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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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Been saying that these days the voice of adventure in popular music is young and female, though so far my argument is more loose ends than fabric, and I find counterexamples as soon as I find examples (e.g., male EXO is certainly adventurous, I just wish I liked them more).

To put it negatively, pop music doesn't seem to have a viable adulthood, and masculinity (or whatever) stops making sense — or stops making excitement, anyway. (This last is a lot less true in the dancing than the singing, and I'm more and more questioning whether "popular music" is the right term anyway, "music" being too limited a descriptor. "Popular" is limited, too.)

So, on cue, Rock Critic Roundtable is hosting a discussion regarding NOT MEN, inspired by the relative absence of men (and boys, presumably) in Dave's recent year-end best-ofs. (Absence of male performers and frontmen, that is, not producers and execs.) He's asked Sabina, Jonathan, RGR, and Alex to be the convo, and invited us to the peanut gallery.

Questions from the peanut gallery )

Feigning clumsiness, he lets himself loose )
Wonderful but somewhat horrifying )
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Q: What do the following have in common: Good Day, Dum Dum Boys, Get Away With Murder, In My Eyes, Try To Follow Me?

A: Damned if I know — other than that they're all song titles, modern (i.e., post-nineteenth-century) popular music.

The question arises because those titles are together on a piece of scrap paper from last week, in my handwriting. What was on my mind? I have no memory of writing this.

I have mp3's of some but not all of these, so I wasn't trying to remind myself that I'd been dicking around with their tags, or needed to.

Performers, if you're interested: IU (아이유), Iggy Pop, Ashlee Simpson, Minor Threat, 2NE1 (투에니원). Robyn does an "In My Eyes" too, but I'm sure I've given it no thought in the last year and a half. The Ashlee song is really entitled "Murder."

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(Video plays even though the still shows blank here)

Your search - "good day" "dum dum boys" "get away with murder" "in my eyes" "try to follow me" - did not match any documents.

Did any of you write about those songs last week?

Also on that piece of scrap paper: my guesses as to who is who in various group photos of SNSD. I've decided it's about time I learned to match name and face for them. So far I'm doing real poorly. They keep changing their damn hairstyles. First photo, I only got Sooyoung, Yuri, Sunny, and Seohyun correct. Next photo I got Tiffany, Yoona, Sunny, Hyoyeon. How did I miss Sooyoung? Third photo, I got Taeyeon, Yoona, Sunny, and Sooyoung. Sunny's the only one I always get instantly.
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If the Osmonds can make a metal album, so can Feist — though it turns out she merely made a metals album... Best track on the Lauren Alaina alb is "Growing Her Wings," lyrics something of a prequel to Sara Evans' "Suds In The Bucket," which it also sounds like. Incidentally, "Suds In The Bucket" was written by Billy Montana, Randy's dad... If Feist can make a metals album, Sunny Sweeney can surely make one of concrete... Sunny of SNSD survives tractor mishap to return to Invincible Youth. We at koganbot had a discussion a few posts ago regarding her political prospects... How in the world did little teeny-voiced Selena Gomez make a track that reminds me of Judy Torres?

Albums and EPs I like, some I've not listened to in months, more than several I've not yet listened to twice:

1. SNSD Girls' Generation (1st Japan Album) (Universal Music Japan)
2. Britney Spears Femme Fatale (Jive)
3. Dev The Night The Sun Came Up (Universal Republic/Island)
4. Miranda Lambert Four The Record (RCA Nashville)
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5. Rainbow SO 女 [EP] (DSP Media)
6. SOOLj Electro SOOLj [EP] (CNH)
7. Various Artists Mr.Collipark Presents Can I Have The Club Back Please? (colliparkmusic.com)
8. T-ara Temptastic [EP] (Core Contents Media)
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9. HyunA Bubble Pop! [EP] (Cube Entertainment)
10. LPG The Special (Windmill Media)
11. Selena Gomez & The Scene When The Sun Goes Down (Hollywood)
12. Sunny Sweeney Concrete (Republic Nashville)
13. 2NE1 2nd Mini Album [EP] (YG Entertainment/KMP Holdings)
14. Lauren Alaina Wildflower (19 Recordings/Mercury Nashville)
15. DJ Bedbugs Teen Pop Lock And Drop Vol. 1 (cureforbedbugs.com)
16. Randy Montana Randy Montana (Mercury Nashville)
17. Feist Metals (Cherrytree/Interscope)

SNSD name and title synchronization? )

Thinking about the album format )
koganbot: (Default)
Jeez, if Ashlee and Pete can figure out when it's time to say goodbye, surely Mubarak ought to. What's wrong with the guy?
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This makes me unhappy, though for all I know it's fine or really good for all the people involved. Can't imagine it'll be great for the little one.

