Dig Those Groovy Tunes!

the only sound that's left after the ambulances go

What is this Crap? August 8, 2012

Okay, so, like, a few weeks ago, Jack White, a man for whom I’ve made my appreciation quite clear on multiple occasions from nearly the beginning of this blog, came out with a new music video, for the song “Freedom at 21” from his solo album.  Predictably, Rolling Stone magazine, a publication I have an ambivalent view towards but continue to subscribe to and still take some sort of masochistic joy in flipping through, has nothing but praise for the video in the “Playlist” section of its latest issue (August 16, 2012).  Less predictably, the same video has utterly failed to impress me.  Which means that Rolling Stone magazine would actually bend down further to kiss Jack White’s ass than I would.  And it’s not just because I’m significantly shorter than the average adult journalist, either.

 

I’m not about to call “Judas!” or anything on Mr. White, but what the hell?  Frankly I expected better from the guy who was allegedly unhappy with how the video for “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” turned out.  I mean, what is this?  Sexy lady writhing around on the hood of a car?  Oh, like that’s never been done before (okay, full disclosure here:  I actually really like the Rihanna and Whitesnake videos.  And no, even I don’t have any explanation for the Whitesnake one.  As for the QOTSA vid, it’s probably one of the most unique uses of this trope.  That being said, it’s also one of the most mind-screwy, plus the animation style kinda creeps me out).  Some kind of weird jailbird fantasy with sexy half-naked inmates?  Maybe not quite as cliché, but Gaga did it better (not to mention tweaked the script by making out with a fully clothed, non-heterosexual-male-gaze-targeting butch babe.  You know you’re pushing the audience’s suspension of disbelief when Lady Gaga’s videos start looking more true-to-life than your own.  How did Jack end up in a women’s prison, anyway?).  This isn’t even the first time Jack White’s busted outta the big house in a music video (see “Hands” by The Raconteurs.  Which is, in my humble opinion, better than “Freedom at 21” in every conceivable way.  Also, it’s an abundant source of warm fuzzies).  And no, I’m not about to let you off easy just for putting a woman in a position of authority, as the police officer who chases Jack down, pulls him over, and informs him that he’s under arrest for (from what I can tell, anyway) being a very, very bad boy.  And that’s fine (and not completely dissimilar to some Jack White-related fantasies I might have.  Hey, I’m only human).  But why is she wearing short-shorts when all the other (i.e. male) cops in the music video get to wear pants?  I mean, it’s not really fair that the guys get to be cops while the woman’s job as a police officer is secondary to her function as eyecandy.  And then you get to the jail scene and — oh, look who it is?  Apparently Officer Halloween Sexcop is from a set of identical triplets, and the other two just happen to be Ms. Prisoner O’Love and Lady Hood Ornament.  And they’re all allergic to pants!  Seriously, though, I’d maybe be the slightest bit more okay with all this superfluous ladyflesh if only Jack got more naked in this video.  And not just for my own perverted pleasure (although, well, I have needs too, y’know?), but because enough already with this double standard.  I’m sick of these tired, boring-ass music videos where women’s bodies are constantly on display while the men get to wear clothes and have some semblance of a personality, and who might be sexy but that’s just incidental to who they are as a whole, while women have to be sexy before they can be interesting, even in cases where they are the artist who’s starring in the video.  And sure, that may be enough to attract a certain demographic (i.e. horny entitlement-poisoned heterosexual male douchebags who can’t be bothered to think critically too much).  But the rest of us (i.e. the majority, believe it or not, of the music-consuming public) are going to get real bored real soon if this is all the already dwindling music television industry has to offer us.

 

Yeah, I know, I went off on a huge feminist diatribe once again, but this crap really irks me as a fan of music who is also a feminist, and who doesn’t understand why most of the music-related media (i.e. music videos; Rolling Stone and its ilk) continue to cater to the dudebro culture instead of the general masses of music lovers, most of whom don’t fall into that category and don’t care if our music and music-related media comes with a shiny pair of tits or not.  And while I’ll continue to love Jack White, I find his latest video to be a particular disappointment, because I expected much, much more from a man who has been in some of the most innovative videos of our time, has always been an extremely vocal supporter of women in the music industry, and was THE FIRST MAN TO GET HIS OWN COVER OF GODDAMN VenusZine, for fuck’s sake!  So I find it kind of difficult to comprehend why such a man (a certain man, who for the poor you can b— damn it, why doesn’t anyone stop me?) would ever stoop to involve himself in a video chock full of meaningless T&A and other tired tropes and that’s custom-made for the lowest common denominator (i.e. unimaginative douchewanks).  It just doesn’t make sense.  I will say this much:  I think the song rocks (I’ll let the iffy lyrics slide.  This time); I love Jack’s Mickey Mouse gloves; and the chromatic idiosyncracies here are kind of interesting.  It’s a shame they had to be wasted on such a dumbass video.

