#211 - #171
Intro"Accidentally woke up today/
over an adumbrate of aberrant gray"-2013 (but we'll get to that in a few weeks ;) )
I'm Ashley and I do PR work for Hailey and Jesse (there's a good chance we've met before, if not: hi! Thanks for reading this! Ready? haha). They had an 'eventful' year (and Tom and Steven were too busy helping them), so I have the duty of posting their end of the year lists. They both told me multiple times throughout the months that they feel like they slacked on the quality of the writing but I had to read through all of them (to edit down to a suitable length for this list (mainly the Last.fm version)) and I think their expertise and humor come through just as strong as it ever has.
But it is important to remember that these have all been edited for practicality purposes. The average Hailey review is about six pages and the average Jesse review is about ten, and it's not really possible to include everything written. Most of the reviews are chopped down to a few paragraphs that best reflect the tone and points made in the original review. I'm really sorry in advance if any come across as confusing or incomplete but I believe that they are all coherent and complete enough to serve their purpose. Email me if they aren't. (sorry!)
Last.fm readers, your schedule is: Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I am in charge of posting the coding to their journals on their accounts but please let me know if Hailey or Jesse don't link you to them. We had an issue last year where they didn't want anyone reading the final page, we'll try to prevent that this year (I only post the dirty laundry that I'm authorized to haha).
P.S. I swapped one of the reviews between their lists, so one of Hailey's reviews is on Jesse's list and one of his is on hers. I dare you to guess which one it is. Good luck! No, really, good luck. I actually forgot which one I switched hahahaAnd now, without further ado, here is the Jesse edition of the Albums of 2013 list!*
*(abridged last.fm version)
Seven billion human lives ended on December 1, 2013. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: folk music and memes
My name is still Jesse and this is still the best and worst albums of the year. That's right: nothing's changed. But you'll read all about that, won't you?
Before we take a look at all the
music released this year, let's recap the major events of the last twelve months:
-A white guy stole a song and replaced the lyrics with musings of rape and objectification of an inferior gender. It was the number one hit of the year, and just so catchy.
-A young white girl acknowledged the concept of sex and it was disgusting and now I have to take my kids to get abortions at least twice a week.
-A black guy said he was pretty good at performing songs about when they used to hang black people from trees on national television and people called him arrogant and crazy.
Despite the fact that it's still such an amazing world to be a part of, it's definitely a world I look forward to being apart of.
But enough of the criticism, let's have fun! Because that's the only important thing in life, right? Weeeeeeeeeeeee! So indie!
So grab your friend-zoned fedoras, pamper your le neckbeards, and clutch your dadcore albums made with REAL instruments to your bosoms, take my hand and let's derp into the music of 2013! #ForScienceMission Statement: All releases will be ranked according to how well they break the follow statement:
Suck, suck your teenage thumb
Toilet trained and dumb
When the power runs out
We'll just hum
This, this is our new song
Just like the last one
A total waste of time
My iron lung
The more a release deviates from the preceding statement, the higher it will be ranked.NOTE: Due to the fact that all sources are being directed to this page, let it be known that some of the reviews and images in this and the proceeding lists may be adult in nature.
So please, don't hesitate to email us your displeasure if you happen to experience an emotional reaction of some kind. We would be ashamed to make you feel anything or think for yourself, if even for a moment. You have our most sincere apologies if we bring anything new to your life.
HOW'S MY WRITING? 1-800-OHL-AWDYOmitted Releases
These are either notable releases that didn't qualify for this list or notable releases that I refused to listen to because the standards I hold are conversely proportional to the amount of time I have to review music.
One could also say that this section usually just turns into what it would look like if I had
reviewed said albums and become understandably annoyed. Take your pick, we're all supportive here, this is a safe environment. Blah blah blah blah.Eric Clapton - Old Sock
Artists are not their art, so let's forget the fact that he's a racist bigot.
But it's a little hard to forget that he's based his entire career on derivatively 'paying homage' to an already trite genre and/or choosing to look after his drug habit rather than his toddler.
But whatever, you all got a nice sappy song out of it. Because we're all 'human' and being a bad father is totally redeemable, all you have to do is win a Grammy.Jimi killed God and that's all there is to it
, ya little string twiddlers.
And look, they even misspelled the title on the album cover, there's supposed to be a 'u' in there.Iron & Wine - Ghost On Ghost
Look, I'm sorry, but I just can't do it anymore. I hear this one is slightly different but I can't listen to another flippin' Iron & Wine album just to write 'Hey look, another flippin' Iron & Wine album'.
I don't want to call him a one trick pony, mainly because ponies are inherently innocent, but also because I have yet to hear a single trick.Emmy Rossum -
Guys! Guys shut up! SHUT UP! She's walking over here! Guys! Emmy's coming over here! Guys! Shut up!
Oh, hey Emmy. Hi. I, uh, hi! Um, your album, uh, it isn't eligible for the list, no, because it's a cover album, but I really like you-I-mean-it a lot though, but I was going to put it on the page anyway, you know, anyway, because you're really good in Shameless (on Showtime, for the love of God watch it)
and I really like your hair and what are you doing on Saturday?Brad Paisley - Wheelhouse
You know what? I really, really
used to get some sort of sadistic pleasure for ripping into ignorant pieces of crap that soil the entire concept of art but I'm getting too old and too worn out to do it.So I'll let someone else do it
. Trust me, there really is forty-five minutes of material to burn him for.Jake Bugg - Shangri La
You people seriously need to piss off.
