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"A bunch of insanely catchy hooks refusing to play together nicely, but they've been corralled against their will onto the same track anyway." If that had been my review of a Ke$ha single it would surely have been high praise, song meriting an 8 or 9 or higher. Three days ago when listening to Enrique Iglesias ft. Pitbull on "I Like It" those same words added up to a borderline pan (5 points, or 6 at the most). Then yesterday I decided that all that spurting cool whip and root beer frosting mess brought "I Like It" up to a 7 or even an 8, so "bunch of insanely catchy hooks refusing to play together nicely" etc. were now praise words rather than an explanation of failure (even if Iglesias does sound inexplicably disengaged in the track's first section). Now I'm backtracking and by tomorrow I may well hate the thing, for how the track's damn overload sabotages the catchiness of the individual hooks.

As every schoolkid knows, the Boney-Joan Rule states that "any reason I give for liking a performer will also be a reason I give for disliking some other performer." The Iglesias-Pitbull corollary says that "any reason I give on a particular day for disliking 'I Like It' will be a reason I give on some other day for liking 'I Like It.'" (Surely someday I will come to see Enrique's early disengagement as a virtue that helps the tunefulness seep through - and then I'll change my mind.)

Half a year ago I was in a state of grumbles about the Latter-Day Dance-Pop Mess, Amalgamated, while now I think we're in a fascinating time for music, though the music itself is pretty much the same. "Blah Blah Blah" is what turned me.
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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 )
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Sometimes the 'Net is a great place. I received this email the other day from someone who'd found her way to my old Las Vegas Weekly column about the Boney Joan Rule:

Email from Diana from NYC:

Dear Frank,

I came across your amusing article about the Boney Joan rule by chance on the 'net.

Maybe you dislike Joan Baez's singing not because of your parents but - because she's the WORST SINGER EVER?

My two cents.

Truly, I have never heard such bad singing, ever. And I've heard a lot of singing. She doesn't sing the song - she sings her voice. Every goddam song it's the same thing: "listen to my gorgeous voice! Listen to my amazing vibrato!!"

Well her voice isn't gorgeous and her vibrato sounds like Tiny Tim on acid. I have no idea what anyone "heard" in this voice.

My suspicion is that she came along at the right time and the right place and had the right look. She was very beautiful when young women were sick of teasing and spraying their hair. In that her impact was exactly the same as Mary Travers, another bad singer. But the flowing blond natural hair was gorgeous.

Diana from NYC

Boney Joan: The Conversation Continues )
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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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Here are links to my Rules Of The Game columns in chronological order, the column running in the Las Vegas Weekly from June 2007 to March 2008, with December off.

Links to The Rules Of The Game )
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Tom asks over on Blue Lines "Why don't reviewers write about how they feel?" I don't necessarily buy that they don't, but here's my response:

Shortage of adjectives, with the available ones lacking precision; and the experience itself lacks precision, with "feeling" itself not being any more precise than other broad words - such as "influence," which you recently disparaged on another tumblr. "Feeling" may not be the correct word, anyway. E.g., hearing a melody as "sad" does not necessarily mean that it made you feel sad. "Feeling" is actually something of a buzzword. Also, feelings are - incorrectly - considered private and supposedly carry the supposed ineffability of the private; whereas what play socially in one's interaction with others are one's opinions. And expressions of "feeling" play as opinions in the social world, anyway.

I wrote about these concerns back in The Rules The Game #3. A moral of that piece is that we should, indeed, talk about "feelings" (or whatever) but, in doing so, should examine them critically, with a mind towards when to change one's "feelings," rather than taking one's feelings as inalterable bedrock.

[Martin and Don and I discussed that column a little bit here. The column is one of my favorites, by the way.]
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[livejournal.com profile] petronia (The last of the questionnaires):

I've always thought dancing about architecture would be a particularly interesting exercise, because whatever you could effectively demonstrate about architectural structures using choreographed human bodies would probably be immensely complex to convey in any other guise. So complex that it would be dismissed as truism, perhaps...

This reminded me that I'd once answered a question in regard to dancing about architecture when Scott Butki interviewed me by email in 2006 for Blogcritics Magazine. He ended up not using the dancing-about-architecture bit, so here it is:

Kogan dances about I-Beams and wall hangings )
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New kid [livejournal.com profile] joshlanghoff from one of my other flists joins livejournal and asks me questions that I try to answer here about my PBS symbology that I referred to in The Rules Of The Game #24: The PBSification Of Rock.

(And some of you discussed the subject with me here.)
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You all can once again read my old Rules Of The Game columns, since The Las Vegas Weekly has finally transferred them to its new server. Here are links to all but three (search results for "Rules of the Game"* so you get a few non-Frank links as well), though so far the link to #28, "Dresses Are My Weakness, Seriously," doesn't link to anything.