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In Which I Issue a Sincere Apology to Kate Moss June 16, 2012

Let me make one thing clear right here and now: I do not in any way entertain the vain delusion that Kate Moss, ridiculously famous model that she is (for better or for worse) has the tiniest inkling that this blog exists, much less that she’d actually have the time or interest to peruse it, nor that it would bear any sort of weight on her self-esteem, one way or another, if she did. So I don’t expect her ever to read this any more than I expect her to have read the mean things I posted about her some two or three years ago. Nevertheless, as a writer who began to re-embrace feminism around the same time as this blog’s genesis, I feel it’s only right (and long, long overdue) that I acknowledge how my former criticism of Ms. Moss was fraught with immature, uncalled-for, and downright unfeminist sentiments. In order to grow as a person and possible future role model, I believe that it’s my duty not to ignore the fact that I’m not perfect, and to own up to the times in the past when I said some things that were dumb and inconsistent with the viewpoints I currently hold. And so the time has come (the walrus said) to air out my dirty laundry before anyone else has any incentive to.

First of all, what the heck was I thinking when I chose that “stars without makeup” picture of Kate Moss to illustrate that first rant I posted on her, along with the caption, “The ugly side of a supermodel”?  I’ll tell you what I was thinking:  that I was being witty and edgy and being all, “Everyone thinks Kate Moss is so pretty and great, I’ll show them, I’ll show them all what she really looks like under all that makeup [maniacal laugh]!”  But now, not only do I recognize that this is a tactic the popular media use all the damn time to make celebrities – particularly female celebrities – seem absolutely heinous just for having the audacity to look like a normal human earthling in public (SCANDALOUS!), or to make us feel better about not being able to afford the resources necessary to keep others ignorant of our physical flaws or some shit, but also, the post of mine that accompanied that picture?  Yeah, it pretty much had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Kate Moss’s appearance at all.  And while it isn’t totally inappropriate to use some visual aids every now and then to make my posts all spiffy-looking and interesting, there really is no excuse for the graphic I used, and even less excuse for the caption that went with it.  Because really, all I was doing there was reinforcing the idea that women should be judged based on appearance, even while at the same time I probably thought I was combating that very notion.

While we’re on the subject of Kate Moss’s appearance, I recognize now that I was wrong to mock Kate for the way she’s supposed to be sexualized in the music video for “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.”  To be perfectly clear, I still find the video to be an embarrassing stain on the otherwise pristine body of work that is The White Stripes’ video catalogue, and I still don’t know what the hell Sofia Coppola was thinking when she decided to go in that creative (and I use the word “creative” in the loosest sense possible) direction when it’s not like we haven’t seen shit like that going on in every other video made for less interesting bands by more amateurish directors, etc.  But that isn’t really Kate’s fault, nor is it her fault that many men (and women, I’m sure) find her to be very sexually attractive (which is not a problem in and of itself), nor is it even her fault that our media-driven society in general and her line of work in particular encourage sexual favoritism towards women who are or border on being underweight (which is a problem.  Not the part about being underweight, I mean; the part where being a certain body type is decided as superior to being otherwise.  That’s a problem).  I realize now that just because heavier women are undervalued in our society doesn’t mean that we should condemn skinny women for merely being skinny.  Not only is such thinking still sexist, it just works to breed more hatred and shame over superficial and arbitrary things.  Kate Moss may be far from an ideal role model for young women, especially ones who already have body image issues (“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is one legit reason I have to dislike Kate Moss), but it’s just plain lazy to blame the entirety of society’s fucked-up body image standards on just one woman who happens to – by some miracle – fit those standards, standards which have existed long before she came along and which will forsake her should she ever cease to epitomize those standards.  It’s lazy because it distracts us from The Bigger Picture and keeps us from questioning the values held by those we may look up to and excuses us from recognizing our own prejudices and faulty values.  And all that really does is let the real bad guy prevail, and probably even grow stronger.