You know whose words you're reading here, all of you idiots that worship an artist just because of their age need to go crawl in a hole and die. You're enabling them. You're telling them that their art is worth something just because it sounds acceptable. You need
to piss off.
We reviewed Bugg's last album and it was a steaming pile of crap, this one isn't going to get any better because all you folk-tards encouraged him to put out another banal and generic release only a year after the last one.
You should all be stoned and/or burned at the stake, it's only fair.3OH!3 - Omens
Remember when you were all doing that stupid thing with your hands? Oh trust me, I won't let you forget. But please, continue sharing your political beliefs with us all. We're taking everything you say with the utmost seriousness.Jimmy Buffett -
Songs from St. Somewhere
Jimmy Buffett is literally one of the worst artists that has ever existed. Not even a debate. I don't care if you like listening to one of the three songs you know of his, he objectively should not be allowed to integrate with the general public. Do not ever elect me into a position of political power because the first thing I will do is detain and deport Mr. Buffett from this solar system, I am not even pretending to be joking.Paramore - Paramore
Nope, can't do it anymore. Don't start a riot (what you get when you let your heart win, whao whao) but at this point I'm just feeding thirteen-year-old girls who love to pretend like they know what they're talking about, sending me poorly-spelled angry emails at all hours of the night.
"You need to open up to the complex intricacies this pop-punk charade explores. Your assessment is totally gay and you're such a whore.
...and where can I buy those jeans Hailey was wearing at the last show, and when's the album coming out?"Mac Miller - Watching Movies with the Sound Off
I may be white but I'm not THIS white.
I love all you twentysomething college kids that think this is something of value. I mean, come on
, your parents aren't around, you can tell me the truth. You don't really
like this, right? This is just like that Asher Roth
thing you went through a few years ago, right?
Oh, that's right, the whole lack-of-an-attention-span thing. Hang on a year or two, there'll be another one. Just keep checking /r/music.Bad Religion - Christmas Songs
This EP is definitely the most honorable of omissions.
It's a compilations of covers so that's why it doesn't count, but we're drawing attention to it because the money it earns is going to be donated to the families of children abused by priests.
Honestly, I think you should buy at least eight copies. Come on, just picture the act if you need any more incentive for some reason.Dr. Dog - B-Room
I don't get it. I really don't. I've heard all their work and I...don't get it. What exactly is their artistic viewpoint on anything
? It's all just...bland. It's a swamp of nothingness. There is no viewpoint, nothing clever about it. Nothing unique.
It's nice elevator music, maybe
. But the problem is that there's better
elevator music. I don't know. I seriously want to know what kind of water you kids are drinking. It's not just that there's better music out there, it's that all
of it is better.Hopsin - Knock Madness
Hopsin is that guy who takes everything
too seriously. He generalizes and criticizes huge
demographics without any sort of reasoning or logic, providing no evidence or alternatives to 'problems' that don't actually exist.Eminem
, and Hopsin: black music for white kids afraid of black music.Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic ZerosHey Jesse, what about the new Ed Sharpe CD
I would say that the quality of their work has taken a sharp decline but that would imply that it had any positive elevation to begin with.Cage the Elephant - Melophobia
Look, I don't even pretend that I've ever been in touch with the younger generations, but it just seems like every day that the divide grows larger.
I mean really, I'm not that
old. I'm not. But it just seems like, oh I don't know, maybe every single Cage the Elephant song attempts to accomplish the exact same thing a slightly older song
I mean really, I get it, people like to listen to music that sounds like music they already like. I get that. By why do they insist on listening to music that's worse
than the music they like?
Guys, we've reviewed both of their albums. And a few thousand before those. I don't know what you want me to say. Because if I say anything, you'll just get all upset and I'll end up pouting for a year or two because you don't just flippin' save the energy and listen to Beck
.Lorde - Pure Heroine
It's just the stupidest thing in the entire world. Honestly, just save yourself a whole mess of time and a bunch-a-braincells and go listen to Lana Del Rey
"Oh but Jesse, she's so young and-"
WE ALREADY TALKED ABOUT THIS.Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines
But, most of all...this song
is really Gaye dude
Honestly though? This is the worst country in the history of the world. If a hip-hop artist were to have written this song, it'd be a travesty and a contributing factor to the unraveling of the civilization's moral fibre. Oh, but Thicke is a white guy, that means it's just a catchy song.Modern Radio-Friendly Country
What'd you say?
Sit down a sec, take a load off, let me tell you 'bout country music. REAL country music. REAL music
This is music for the soul. About real struggles. And, uh, yeah. This ain't like any of that crap on the TV. I mean really, what is even the point of black people?Modern Radio-Friendly Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B
What'd you say?
Sit down a sec, take a load off, let me tell you 'bout hip-hop. REAL hip-hop. REAL music
This is music for the soul. About real struggles. And, uh, yeah. This ain't like any of that crap on the TV. I mean really, what is even the point of white people? US/UK Neo-Folk Revival
It's cancer, it really is.