Also wanted Ashlee to have to surmount the artistic challenge of generating lyrics while being fundamentally happy.
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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 series... will follow 12 musicians as they compete in songwriting challenges across a variety of genres — everything from dance tracks to love ballads... — and perform these self-penned tracks for the cameras.

I think that Kara likes to think of herself as a teacher and would like to give substantive advice in a way that American Idol didn't really permit. But I don't know if this sort of reality-show format will permit it either; it does have potential, however, since it might actually take one into the process of how good songs are constructed. But I'm skeptical about how telegenic that process is. What's going to grab the viewer? I would expect it's pretty rare to find an Ashlee-quality person with live-wire self-expression and an obvious connection between life and song, much less a houseful of such Ashlees.
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Something I posted on a comment thread here, about the Turnage-Beyoncé thing:

Just a point in regard to whether one "got" the reference to "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" [not an issue for me, 'cause I discovered the Turnage piece through one of the mashups, and wouldn't bet on my having recognized the tune otherwise, though probably would have been saying to myself, "this reminds me of something; what the hell is it?"]: loads of melodies sound like other melodies, some deliberately, some from the songwriters' unconscious, some coincidentally, etc. I often miss the obvious references and then hear connections that aren't there, or when I do hear I have no idea what's intended and what isn't. And just to give an example, I've probably heard Hole's "Celebrity Skin" and Ashlee Simpson's "Surrender" over a hundred times each, and I know that Ashlee has covered "Celebrity Skin" in concert, and I saw the episode of Ashlee's reality show where she and her label president, Jordan Schur, are discussing "Surrender" and Schur says that it makes him think of Hole's "Celebrity Skin," my assumption being that he's correctly inferring from the sound that Courtney Love is a huge inspiration for Ashlee, yet I didn't realize, until just a few days ago when I ran into a YouTube mashup that showed it, that "Surrender" uses the riff from "Celebrity Skin." So... well it's not a contest, to see who gets it. No one gets it all.

[Worth clicking the link to see my comment on someone's odd assumptions concerning the authorship of "Single Ladies."]

[Also, though I love "Celebrity Skin," "Surrender" is one of my least favorite Ashlee tracks, Ashlee's most triumphant Hole-style song being "I Am Me."]

[EDIT: I'm speaking loosely when I say "uses the riff," since I don't mean "plays the riff" but "plays something similar to the riff that was almost certainly based on the riff," the rhythm and the style of power-chording being identical but the notes not. I talk a little more about this in the comment thread.]
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"Here's Frank Kogan, here's Chuck Eddy, and here's this dude!"

Dave Moore has posted a transcript of his rockcritics.com interview - had originally been a podcast (Scott Woods the interviewer):

(When I saw there was a third vote for I Am Me, I said to myself, "Must be the father of a couple of pre-teen girls. What other critics listen to this stuff, outside our circle?")
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Sunny Sweeney had an album out several years ago that I've yet to hear but that Don and Xhuxk praise, and has a single now that reminds me in sound and melody (though not at all in lyrics or arrangement) of Vanessa Carlton's excellent "Spring Street."

What I wrote on Rolling Country: "Woman in the shadows realizes she's stuck being the other woman. Good workaday sorrow, a rich voice that doesn't force things."

Also, Xhuxk and I think there's something Ashleeish about Lee Brice's "Picture Of Me," even if Lee's a drooling-at-the-mouth southern rocker. I haven't heard the album version, so I'm going on a live clip:

Chuck Eddy: "'Picture Of Me' seems like a pretty good here's-how-I-am-and-here's-why-I'm that-way statement, the kind of song Eric Church might've sang on his first album (and maybe Ashlee Simpson on her first two), though I haven't decided yet if Brice is saying anything new in it."

Me: "Not taking in the lyrics yet, but Lee Brice's wail on this reminds me of Ashlee, his voice scooping down and yarling up. Kicking band, too."
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FK (You make me wanna reblog, in the kitchen on the floor):

My Dylan blurb for Paste. It only makes a passing reference to Ashlee, but she was saturating my mind when I wrote it, so I feel she inhabits every word, including the words I lifted from Mark Sinker.

Not to mention the words I lifted from Greil Marcus.

