobbly on "a LIAR! and PATHETIC!" — those are also juvenile words, because this is the only point in the song where the narrator loses her composure. then she repeats "mean" four times with an intensifying drumbeat behind her, and it's like something's gonna break. then she gets ahold of herself and returns to the peppy fantasy chorus. but that wobble of desperation is still part of the song.

Also, good convo at the Jukebox on Carrie Underwood's "Mama's Song."
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Taylor Swift's "Mean" at 11 is two spots ahead of Taylor Swift's "Mine" at 13. Monica's "Love All Over Me" at 71 is two spots ahead of Josh Turner's "All Over Me" at 73.

Taylor Swift )

Shakira )

Zac Brown )
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Dave on a roll, over on Tumblr, in conversation with himself regarding Taylor Swift (and also here and here, and commentary from Erika here and me here).(EDIT: And further commentary from Dave here, and a discussion of wedding ceremonies here.) (And Jonathan Bogart answers a question about the influence of musical theater here, and Brad Nelson celebrates Erika here.)
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Far East Movement's "Like A G6" is number one on the Hot 100. Beyond the song being good music, I hope its success helps the chartability of club music qua club music. Also, maybe this'll open a few musical doors in the U.S. for Asians and Asian Americans. (Bruno Mars, whom the Far East Movement displaced at the top, is of part Puerto Rican and part Filipino heritage, but my guess is that to most Americans he'll be seen as Latin American rather than Asian, just as Tiger Woods is generally seen as black, despite having more Asian than African ancestry.)

Taylor Swift )

Pink )

Glee Cast )

Mike Posner )

Yolanda Be Cool & DCup )

Darius Rucker )
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First up is a single in which some girl's getting her trophy or something and Taylor Swift doesn't think the girl deserves it so Taylor barges in and takes the trophy away.

Taylor Swift )

Kanye West )

Waka Flocka Flame )

Will.i.am & Nicki Minaj )

Glee Cast )

Glee Cast )
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I write funny comment in Jukebox Ke$ha thread. (Also contains Taylor content, and Stones.)
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Why country singers want to go pop.

Dottie West 1968:



Dottie West 1979:



But I don't claim to know anything about Dottie West or about fashion, and anyway, few stories are ever simple or simply linear; e.g., here's Dottie in 1967:

Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby )

And in 1965, with her sound bleeding into old-style r&b:

Dottie West and Boots Randolph: There's Someone Who's Missing )

(I'm looking at all these while exploring the idea that periodically country moves into pop in order to shake its sense of stodginess and squareness, but that also there are countermoves to try to find a specifically country form of hipness. In the late '90s you get Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain pushing their style into glamour, while maybe you get... I don't know, would Toby Keith and Brooks & Dunn qualify as a countermove into country hipness? Big & Rich, in the '00s? Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is taking the Faith 'n' Dixie Chick glamour rebellion in her own idiosyncratic direction. Are there any country guys who might be said to be currently doing this?)
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Two at least nominally country tracks jump high quickly.

Taylor Swift )

Kenny Chesney )

Ke$ha )

Linkin Park )
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She just shows up with unbelievable songs that she wrote, and then we just produce the songs. As a producer I'm not having to go out and look all over Music Row for a hit. She brings them in.

Good podcast interview from early '09 with Taylor Swift's co-producer Nathan Chapman. Plays three of the four different mixes of "Teardrops On My Guitar" (album mix, country single, Top 40 single), explains the differences between them. Names his producer heroes as Mark Wright, Daniel Lanois, John Shanks, Buddy Miller, notes that Wright never himself plays on tracks whereas those other producers do. I like Chapman's sense that there are multiple ways to accomplish something and that different people have different talents and need to find the models that work for them.