Honestly, it's to the point where I have no hope for the future of mankind. It's my generation that is falling for this ruse and it's my generation that is expected to solve all the world's problems when we inherit political power. Are you kidding me? My
generation? The airheads that fell for Mumford & Sons twice
I know you like reading my crap when someone gets a rise out of me, but I'm putting my foot down this year (hopefully it lands on some mandolin player's neck).[Editor's Note:] From a PR standpoint, one of the biggest issues we had this year was that Jesse wrote an article saying that folk music be will this decade's musical version of a minstrel show. Yeah, so don't expect to see many flattering folk reviews this year, though there are a few he and Hailey complimented higher up on the list than you would expect."Indie" Bands
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't enjoy the pretentious ramblings of idiot kids in their twenties, it's that they all sound the same. All of them. I have heard every indie album ever released and any that will ever be released.
You children think you're the first to do anything and everything, when you're the least original of all.Stand-up Comedy
Comedy is a superior artform to music, let's not rank them together.Live Albums
Live albums are just rearranged renditions of the studio work. It's fun and all that but it's a lie. If they edited in prison cheers for Johnny Cash
and people believed it, there's no limit to what else they can adjust.
(Your band needs to be able to perform a competent live show though (ADJUST YOUR GODFORSAKEN LEVELS BEFORE
THE SHOW YOU SACK OF CRAP), otherwise you're not allowed to be a musician. But we've been over that a few hundred times before.)Compilation Albums
There's no continuity or cohesion. They're not all bad, but they're not inherently well-intentioned.Film Soundtracks
Soundtracks are just DJ setlists, essentially. They're mood pieces picked by the director, not the artists.Remix Albums
They're usually always super interesting but they inherently distort the artist's intentional intentions.
lolololol look honey, he put a nod to last year's winner in the omitted section, how ironicAn Embarrassing Number of International Releases
This is the first time I've reviewed anything less than 250 albums in a year since I was in elementary school. I have literally no time to do anything, let alone track down releases from beyond my language borders (for the most part).
And, to be perfectly honest, that really disturbs me. Whatever, I'll just suppress my emotions until they manifest themselves in uncomfortably bitter critiques of albums that I had no desire of reviewing this year.
Speaking of which-
RANKED:#211 – #171211The Synthetic Dream Foundation-
Where Drowned Suns Still Glimmer
Dreadful album cover, decent music.
It's hard to explain, because it's one of those Evanescence
-y bands and, while they don't do anything objectively wrong, it's hard to find anything of any sort of artistic merit here.
Long female vocal notes? Oh you bet. DARK AND DISTURBING drummachine textures? Sure, why not. Synthesized-up-the-butt orchestral backing? Of course! Honestly, you can probably already hear the record in your head and, truth be told, it probably sounds much better in your skull than it does in real life.
Though I constantly complain like a spoiled brat, I really do enjoy reviewing music, but I have to draw the line somewhere. This is just downright boring. No, seriously, guys, listen. I have to review hour-and-a-half experimental ambient albums, it's not like I need a four-chorded melody every five seconds to be engaged in an album. But this? Pour some cardboard on your bran, it's not gettin' any grayer than this.
Just don't even bother, putting it politely.210Skylar Grey - Don't Look Down
I first took notice of Grey on Lasers
and have been regretting it ever since.
Grey has an absolutely wonderful voice but squanders it on the most asinine drivel imaginable.
Honestly, I really
don't want to have to pick this apart. It would be borderline unethical, this is completely defenseless. Really, I'm genuinely afraid of even bothering to critique this for fear of accidentally violating the Geneva Conventions.
It's not that this was so hard to imagine, but I have genuinely
kept tabs on this release date for at least a year and a half. When not in charge of composition, I suppose she does a great job with what she's given. That's the only hypothesis I have, because this album, with her name on it, is just terrible
The instrumentation is so generic that it may as well be white noise. The lyrical content is, holy crap, shutter-inducingly bad. The composition and song structure is by-the-numbers. Again, none of these critiques are terribly unexpected but the degree to which they've been degraded to is relatively shocking.
My soul, my being, and my spirit have been sucked from the very essence of my existence solely from listening to this. I urge you to please never
listen to this. Under no circumstance should you ever even attempt to indulge in it, ever
. Something very pure will perish inside if you even dare venture within half a city block of this record. This is some straight up Jumanji crap.209Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2
Oh cool, let's do this again, how fun.
Seriously, you people are insufferable. You sit on your butts and complain that music is dead and that pop music sucks and how you're all so ashamed to be a part of your generation and then you act like *NSYNC
's performance at the VMAs this year was some sort of hark back to "REAL MUSIC", completely sincere and without irony. You're clinically
Honestly, do you people ever look in the mirror? Come on, seriously, why do any of you like or even respect Timberlake? *NSYNC wasn't even the best boy band of the 1990s, Timberlake practically invented his own acting career (as it obviously wasn't given based on raw talent), and his solo work is just grimace-inducing.
