PopProse: Let it Rock

16 02 2009

Ok, so I saw this HGTV situation awhile back where a family lived in a house for a few days to see if they wanted to buy it. It was a family of three, and the only child was a 11-ish-year-old boy who needed an extra room for his ‘studio’ because he was an aspiring ‘hip-hop producer.’

Maybe I’ve been watching far too much LOST, but I swear that Kevin Rudolf IS this kid in the future, but NOW. Maybe he got caught in a time-space continuum and grew physically, but not quite in the mental region. Y’know, like Big and Benjamin Button and Daniel Faraday all rolled into one nonsensical individual.

Need proof? Just imagine with me for a moment: the few paragraphs below scribbled onto a napkin (not a bar napkin, of course; more like a floral-print Sparkle paper towel folded into fourths aside a PBJ). Mr. Rudolf’s opus! Ode to partying hearty!

I see your dirty face high behind your collar. What is done in vain? Truth is hard to swallow, so you pray to God to justify the way you live a lie. And you take your time, and you do your crime. Well, you made your bed; I’m in mine, because when I arrive, I’ll bring the fire, make you come alive; I can take you higher! What is this: forgot?! I must now remind you: LET IT ROCK! LET IT ROCK! LET IT ROCK!

Now the son’s disgraced. He who knew his father when he cursed his name turned and chased the dollar. But it broke his heart, so he stuck his middle finger to the world! And you take your time, and you stand in line. Well, you’ll get what’s yours. I got mine!

(Popular friend warbles gratuitous innuendos in the distance)

I wish I could be as cruel as you, and I wish I could say the things you do. But I can’t, and I won’t live a lie! No, not this time.

How else can you explain this? Can it even BE explained?!! Y’know what’s even MORE unexplainable? He has a second single on the radio. I’m just disgusted (I think).






Pop Prose: The Inaugural Post!

11 02 2009

Since my laziness to find a CD to listen to on the commute to and from work and the inability to download music due to current impoverishedness has forced me to listen to the radio for hours each day, I was compelled to reach an epiphany. How would the typical vapid top 40 song read if it were stripped of its hook-filled splendor and written out in sentence form? I present to you below the first in what could be as many as six ‘Pop Prose’ entries.

Let’s see if what Colbie has to say in ‘Realize‘ is coherent when written out like a letter to a romantic hopeful. Of course, to retain any ounce of sense within the song, I omitted chorus/bridge repetitions, and arbitrarily spelled out select contractions.

<ahem>

Take time to realize that your warmth is crashing down on in. Take time to realize that I am on your side. Didn’t I tell you? But I can’t spell it out for you. No, it’s never going to be that simple. No, I can’t spell it out for you! If you just realized what I just realized–that we’d be perfect for each other and we’d never find another–[if you] just realized what I just realized, we’d never have to wonder if we missed out on each other now.

Take time to realize I’m on your side. Didn’t I tell you?! Take time to realize this all could pass you by. Didn’t I tell you? It’s not always the same. No, it’s never the same if you don’t feel it too. If you meet me halfway? If you would meet me halfway, it could be the same for you.

Well shucks, Colbie. Hard to disagree with that killer string of logic. I’m sold! You could even say I realized. Did I tell you? Are you sure? Didn’t I not tell you earlier, maybe? Okay, so I did tell you, right?

Glad that’s settled.





So-So-Some Seri-seri-ous-ous Analysis-si-si-sis

26 01 2009

I’m torn between acting like people read this and apologizing for not updating, or just starting my post in dismal awareness of my lack of readership. Um…well I guess now there’s no need to make a delineation. Let’s begin!

I haven’t been writing recently for good reason: the dastardly GRE I’m taking this Thursday. However, I feel it appropriate to write this particular post because of my flawless integration of my newly-acquired data analysis skills. See data below:

The First-Ever Pop Kernels Stutterometer!

StutterOmeter

I assume that, because the average non-GRE-prepper will see this display of advanced mathematics and be both overwhelmed and awed, I shall offer a brief interpretation of my findings…

AFTER THE JUMP!

Suckaz.

Read the rest of this entry »





Another Sasha/B Showdown. And the Winner Is…

23 12 2008

In the typical binge-a-licious Beyonce style, two new videos recently surfaced: a raucous, danceified visual aid to “Diva,” a Sasha Fierce track, and “Halo,” a mellow, aw-shucks-I’m-in-love situation, taken from the softer side of Sasha (Beyonce). Confused yet? Don’t be. Because after watching these two vids, Mrs. Carter (that’s right, ANOTHER moniker) will make dern sure that you know the difference between her two self-imposed alter egos. BONUS! She’s also decided to spring for the use of color!