Mmm…lobster tails…

So while I doubt I’ll ever really get to like Kate Moss, I no longer dislike her for stupid reasons (I reserve my right to call her out if she ever again says something like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, etc., and may even mock her for believing such stupidity to be true for anyone besides her, or even herself, since I don’t know about her, but I’ve been on the skinny side all my life and it doesn’t really “feel” like much of anything.  Also, lobster tails – the pastries, not the crustacean anatomy – are frickin’ delicious and even if eating just one would instantly cause me to gain a gazillion and one pounds with little or no detriment to my health, I’d keep right on eating them.  So bite me).  And even though I may be of the opinion that the world would be no worse off if the modeling industry (as it is now, anyway) just didn’t exist, the fact that it does exist and continues to make people think stupid things has little if anything to do with Kate’s being a successful and high-profile employee in the business.  I do think it was rather thoughtless of her to publicly encourage malnutrition and/or self-punishment in order to adhere to a narrow beauty standard that she so conveniently exemplifies, but even that kind of destructive mindset has probably been crammed into her head from the very beginning of her career, along with the constant threat that she’d lose her job if she didn’t work stupidly hard and at the expense of her own happiness and/or well-being to maintain her “look”.

I’m not even mad anymore about the whole thing that started my bizarre Kate Moss rage-fest:  the “throwing-the-laptop-into-the-swimming-pool-and-making-me-wait-even-longer-for-the-next-Kills-album” thing.  Because you know what?  I have that album now.  And the fact that Kate Moss’s carelessness with other people’s electronics made me wait like two frickin’ years or however long it was does not take away from the fact that the finished product flipping rocks.  The stunt may have inconvenienced The Kills themselves, what with having to re-record all those tracks lost in the incident, but really, it was quite foolish of Jamie Hince to store important work-related files on only one device without backing them up at all.  I’m sure what with being a rock star and everything, he could maybe afford to invest in a flash drive or two.  I mean, jeez.  And yes, while it is till kind of stupid to throw electronic equipment around in a fit of rage, Kate isn’t even the only person surnamed Moss ever to have done so (she may, however, be the only non-fictional one).  So once again, Kate, if you are by some miracle reading this, I am truly sorry for saying mean things about you that you’ve probably also never read, and that as long as you remain Jamie Hince’s partner in nothing more than marriage (by which I mean that those rumors about you replacing Alison Mosshart in the Kills never become actualized), I have no reason to blame you for having a detrimental effect on The Kills’ music.

While I’m at it, I might as well go ahead now and apologize to Pamela Anderson for that time in ninth grade when I insisted that she was ugly, which spurred a shallow “yes she is, no she isn’t”-type argument with a male acquaintance who thought she was hot.  I still think it was wrong of said acquaintance to suggest that I only said she was ugly because I was jealous, because I wasn’t envious so much as I was a shallow, close-minded hypocrite.  I reserve my right to question Pamela’s good sense when it comes to her romantic partners, as Kid Rock has a tendency to make me want to barf and/or throw things, but I guess that’s just a matter of (very) personal taste.

 

Fuse Sells Out Part Deux, in which I explain what the sudden Chris Brown backlash bandwagon says about our society as a whole (hint: it ain’t pretty). April 23, 2012

(part one posted here)

Okay, so, like, apparently, we should, like, all forgive and forget what Chris Brown did to Rihanna three years ago, because obviously she has, what with the two of them collaborating on a new song or whatever.  Except that, oh yeah, we kind of, well, totally shouldn’t?  First of all, no one is actually in any position to forgive Brown for his inexcusable treatment of Rihanna except Rihanna herself, and whether and when she does forgive him, if ever, is not only completely up to her, but is also none of our damn business.  Secondly, and more importantly, is the business of forgetting what Brown did, or rather, not forgetting, because no one should forget about this.  I mean ever.  Least of all Brown himself.  I’m not saying he should forever wear the domestic abuse albatross around his neck — provided he not do much more domestic abusing in the future, and by “not much” I mean “none whatsoever, not even a teensy-weensy bit” — but I am suggesting that Brown admit to himself that he once did something heinous to someone who cared about and trusted him, and that he has no reason to expect that incident not to come back to haunt him.  That he made a terribly stupid choice, and now he’s going to have to suffer the repercussions; the relationships severed and the respect lost because he had the choice not to brutally attack his girlfriend, but he ignored it.  He needs to recognize that his sudden decline in the media’s good graces was entirely his own fault.  And for all I know, he might recognize this now (though his rash of twitter rants and flaky attempts at “apology” leave me doubtful); I don’t claim to know Chris Brown’s mind.  But, regardless even of his feelings on the matter, the media outlets that are now supporting him without question and the sycophantic fangirls who make light of his violent behavior as lolsexyfuntimes are conveying a disturbing message to and about our society:  that a person can cause so much harm to the person they claim to care very deeply about, and in as little as three years’ time be celebrated on Fuse for a whole day and be made into a real-life Draco in Leather Pants in certain internet communities.  So to everyone currently hitching a ride on the Chris Brown bandwagon, I have only this to say:  you people make me sick.