At a certain point you people need to start learning how to recognize self-absorption. I understand why he put his face on both of his album covers, it's a pop album so that's a 'necessary' component, but why does this even need to exist? This is not a bonus disc, like it should be, he's calling this a companion piece to the album. Did the last album warrant a sequel? Who asked for this?
indulgent. Seriously, butthead, no one is asking for nine-minute pop songs. Really, JT, please explain to me why you think highly enough of yourself to do this. Don't get me wrong, you're a pop star, I'll defend your right to do pop stuff. I get it, I really do. But this? Justin, you have to release like...I don't know, six
great albums before people actually start wanting to listen to every single thing you ever attempt.
This is just absolutely ridiculous. Uncalled for, even. It's a pop-album, that doesn't want to admit that it's a pop album, and it's almost an hour and twenty minutes long.
Really, this album is groundbreaking. It's the first pop album that actually jumps the shark. A pop
album, that jumps the shark. By definition, that's not possible. But here we are.
And it's worse than the first one, which is another hard-to-fathom accomplishment. It's like limbo! We're just aiming lower and lower every time, and everyone cheers! Hurray! Life is a party!
And honestly, you people don't actually like Timbaland
, right? No, I'm not being patronizing or condescending, liking popular music (what 'pop' stands for, by the way (looking at you The Beatles
fans out there)) isn't a crime. But really, Timbaland
is what gets you going? I'm not one to start casting stones but...you know...I really shouldn't let them go to waste.
Skip it and then abandon any person who expresses a positive opinion of it. Yeah, we're in objective-crap-tier here, people.208Darwin Deez - Songs for Imaginative People
Judging by the title, Darwin clearly didn't make this record for himself.
You know, I've always wondered what it's like to be insufferably postmodern. I'm just not enough of a stupid idiot to buy into the 'I expressed myself, therefor I made art' ideology. Luckily for those that do, Deez iz making music for you! Hooray!
I really wish I could think of something worse than this. Reviewing this is like putting dog crap in a petrie dish and analyzing it, even though it's immediately evident what it is and what it's worth.
Lyrically, it is beyond infuriating. But that's how I feel about everyone between thirteen and thirty years old anyway.
Compositionally, it's like a toddler coloring on the wall with finger-paint made of his own Gerber and saliva concoction. It's beyond flippin' stupid. It's incessantly irritating and makes me want to light my organs on fire. Specifically my ears, so I don't have to sacrifice any more squishy innards to prove a point.
Vocally, I, uh...I really just want to die. Can someone please kill me? Imagine if this was what all music was like? Just wait, the human race will be lucky enough to go extinct and then some advanced race will find Earth a few thousand years later and find this record as the only evidence of music. They'll listen to it and gargle to each other, "adslghadfighadshgisadhgoahdoigahghasipduiughasud" (my alien-talk is a little rusty but I think that translates to, "Whoever made this is obviously responsible for this baren wasteland lol").
I'm done. I can't do it. I have such a little threshold for music that is as terrible as it is pretentious.
Look, don't try to pull any of this "U dn't get it Jezze, iz deep and hard music" crap on me. I get it. I see the time signature malarky he's trying to pull. It's very fitting how he utilizes ostinatos on this, as 'ostinato' is Italian for 'stubborn'. As in 'Darwin Deez is a stubborn postmillennial sack of dreck that should be forced to live on a dreary pier' (my Italian is a little rusty too).
I understand if you think I'm being a little harsh or overly critical or 'mean' but I'm going to end with a quote. This is literally a Facebook post from Deez, taken verbatim. It's not an opinion: the man and his work represent everything that is wrong with everything, he is an antichrist of art.just some reflections that i've had while listening to my new record (which i've done 1000x). i found some unintentional magic that i wanted to chat about (brag). the intro of 'good to lose' (after the deceptive time signature fake out) is something that i'd like to describe as "rhythmically blinding." i find the hard 3-against-4 over top of the 16th note drum part (so 3-against-16) blissfully fun to struggle with as a listener. i don't know if i've ever heard it before and i'd like to coin "rhythmic blinding" as my own Mu chord. also, some cool music-to-lyric connections. in the bridge of good to lose i sing about rewinding someone. rewinding my neighbor breigh if you must know (and also myself.) the next part of the song, the half-time break down and the subsequent return to the chorus riff--does it not sound like slowly cranking something heavy until it's very tightly wound and then releasing it to explosive effect? a musical representation of rewinding. totally unintentional. also, chelsea's hotel, a song about slowly and doggedly constructing a huge edifice, does the repeating rhythmic pattern (or ostinato) not connote the very brick-by-brick-ness that the words are expressing? each drum hit sounds to me like a brick being laid. again, totally unintentional! the wild sounding guitar solo on you can't be my girl, that was an intentional attempt at expressing the wildchild girl character musically. so i'm just bragging there. but what have you guys heard in the way of music-to-lyric connections on this record or any other?
as a postscript, i do say, it truly is some other force or beauty like god that creates through me in the case of my best songs. intellectually i can't get down with the concept of god but this experience (of not being at the helm during my best creation) is so central to my life as an artist and i experience it repeatedly. redshift, arguably the best song from my new record, took what i would call "zero" effort, and you can't be my girl (my favorite) took very little. i shitted radar detector out of my big toe. just sloughed it off like i couldn't wait. :0 no i'm kidding.
If an astroid smashes into the planet we call home I will be in eternal dispair at the loss of life but eventually take solace in the fact that at least we won't have to deal with another Deez record.