Links for the other three (which for some reason didn't get "The Rules Of The Game" in their titles), are:

The Rules Of The Game #4: Britney Shows Brain
The Rules Of The Game #5: What's Wrong With Pretty Girls?
The Rules Of The Game #8: Which Social Class Sounds Better?

Another oddity: the stories are now credited to "Las Vegas Weekly Staff" rather than to me. I'll see if I can get that corrected.

EDIT July 25: Without my asking, they've now added my name to all but two of these, so obviously the transfer is a work in progress. Still no functioning link for "Dresses Are My Weakness, Seriously."

EDIT Many moons later: Link for "Dresses Are My Weakness, Seriously" now works.

EDIT '09: I've now put all the links in one place in chronological order, so this is where to go.

*And don't forget to click "Next page" at the bottom of the page.
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OK, here it is, the latest Rules Of The Game, the final one before the column goes on hiatus, I don't know for how long. American Idol Brooke White, Spitzer call-girl Ashley Alexandra Dupré, ambivalent party animals Aly & A.J.:

The Rules Of The Game #33: The Hotel Detective, He Was Out Of Sight

Since the Las Vegas Weekly is being so uncertain about the column's future, I'm going to try to hawk it elsewhere. If you have any suggestions as to how and where, please please please let me know. Spread the word. I think I'm doing something special, and I'd hate the light to be shut off.

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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Here's the latest column, once again about antirockism.

The Rules Of The Game #32: Where The Real Wild Things Are

I agonized for about ten seconds as to whether I was being fair in the sentence "the antirockists put defeating an enemy ahead of trying to understand him, so in effect were seeking stupidity in others rather than trying to strengthen their own comprehension." Then I figured if I was being unfair, you'd tell me. It doesn't seem to me that those of you who used the word on ilX weren't trying to understand Patrick Hould or Dave Q or Sundar Subramanian or Glenn McDonald or Alex In NYC, but then I don't think the first three had anything to do with "rockism" as you guys seemed to be using it (though I think that Patrick was confused enough by your usage to think he might be a "rockist") or that your use of the term had anything to do with your actual attempts to interact with and understand these guys.

Was rockism valid in the '60s? )

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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Here's my latest, in which I reveal myself to be a rockist, unless that's not what I'm revealing. I also don't come to a conclusion about what rockism is. Stay tuned for the exciting sequel.

The Rules Of The Game #31: Rockism And Antirockism Rise From The Dead

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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The Rules Of The Game #29: I start a fight because I need to feel something

Latest column. I talk about year-end polls, and Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood and Amy Winehouse, and, of course, Taylor Swift again, this time singing "Umbrella":

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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The Rules Of The Game #28 )

But my friend Elizabeth says she wouldn't be caught dead in this:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Bella as Taylor Swift

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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Latest column, where I discuss the "diversity" issue I raised here last week, and I add a new twist.

The Rules Of The Game #27: Is Diversity Diverse?

The new twist is this question: Doesn't cultural diversity, like biodiversity, depend on a certain amount of isolation, so that dominant modes of thought don't come in and wipe out everything else?

Oh, and I quote you all (or some of you, anyway).

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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I'M BACK! Well, I was always here, but my column is back, dealing with an issue that has stirred the hearts and shaken the minds of many a poptimist: what is the nature of legacy and continuity in country music; or, if my mother blows her house to pieces, does that mean I have to blow my house to pieces too when I grow up?

The Rules Of The Game #26: Because Of You I Am Afraid

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )
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Latest column.

The Rules Of The Game #25: Country Music WTF?

I write a lot about Eric Church and a little about Miley and Taylor and Kix and Ronnie and Jason and Brad and John and Johns (I discuss her fingers).

What do you guys think of these performers? For those of you who foolishly believe that the Miley song being so disco-pop makes it not country (this was Chris Willman's opinion over on the rolling country thread), just listen to the melody when Miley sings "I can't wait to see you again" and notice the similarities to Jace Everett's "I wanna do bad things with you." Both melodies come from template number six in How To Write Rockabilly Songs.

Links to my other Rules Of The Game columns )

Hannah Montana )

Hiatus )
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Remember when we all used to listen to Conway Twitty?

Buncha questions about whether culture really is getting more fragmented )
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I am in Connecticut for Thanksgiving hence have only library access to a computer hence no listening to or downloading music on it and also all my music is in Denver obviously and I have no idea what to write for the column that's due next week? So you people should tell me what to write about. Please suggest many things. Perhaps I will write about all of them. Or maybe we could do this as Ask Frank Kogan, which was a pretty good thread on ilX once because people kept asking me about things I knew nothing about, and I would answer.


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