Started off producing demos )
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During the opening acts, I spent a lot of mental energy trying to figure out who the apparent celebrity was in my section, a young redheaded woman who people kept flocking to for autographs and photos. During the "small club" portion of the show, her identity was revealed: Swift's friend Abigail, the one she wrote the song "Fifteen" about ("Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind / we both cried"). She and her friends had front-row seats for the smaller stage, where Swift sang directly to Abigail the song she wrote about her.
--Dave Heaton, from a fascinating account in Pop Matters of a Taylor Swift show, watching her work the crowd and also work the theme of dreams versus reality, of perfection (what her voice isn't) versus emotional effect (her actual singing).
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Jonathan and Tal take issue with an obviously snarky photo equation, Erika correctly points out that it may not be snarky (I'm not sure she's right, but she makes a case), and I pitch in with what I think Taylor and Ke$ha may have in common:

They both have something of a killer instinct (though maybe it's Benny Blanco who deserves the credit for Ke$ha's), they're both musically opportunistic, they're both willing to hurt people with song, and - for all Taylor's reflectiveness - they're both riding a mess of emotion. In any event, last week I was fantasizing that Taylor would go to Benny Blanco and say, "I want to do a couple of tracks that have the eruption that you achieved in 'Blah Blah Blah.'" I'm totally certain that Taylor could pull it off. I also think she needs to try. (But these singers are always so hesitant to take my advice; I don't know what's wrong with them.)
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Tom asks on Blue Lines Revisited: "If you could have reviewed any record in history at the time it first came out, which would you choose and why?" This is my response, which will shock no one:

Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography. Who knows if I'd have reviewed it with insight, arriving cold; Mikael Wood's review in the Voice was excellent; the point is, if I'd been assigned to review it I wouldn't have known what was coming, I'd have been surprised down to my socks. Just what would it have been like to be hit right at the start with this young woman declaring, "I walked a thousand miles while everyone was asleep," a mystery and a pheenom in her first fanfare, and then two songs later clawing and ripping at herself and her family and trying to resurrect it simultaneously? Maybe I'd have been up to the job, or maybe I wouldn't have grasped what I was hearing. But it would have been nice to to be the one who shows up with a fresh face, the first writer to feel the wind.

(Of course millions of girls had seen her reality show on MTV already, but, interesting as the show was, I'm glad I caught her first through the music, the reflectiveness and the struggle deeper there.)

I did put on a promo copy of Miranda Lambert's Kerosene with no idea who she was or what to expect, and went "Holy amazing shit!" as the title song started it off. Someone else did the review, though.

On Rolling Teenpop I was the first person in my universe to write about Marit Larsen as a solo artist, catching her "Don't Save Me" shortly out of the gate; and I had fun observing other people independently showing up on Rolling Teenpop with the news, a phenomenon in our little world. And I did get the review in the Voice, one of the last ones they let me do, though I was allowed little more than a blurb.

I was also the first person in my universe to post about Taylor Swift, on my MySpace and on Rolling Teenpop, though I'd heard the single months earlier and Jimmy Draper had talked her up in an email to me, which is what got me interested. I was the first one on Rolling Teenpop to hear and post about the "Greatest Time Of Year"/"Not This Year" dialectic from Aly & AJ. Think of what utter fucking dipshits the Voice people were for not having me and Dave and Mike and Tim and Erika and Chuck etc. blogging all this music on launch.
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If you want to join in there or here, I'm in an interesting convo with someone named Petra over on a comment thread on one of Tom's Tumblrs in regard to how or even whether angry songs by women are perceived (convo inspired by an incompetent and incoherent Jude Rogers trend piece in the Guardian).
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With Will's permission I am posting my contributions to the Jukebox's "Best-Off" for 2009, including the two rounds that never went up on the site. Apparently this does not mean that those two rounds (plus a so-far nonexistent final) will never appear on the Jukebox, but it is likely that those rounds will be replayed and rewritten.

The important thing to note in what follows is that I HAVE WRITTEN A POEM. Even if you get bored with what precedes the poem, do not leave this post without scrolling down to read the poem.

The more intrepid among you will also see that, in a less worthy moment, I say that stillness is not much of a move. I am embarrassed at making such a lame crack, but now I have warned you. Also, I somehow never found the opportunity to point out that Taylor Swift's "Fifteen" is her fifteenth best song, so I am informing you now. I know some of you may find such an assertion altogether too convenient to be believed, but I assure you I checked the arithmetic three times.

Groups 5 and 7 )

Round Two )

Quarter-Finals, featuring A POEM )

The Semis )

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