He pronounces 'quirks' as 'quarks', I can not even conceive of something that could piss me off more, and I'm the guy that reads about Nazism.
He's a pretentious sack of odure and his 'secret four string guitar tuning' sucks.
I'm going to go outside and cool off. Hopefully that astroid's here by now.207Miley Cyrus - Bangerz
This is the first Miley Cyrus album I've ever reviewed and I'm only doing it as an excuse to call every single one of you a stupid idiot.
No, seriously, all of you. Everyone.
I am dead serious about this. No-no-no, this isn't another 'oh look at Jesse making jokes and being hyperbolic'. I geniunely
wish that most of you weren't alive. I don't want you killed or murdered, that would be incredibly immature and inhumane, but I sincerely wish that most of you had not been born.
You people do this every
time. You all care so much about literally everything. You focus on such inconsequential, trivial, and banal aspects of life with such fervency that when I die I want my body shot into space so not even the slight trace of my existence is forced to bear even the slightest proximity to such a vapid, soulless, and mentally torpid species.
I am not
talking about Miley Cyrus fans. No, they're innocent. They're just young girls, they have excuses. Their brains are still developing. No, I'm talking about you
, anyone over the age of nineteen who even has an opinion about Cyrus. Because you are literally everything that is wrong with everything. You are why there is pain and suffering in this world, because you're an ignorant waste of organs.
I'm dead serious about this. If you pay even the slightest attention to pop-culture 'controversies', you need to figure out a way to donate your organs to those deserving them more than you.
Seriously, I know you think I'm just being repetitious or trying to make some point. Or maybe you're jumping ahead and thinking that I'm speaking out of line. Honey, I haven't even started.
I don't consider overpopulation of Earth to be an issue. I don't. I consider the average IQ to be. Your IQ is based on your ability to learn, recognize, and isolate patterns. The average intelligence score is not only plummeting, it is destroying itself retroactively. Don't get me wrong, the dumb have always outnumbered anyone of even moderate brainpower by at least one hundred to one but it has become even worse than that with the HYPER-interactivity of the internet.
You people just don't get it. And then someone teaches you, and you proclaim that you understand, but then you revert straight back to neanderthals the moment you see something shiny.
It's all just a cycle. That's all it is, that's all it ever has been. It's not millennial, generational, yearly, monthly, or even weekly or daily. It's hourly. The same things just keep happening over and over again and you people still keep falling over again and again, "Yay! How unexpected!"
Don't paint me as some arrogant, above-it-all commentator on this phenomenon. Because it's not about me being better than you (for the record: I'm much worse). It's about you being inherently worthless. You're not worth something because you're born. I mean, sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you're not. Listen, if Napoleon conquered most of the civilized world and isn't even close to being named 'best human', what are you doing? You're farting, picking your nose, and waving dumb little lights in front of your face. Thanks for gracing us with your presence.
, if you have some sort of developed thought about Kim Kardashian
, you belong in a cage. Positive or negative, you're subhuman. Because here's the thing, and it is everything
: why do you care?Why should you ever possibly care?
My thoughts on Kim? She made a sex tape, found a public relations angle, and is worth millions. And that's it. And I can not even imagine caring any more than that, positive or negative. She made money selling sex and promoting appearance in America, wow, how unprecedented. When did she say she wasn't? I don't give a crap, so maybe I missed it when she did.
Why do you care?
Seriously, justify your existence. No, really, this isn't a request. Prove that you're not wasting everyone's time. You are eating food, making trash, and taking up Internet bandwidth. I'm dead serious, prove to me why your existence necessitates our continuing relationship where we don't just deport you to an island and starve you.
You're all such entitled peasants. I don't understand how you all wake up in the morning and think so highly of yourselves. You have done nothing of any consequence with your life, regardless of your age, and you're just going to keep walking around like you matter, passing off false wisdom and witticisms from your brainwashed youth.
What has Miley done to anyone over the age of twenty that warrants any sort of relevant reaction whatsoever, either positive or negative? I swear to God, you people are so far up your own butts that you could literally tongue-punch your own uvulas.
Oh but I listen to Queen
and The Beatles
and Led Zeppelin
. THANK GOD, I was afraid that everyone had forgot that music was invented in the 1960s. I swear to God, Baby Boomers, you've doomed us all.
Look, I'm going to lay some knowledge on you, you're going to feel a slight prick: music has been the most masturbatory and worthless medium of art since the 1930s. Oh sure, there's been so much experimentation and so many wonderful albums have been made by so many talented musicians but seriously, come here a second, here, lean in close: you do realize that a basic requirement of competency in music is the appropriation of necessary
pitch structures, right? Yeah, let the realization slowly wash over you: it all
sucks, ever since you post-modernists inherited the throne. Killing your father and banging your mother, how noble.
Unless you are selling a genre piece, nothing is 'supposed' to be anything. Guys, I understand how hard this must be for all of you, but there is nothing 'correct' about a chord. It's an agreed-upon sound, that's it. It's culturally relative, there is nothing objective about it. The music you like and the music you make is nothing more than crayon scribbles on society's fridge. It's not real
Don't get me wrong, 'correct' (objectively superior) music was being cranked out fairly regularly until the big ol' wars started kick-starting globalization a little sooner than we were ready for. But after that? It's a chord-fest, nothing more, stop pretending like it's not insanely conventional. Literally, insane
ly conventional, insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. No, it's even worse
than that: it's the same thing over and over and you all think
it's different. That's pretension
, and you're all
suffering from it.