 

Oh, yeah, and for further reading on the Chris Brown issue, here’s an awesome article that was written a couple months ago, in the heat of the Grammys wanktroversy:  http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-okay-with-chris-brown-performing-at-the-grammys-and-im-not-sure-why-you-are

 

It’s official: Fuse has sold out.

I’m probably the last person who would accuse anyone of “selling out.”  I mean, I actually kind of enjoyed Bob Dylan’s Victoria’s Secret commercial (“Love Sick” is a damn sexy song.  What was the deal with all that underwear though?).  So understand that I am dead serious when I say that Fuse, which just a couple of years ago I considered the shining beacon of hope amidst the wreckage of what was once music television, has a lot of ‘splaining to do this time.

So last Monday morning, I turned on the TV because it was almost time for My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic (don’t judge me.  Ponies kick ass, mmmkay?), and the first channel to come on just happened to be Fuse.  For the past year or so, Fuse has been doing a lot of these marathons called “takeovers”, in which they’ll air nothing but videos/interviews/specials revolving around a particular artist or group for an entire day.  Well, last week, Fuse’s powers that be decided Monday belonged to — I so wish I was joking, but my sense of humor just isn’t that sick — Chris Brown (barf).  Yes, the same artist who just three years ago was being rightfully ostracized by the entire entertainment matrix for being a human douchenozzle abusive boyfriend to Rihanna, and whom, for reasons I still haven’t quite been able to fathom, the same entertainment matrix has suddenly decided it’s totally okay to like again.  The young man whose unworthy ass the Grammy Awards so garishly kissed a couple months ago, degrading themselves to a new and unthinkable low (even by Grammys standards), especially considering that just three years ago they did something applause-worthy for once by cancelling Brown’s appearance at the awards.  And yes, this is the very same Chris Brown whose pseudomasochistic fangirls rally to his defense because ZOMG he’s so frickin hawt he can [violent act devoid of mutual consent indifferent/irrelevant to any and all of the other’s sexual desires] ME all he wants LOL!!!!!!!  So welcome, Fuse, to the Chris Brown subsection of my own personal shitlist (qualifications:  openly supporting Chris Brown, especially when one has enough social capital that one could be doing something so much more productive with one’s time/money/power, like rescuing puppies, or providing mentors for kids in arts programs, or how about donating some goddamn money to battered women’s shelters?!).

Edit:  this is not the end of this rant.  Somehow I accidently hit the “Post” button when I was trying to start the next paragraph.  Part II will be turning up shortly.

 

STOP THE PRESSES! April 20, 2012

Filed under: Radio blah blah — yourbirdcansing88 @ 7:03 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Apparently absolutely nothing is happening in the State of New Jersey right now.  I know this because the most newsworthy item on NJ101.5 (yes, yes, sometimes I do listen to news radio despite its lack of music) is that OMG Governor Chris Christie fell asleep AT A SPRINGSTEEN CONCERT!  Scandal!  Oh, yeah, and jobs are scarce right now, f.y.i.  But never mind that.  Did we mention that our very own governor had the unmitigated audacity to nod off at a celebration of our undisputed homestate hero?  Get me to a fainting couch, quick!

It’s silly enough that this “issue” is deemed even worth acknowledging, but what enrages me is NJ101.5’s implication that this is the biggest scandal that has ever been attached to Christie’s name.  Y’know, because he totally never stood in the way of progress when it came to same-sex marriage laws or anything.  Heaven forbid.

 

Signs point to today being a good day… March 14, 2012

Ya know why?  ‘Cause just a few minutes ago this morning, I tuned into Q104.3 just as my favorite song ever, “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum was beginning.  Aaaaaaahhhhhh…good tunes…

 

Video of the Week: “Daddy’s Song” by Davy Jones March 4, 2012

Filed under: The Monkees,Video of the Week — yourbirdcansing88 @ 5:20 PM
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There’s actually two reasons why I chose this video for this week.  The first is to honor the memory of Davy Jones, who passed away earlier this week.  The second is that my dad’s birthday was also this week.  Happy birthday, Dad.  And rest in peace, Davy Jones.

 

This video is a scene from HEAD, The Monkees’ one and only feature film (and one of my favorite movies).  The movie kickstarted my obsession with The Monkees which lasted almost the entirety of my freshman year of college.  I’d always been a fan of their music, but HEAD introduced me to the prefab four as individual characters.  What’s also awesome about this video is that it features cameos from Toni Basil (yes, that Toni Basil.  Who apparently had a huge crush on Monkee Micky Dolenz, hence the title of her one and only hit) and Frank Zappa (and Frank Zappa’s talking cow).  Oh, and just a warning, there are some parts of this video that feature rapid, flashing cuts between shots, and so might be problematic for those of you with photosensitive epilepsy or other such conditions.  But otherwise, enjoy.