The ones from Mark were "Dylan pulled together worlds that want to remain separate but mustn't be allowed to," except in Mark's version it wasn't Dylan but the Village Voice music section under Chuck Eddy. I thought Mark had posted them on Tom's lj, but I haven't found it (was it Freaky Trigger?); it was right after the Voice fired Chuck. I used the words with Mark's permission.

The ones from Greil Marcus were the stuff about Elvis not knowing his place, which I lifted without asking, and it wasn't a direct lift, just the basic idea, which I gave my own twist to; it was from Lies About Elvis, Lies About Us, his commentary in the Voice Literary Supplement (December 1981) about Albert Goldman's Elvis. Greil: "[Elvis] wasn't willing to keep his place, and now he is being returned to it."

EDIT: The Mark quote was on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists:

it's not the end of the world, but it is the end of a project, and that's sad -- even tho projects do usually end (and final acts are usually bloody)

(no chuck in the voice in the 80s, no "my" wire)

(wire after me is a lesson in the possibilities and problems of a medium circulated among obsessives only: i think this "oddness" is the heart of said project actually -- an interface between two worlds that want to separate and mustn't be allowed to

So it wasn't only about the Voice under Chuck in the '00s, but also about Chuck in the Voice in the '80s, and Mark at The Wire in the early '90s.

(April 19, 2006)
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My first ever Tumblr reblog, in which I say (among other things): So I don't buy into this pop vs. rockism thing, since most of the great teenpop since 2001 or so, from Michelle through to Taylor and Demi, is saturated in rock virtues: hard guitars, strong beats, vocal anguish, ambitious, meaningful lyrics, a romantic quest for self by way of busted relations with boys

My second ever Tumblr reblog, in which I say: You make me wanna reblog, in the kitchen on the floor.


Apr. 14th, 2010 07:02 pm
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I coin a new term in this comment thread on Tom's Tumblr: "I was sick and tired of the way soul ballads had been dismissed as romantic escapist drivel."*

*Warning: some might find my comment unintelligible.
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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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Alfred Soto claimed over on a Justin Bieber review thread on the Jukebox that "In our many, many teen-pop discussions we rarely discuss the interaction of sexuality and the singers' self-representations" (he also claimed that gay male critics preferred male singers, which certainly didn't accord with my experience, or that of anyone else who commented). Anyhow, I took this as a challenge to engage in familiar riffing about Ashlee, Lindsay, and Taylor. You can click the link for context; here's what I wrote:

Familiar riffing about Ashlee, Lindsay, and Taylor )
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Last month I linked the "radio edit" of my decade's end piece, the version that was printed in the Las Vegas Weekly. Here under the cut is the "extended freestyle mix" (a.k.a. director's cut), a full one thousand words longer – that's 60 percent more, for the same price! To put it in brief, I'm suggesting that the musical story of the Web is words, but that this Web word story can be one of distance and isolation.

Microwaving A Tragedy: The marriage of romance and romanticism in '00s pop )
koganbot: (Default)
Dave's got a nice write-up on the complexities of Ashlee Simpson's "Shadow" over on heat six of the [livejournal.com profile] poptimists Best Song Of 2006 (something of an embellishment on his post about Autobiography back in '07):

This also sets the stage for the Big Story of Autobiography, which is that Ashlee is finding her life a little easier to bear with each passing day, barring the occasional relapse. Not much easier, and I think on the whole things are still a fucking mess, but it's the point in your life where you realize that the quality of your life is improving -- not because of any one transformative change, but because you understand yourself and your life better than you could when you were (a bit) younger. I seem to constantly go through cycles of this, but there's a definite break between adolescence and post-adolescence where I could at least see, e.g., that my feet were on the ground even though I'm stuck. In "Shadow," every day is getting a little worse; we're left to imagine, without much description, what it might have felt like (and I can assume that a lot of people felt it themselves, whether they were the Ashlees or the Jessicas in their family, or something else altogether) to slowly lose yourself, or realize you never really "knew" yourself, and then slowly build it up again.

(But you should read the whole post.)
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My decade's end piece in the Las Vegas Weekly, though after I'd pitched it I rebelled against the idea of trying to fairly sum up, hence no mention of Timbaland or Max Martin, whom I'd peg as the two most important figures in '00s music. (The Club Mix has brief mentions of "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Since U Been Gone," though not in regard to Max's input.) In about a month I'll post an Extended Freestyle Mix, and I'd welcome any suggestions as to what you think it should contain.

Microwaving A Tragedy: The marriage of romance and romanticism in '00s pop

(Links to my old Las Vegas Weekly columns are here, if you're interested.)


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