Oh thank heavens that the civilization and era I was born into has access to such great music, but woe is me, not of it is being created in the present. Please
piss off. Everything presented to this little spoon-fed generation is so watered down and inoffensive that when confronted with something that snuck under the radar or doesn't abide by convention you people lose your crap and have no idea what to do with it. And because it's not based on sounds you recognize, you classify it as inferior. Thanks for the assessment, doc.
Let's be honest here. Mozart comes back. Beethoven comes back. I don't care, any 'classical' composer, pick your poison. Give me one good reason why you think they wouldn't be kicking you in the crotch (regardless of gender) for even having an opinion on Miley Cyrus' public perception when you could be listening to Aphex Twin
or Olivier Messiaen
You're all wasting your lives, and the worst part is that you don't even care. No-no-no, let me put that another way. You're all wasting your lives, and the worst part is that you don't even realize that it's already too late.
Miley twerks at the VMAs and people lose their collective minds. Okay, I get it. Attention spans, and the lack thereof, makes sense.
Remember when Britney Spears
performed and she was out of shape and couldn't follow the routine? Oh, right of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when Spears performed in that near-nude suit at the VMAs? Oh, right, of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when Spears and Madonna
kissed at the VMAs? Oh, right, of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when Madonna performed in wedding lingerie and flashed her legs at the VMAs? Oh, right, of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when Charlie Sheen 'went nuts' and you were all 'winning' with 'tiger blood'? Oh, right, of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when David Hasselhoff got drunk and ate that hamburger? Oh, right, of course not. That was eons ago.
Remember when Columbia blew up? Remember when Gaddafi went on his UN tirade? Remember when literally anything of any historical or actual cultural relevance happened in your life time? Oh, right, of course not. Because you're a bunch of pea-brained idiots.
Harlem shakes? Bacon? Keep Calm And Gangnam Style? Razor Scooters? Honestly, you're all just a disease that manifests itself every few months, you really are.
I swear to God, I don't know how you people do it. How anyone on the entire face of the planet saw how Miley performed and didn't immediately yell, "HUH, THAT'S INTERESTING. SAY, DOES SHE HAVE AN ALBUM COMING OUT SOON? SHE DOES? OH, THAT EXPLAINS IT. SEE, I'M AN INTELLIGENT PERSON SO I RECOGNIZE THIS AS THE YEARLY INSTANCE WHERE A FEMALE STAR USES PROVOCATION AS A PUBLICITY STUNT. THANK FLIPPIN' GOD I ACTUALLY HAVE MY BRAIN AND
USE IT" is simply beyond me.
I got news for you stupid idiots: sex sells. And it always has. And it always will, as long as there are sweaty idiots to get excited over it. And while it's obviously not the most honorable merit to advertise by, there's nothing wrong with that. And you know why?People have sex
HOLY CRAP, NEWS FLASH.
I don't want to rock your entire existence but people have sex all the time. All
the time, in fact some people are probably having sex right now. Actually, statistically speaking, there are at least a couple thousand. People are constantly having sex, just ask your mom. No, seriously, think about it. Your parents have had sex before, at least once, and they loved
it, and you owe everything
to that. You exist because of sex. That's because, you little ignorant idiot, sex, along with eating, breathing, and drinking, is a quintessential quality of your species. Until you can replicate inside of your own membrane mentally, like a jellyfish (lookin' forward to it), this isn't changing.
But noooooooooo, this is wroooooooooong. We're above all this. And honestly, we should be, but in the arena of pop music, isn't there an exemption? I mean really, we're talking about teen-pop here. Teens are biologically wired to think of sex. They have disposable income. Speak to teens about their interests and they're going to give you money. That's capitalism. Have you ever noticed how anyone having a problem with 'sex sells' also happens to jack off over the very notion of how awesome capitalism is? This is what I'm talking about, there is zero memory-span to support the majority of human life's relevant existence. Get rid of them, all of them. Don't kill or torture them, just stop having them.
But that's not the issue is it? It's not about sex, is it? Look at Rihanna
, no one cares. Look at Beyoncé
, no one cares. You know what it is? You really want to know what it is? Miley is a special little Disney princess.
And this is where my blood boils, pour yourself a nice cup and pop a squat. Anybody and everybody with half a brain knows that Disney has completely raped the gender perceptions of multiple generations
of young women. I mean really, let't not even pretend like this is a debate.
I'm going to do something don't ever
do: I am not only going to reference Hailey, I'm going to quote her.
In 2011, Hailey won a butt-load of money in grants and prizes for an essay she wrote titled "Tell Me What I'm Supposed To Be (They Just Let Me Out of the Vault)", a scathing review of Disney's perceptions of women and the merits they give their female characters. Just for a second, let me quote her writings:Despite the fact that there are only ten examples to pull from, the total duration of the Disney Princess concept dates back to the late nineteen thirties with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney, not a brand to risk challenging social norms (see: the deleted shots of The Pastoral Symphony sequence in the original Fantasia film), has not only reinforced the inferiority of feminine traits, they have perpetuated and propagated them. One does not have to look very far, let's rank the ladies from most worthless to honorable:
Ariel: A worthy contender for the title of Worst Female Character in the History of Fiction. She gives up her voice for legs to get a man's attention. We're taught that this is bad, which would be a wonderful ending if she didn't actually win the man's affections through this. She's a barbie doll, nothing more.