Anyway, the last time B released two videos from her latest album, ‘Single Ladies’ clearly came out on top. The thing became a YouTube, Bonnie Hunt, SNL, and AMA phenomenon, while ‘If I Were a Boy’ simply confused people (read: me) with its shifting perspective and bored others (read: me again) with its blase whininess.

This time around, the tables have certainly turned. Translation: Halo rocks as a single on a purely sonic level.View below.

The video doesn’t necessarily help or hurt its awesomeness. Overall, it makes sure to stay out of the way of viewers actually listening to the track by employing incredibly typical and bland archetypes. ‘Ooh, ain’t we sweet!’ ‘He adores my passion of watching myself do an accelerated form of pantomime in front of a mirror!’ ‘Oh my gosh, camera! Didn’t notice you there as we giggle deliciously!’

Also, personal qualm: if you’re gonna hire a model to be your love interest to act out a relationship you ‘wrote’ about in your ‘most personal album yet,’ a relationship that you have with a hugely public figure, a figure everyone knows you’re married to, then COMMIT to acting like you’re NOT YOU. What I mean by this: don’t spend the last 30 seconds of the video singing to him whilst 3 cm from his face and not make any contact. Weird. B, I totally respect you not wanting to get your hank-pank on in your vid whilst married. Just don’t tread some strange line between committing to the ‘character’ in your video and remaining Mrs. HOVA. Anyway. Unnecessary aside.

Moving on to ‘Diva,’ a video that does exactly what ‘Halo’ didn’t do, on an obscenely grand scale:

Imma bullet my issues.
-Are we now to believe that Sasha permanently comes with a backup-dancing duo? If so, a) boo for blandness and b) how creepy of Beyonce to yearn for the Destiny’s Child days of yore, when two subordinates were always at her rear!
-Those much-publicized-pre-video-release fringe glasses were SO anti-climactic. First of all, she barely wore them during the video. And secondly, they were so incongruent! ‘omgLOVE these glasses, Mr. Video Director. I must wear them with my most avant garde apparel: JEANS, A WHITE TANK TOP, AND A LEATHER JACKET.’ So NOT diva.
-The concept was slim-to-non-existent. With ‘Single Ladies,’ a concept wasn’t required; the focus was on the crazy-awesome 3+ minutes of choreography. And that was a record-introducing single. Girlfriend (or, as in the case of this video, Homegirl) gotsta step it up with some coherence on the second go-round.
-Howevs, the dancing was on the money considering the track’s ‘hood’ quality. B was moving with more of a ‘what up’ aggression and shoulder swag, unlike the strong feminine hippages of ‘Single Ladies.’ That’s right, hippages.

Overall, the vids are sufficient and still relatively entertaining. But Halo definitely emerges as more of a solid release, while Diva feels too hurried and wafer-thin.





Two Choices: Hip-Hop Femininity

5 11 2008

I recently saw Ciara’s new “Go Girl” video, and I have many thoughts, none of which are entirely positive. First, the superficial shots: the song has zero energy. T-Pain’s guest spot is the most exciting part of the track, and that just means it kept me awake long enough to see the end. The concept was also only halfway there; it’s futuristic, she’s an about-business corporate chick. Now she’s a robot! Then it ends climactically with her becoming the main feature at a harley show, twirling around on a Price is Right, “brand new car!”-esque lazy susan, spurting sparks from the tailpipe. Also, the scaffolding in the final dance sequence looks like the behind-the-scenes view of the scaffolding in the “Promise” video. Oh yeah, and it looks like Ci-Ci has not only harnessed the Matrix backbend, but the “Go Girl” video seemed to be an outlet to display her newfound love for Mel B.-like splits. Overall, in one word, “Go Girl” is both visually and aurally uninspired.

But…..

Seeing her in that CUH-RAZY robot outfit with metal greaves, a strong stance and underoos that Katy Perry would fall in love with, got me thinking about Ciara’s image and strong femininity in hip-hop. She’s not the first female solo artist to ward off the temptation of becoming a glorified video girl (yeah, I’m looking at you, Christina Milian, Ashanti, Amerie, etc.), nor has she completely eschewed using sex as a marketing technique. But overall, everything from her bourgeoning image to her aggressive-yet-impressive dance style is refreshingly strong for a female in her particular genre, and in pop music in general. I applaud her for espousing this unique image, but after the Go Girl video, I felt led in two distinct directions:

Ciara’s Anti-Object Femininity: How’s She Doin?