Aurora: It's hard to argue a case for her. She falls asleep and someone comes to her aid. The prototypical damsel in distress. A trophy, how cute. She teaches men to be forward and rescue women, because they're ignorant (asleep).
Jasmine: She may as well not exist, she's another trophy. There's nothing unique or special about her. She's vapid and dull, and look at her waist line. Girls, don't worry about being anything if you're hot.
Snow White: Very nice, doesn't cause conflict, exists only to 'awe' the other characters into doing manual labor. Typical damsel in distress. The face that launched half-a-dozen dwarves, nothing more.
Cinderella: An interesting take on classism, or at least it would be if it didn't glorify marrying into money. Is there any indication whatsoever that the relationship between the prince and Cinderella will work? No, but it doesn't matter, because money solves all problems. Love being one.
Belle: Pseudo-intelligent feminists like to list her as a hero because 'she reads books and people who read books are smart'. That's a debate for another day, but she also has a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome and tries to teach us that this is okay just because the beast ends up being a 'hot dude'. What if he didn't change? No, silly me, that would solidify the theme, a concept which has no place in a Disney film.
Rapunzel: There's really not much to Rapunzel, she's eighteen. She teaches decent lessons to young women about age but again, ends up with the 'hot guy'. Nothing risked, nothing gained.
Tiana: The Princess and the Frog's issues are more race-based than gender-based, Tiana is a decent-enough role model. She's forward and direct and that's nice, I guess. It's a rip-off of a cliche fairy tale, one that Beauty and the Beast tried to attempt as well, but it doesn't suffer any crippling gender issues.
Pocahontas: For the first time in sixty years, a Disney princess actually mattered. Pocahontas does not get what she wants. Welcome to life. This sends the perfect message to young women: life isn't a Disney movie. Killing John Smith would have been going too far but it teaches women that life is not going to work out how you plan it. She is a blatant rip-off of Juliet but it's a start.
Mulan: The perfect Disney princess, she almost makes up for the others. She deals, directly and of her own will, with the gender issues surrounding her and everyone learns a lesson, in the least patronizing ways possible. The women are smart, the men are smart, she is a character that tells women that they're not 'supposed' to be anything. And she saves the most populated nation on the planet, a nice thing for her to go out of her way to do.
And that's it, that's the entirety of Disney's stable of pretty little creatures they've trotted out to young girls, encouraging to adopt one and only one. Who do they pick, the girls of the first world? Mulan has squinty eyes, Pocahontas is a minority, Tiana is urban, Rapunzel is too new, Belle requires reading comprehension, Snow White requires manners, and you can't be Jasmine without a rich dad.
Ariel, Aurora, and Cinderella. That's what we get. The tramp, the weakling, and the gold-digger. Thanks Disney. Well, I'm a natural blonde so I can't go with Ariel. Slothfulness is a sin, so no thanks, Aurora. As is greed, so Cinderella isn't an option.
It's not that I think that I have superior genes, quite the opposite, but I refuse to have a child until I can show her an age-appropriate role model. I don't want a girl, I want a person. The problem is that there is no adequate attack strategy against Disney's distorted ideals except for a box-office bomb.
The only thing less original than my critiques of Disney is their yearly income reports, so just let it be known that the following pages aren't here to prove a point, they're to provide a written and noted distance between the person I am today and who I was told to pick from. I highly doubt any young girls read a publication of this nature but in the event you do: I'd be honored if you colored on these pages, dear.
And now let's skip ahead a few pages so that she can make my point for me-Contrary to the puritanical dross of Christian overtones that pollute western media, the concept of recreational sex is not inherently misogynistic.
Hailey and I are in charge of helping raise a young girl, a daughter of a friend that can't always be there for her offspring (understandably, it should be said). One day, she came up to Hailey and I and asked us what sex is. She's ten, this was about a year ago. And you know what we said? We sat her down and told her what sex is. And why would we do something as crass and inappropriate and immature and reckless as that? Because we respect her intelligence
. And you know what, she's ten, so she cares more about pill-bugs than anything (this is why she and I get along so well). Weird, not making a big deal out of subject might lead her to not make a big deal out of a subject. Somebody call Dr. Phil, I think we're on to something.
Sex is really not a big deal to anyone older than fourteen. It's not, it really isn't. But that's the problem, Miley Cyrus was a very
figure. So, what's the film you show young girls to prepare for what exactly sex is? There isn't one, because of all this puritanical nonsense that Disney spits out, saying women aren't allowed to have sex until they're twenty eight, and if they do they'll give up being the protagonist of their lives.
This is the issue. Miley is twenty years old. She was engaged. She's allowed to think and express herself sexually. Hey, she didn't have a baby in high school. You ever think about that? Your grandmother probably had your mother/father when she was younger than Miley, you ever think about that? What message was Miley sending young girls? "Sex exists." Big deal, anyone over seven with an internet connection knows that.