1) Her message, while a bit jarring, is important and should be applauded and embraced by the hip-hop community. Sure, she’s pretty freakin’ terrifying in that robot outfit and man-cut business suit in her new video. But maybe it’s necessary. Maybe Ciara needs to be the stark opposite so we can arrive somewhere in the middle. And I’m not saying that it’s a travesty that women are being mentioned in sexual terms in rap lyrics; that would be a separate issue altogether. What Ciara’s standing against, at least visually, is the manipulation and domination that is occurring in popular sexual lyrics regarding women. Women aren’t partners in rappers’ sex fantasies; they’re subordinated and lured with promises of fame and wealth, which give the lyricist the right to gratify himself however he sees fit, sometimes even with violence. I know what you’re thinking: light topic, right? Let’s move on.

OR:

2. Ciara has good intentions, but she’s actually making matters worse. Good for Ciara for standing up against objectifying females, but seriously: the message she’s sending with her creepitude costuming is putting us right back where we started. The reason I say this: a woman does not need to disregard her innate femininity to illustrate that she’s more than a sex object. What CiCi’s saying with her MANnerisms is, “sup. I’m just like a dude. That means I gets respect.” WRONG. Ciara needs to hold on to what makes her a woman and demand equality in the hip-hop genre while doing so.

Anyway, sorry for the tome. Below is her video, just in case you need to prove me wrong:

Random irreverence to the intellectual legitimacy of all the above: check out the beginning of the spark-cycle sequence at 2:36. How does that look like anything BUT super-flatulence?!





Two Choices: Whatever You Like

31 10 2008

T.I., coming fresh off his machine-gun indictments, has been flying high off the success of his newest album Paper Trail as well as the near simultaneous chart-toppers Live Your Life and Whatever You Like. Famous parodist and self-deprecating Caucasian Weird Al Yankovic is also enjoying moderate success with his take of T.I.’s Economically-dismissive Whatever You Like, turning lyrics like “I’d gas up the jet for you tonight/ and baby you can have whatever you like” into bargain-friendly suggestions, such as “Take you out for dinner, anywhere that you please/Like Burger King or Mickey Ds.” While I’ve never been a die-hard fan of Yankovic’s, his lyrics have always made me chuckle, and the uber-topical nature of this newest single is more relevant to me than his previous hit, the painfully over-done “I’m-white-and-therefore-can-never-be-urban” take on “Ridin’ Dirty.” (Yankovic boasts that “Whatever You Like” is the first parody he’s created while the original single was still on the billboard charts). Both singles are hits in their own right, which leaves me with two very different directions:

How do you prefer to view the economy?

1) T.I.’s way. There’s something delightfully escapist about wining and dining your true love (which I’m sure this woman is to T.I. He’s such a hopeless romantic…right?), throwing caution to the wind, and, dare I say it, wholeheartedly “Liv(ing) You Life.” I know, I know. So PunNasty.
OR…
2) Weird Al’s way. However, maybe we need to jokingly call attention to our wastefulness. I know that Yankovic didn’t intend for his version to necessarily be a diatribe against Patron-sippin, but his hyperbolic contrast makes one realize the horrific financial state that this country is in. Perhaps it’s best to recognize it, make certain lifestyle changes for the bettering of the economy, but still have a sense of humor about it.

So, what do you think? Hit up the vids below for more in-depth research.
 

Aside: If it wasn’t for T.I.’s staggering confidence, there’s no way anyone could find him attractive. I have never seen anyone who looks more like a rat. Don’t get me wrong, I love T.I.’s music. I’m simply relaying facts.





Two Choices: Robyn’s Swedish Sensibility

22 10 2008

Okay, so I could go on and on about how undiscovered and unappreciated Robyn’s new foray into American audiences has been with last summer’s release of her album Robyn, but I fear that I will uninterestingly bring up points that are unoriginal and overwrought by none other than Perez Hilton (I’m using the un prefix like it expires tomorrow, btw). However, I do feel the need to bring up this query: Robyn recently released two new videos (strange pattern of current pop artists, yes?): Cobrastyle, while a definite upgrade from the low-budget Swedish original, still maintains a high level of euro edginess. The new Konichiwa records Robyn deliberately takes a stand against the “sex sells” feminine presence in pop music, and the Cobrastyle video is a clear illustration of that. See below:

However, in Dream On, Robyn takes a fairly neutral, more western direction. There’s a distinct plot, which does help explain the singer’s intention for the song to be “about forgiveness.” Alot of focus is taken away from her aggressive neo-feminism, and it quietly appeals to a broader audience. Check it out:

I love both of these videos, but it leaves me with two distinct choices (coincidentally!):

How do you like your Robyn?
1. Watered down and more accessible, so a wider audience will give her the credit that’s long overdue?
OR
2. Unapologetically Swedish, aggressively anti-sex-object, and deliberately obscure?

Make your decision carefully.