And honestly, twerking? It's just the latest dance, why are you people devoting braincells to this? You did the culturally-equivalent moves when you were her age, but there were no cameras so that makes it okay I guess?
But no, it gets worse, you're all stupid idiots, remember. Who was she twerkin' with? Robin Thicke
, and what was that song about? Rape. Misogyny. And you stupid morons didn't catch it. You saw the visual "TWERK ALERT-TWERK ALERT, MAN YOUR BATTLESTATIONS, OFFENDED PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET WILL NOT BE SILENCED" and didn't actually listen to what he
You do this all
the time. You people are incapable of just looking under the surface of anything
for even a millisecond. It's all so
literal. Honestly, it shows not only incompetence but a lack of intelligence. So, really, please give me a detailed response as to why you actually deserve a place on this planet.
Really. Eventually the population is going to grow unsustainable and only the best of the best are going to be allowed to get on a rocket and leave for a new planet. And people will call this a human-rights crisis, when it's totally not. People are better than other people, it's not a sin to say that. I mean honestly, not vastly
better but at the very least objectively
Meteor is coming, tomorrow. Tell me, with as few mentions of Miley or whatever stupid event happened last, why you deserve a seat on the next ship out of here more than Noam Chomsky. Yeah, that's right, you did it to yourself.
In short: you are feeding the zeitgeist to itself and have only yourselves, both consumers and creators, to blame. So piss off, yeah?
...okay, let's actually review this thing.
This is pretty dreadful, and I'd imagine it's her best album. Is it the worst pop album of the year? No, not really, but that's not saying much. And to be fair, a terrible pop album is infinitely less pretentious than a terrible rock album.
I have a problem with music that tells teenagers to have self-esteem (I'm a student of Mozzer, mind you), so there really isn't a human being that has ever existed that I could recommend this to. 'Life is fun but also totally hard but it's okay because I have my friends' is the only real subtext to any of these tracks, but it's not like that was completely unexpected.
But really, this has no
shelf life at all. Don't get me wrong, I have, and will continue to, defend pop music that has social relevance but this record doesn't qualify for that program. It's all so 'NOW' and 'HAPPENING', it kind of makes me queasy.
And really, I mean really
, who are you fooling with these vocals? Cyrus can sing when she needs to but you'd never know from the sounds on this record, holy crap, synthesized and pitch-corrected up the butt. We're not talking fun and innovative harmonically-inspired pitch correction, we're talking near-auto-tune.
Instrumentally, it's more varied than the average pop album but not in any sort of competent way. It's just a collection of singles in a way. Some are almost okay and the others are pretty terrible. Those that are nearly average are exceptionally cliche, to such a degree that you'll try to remember where you learned the definition of deja vu. Honestly, Wrecking Ball
? I mean really, it's hard to be more pop-oriented than Beyoncé but at least her songwriters sneak in a few cool tricks under the surface. But really, I have heard Wrecking Ball at least seventy times in my life, having only heard the song by that exact title about five times.
But really, it's just a totally average pop album, which is why publicity stunts had to be cooked up to boost sails. And you know what? Who cares? Again, you people do this every
time. You'll do it next year too. And it's just so frustrating because I highly doubt you ever snap out of it.
It's not a big deal, in every regard.[Editor's Note:] A couple of things to clear up here:
1. I'm not going to say that this is the most bitter review either Jesse or Hailey wrote this year, but it does reflect the average tone of their writings this year. For some context: they did something they do sometimes this past July (wink wink 2004-2007-2010-??? wink wink) so they were both going through what we call their 'postpartum' stage from about July to mid-November this year (if you happened to interact with either of them during this time I'm sure you can agree that they weren't the most pleasant people to be around). So just let this serve as a warning now: the majority of their reviews this year are not happy ones, even towards the very top.
2. Just for the record, since Hailey wrote that essay two Disney princess movies have come out: Brave and Frozen. She HATES Brave hahaha, don't even bring it up around her. But, when I was back in the CO for Thanksgiving (hahaha I say that like I didn't just leave yesterday), we went and saw Frozen on Black Friday and she really liked it. I asked her where the princesses in that one would rank and she said above Tiana but below Pocahontas but she looked really happy to say that. So take that for what it's worth I guess.
3. J+H has done a fuckton of Disney covers so don't even pretend like either hold any huge hate for Disney hahaha206Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love
I swear to God, Ra Ra Riot has to be the most bland musical outfit on the face of the planet. Someone saying that they love this band is like someone saying they like any and every band with a guitar.
"Oh okay, like which ones?"
"Just any of them, if they have a guitar I like them."
"I got that, but which ones specifically?"
"Any of them man, any of them."
"Yeah, but how can you...hey, stop."
"Don't look up with your mouth open."
"Because it's raining."
"Well you'll...you know what, nevermind."
And here we go, their third LP tells the same flippin' story. Is this bad? Nah, not really. Is this good? No. But why? Because it is the concept of the comfort zone epitomized.
This whole "I'm in my twenties and I can play music therefore my thoughts are important and I am obligated to share them" movement is literally the bane of my existence. When I use the term 'inoffensive' as an insult, I'm not insinuating that music must insult the listener. I mean that it should offend in the purest definition of the word. It should move
the listener. Is that a subjective response? Somewhat, but nowhere near completely.
I can play this for my grandmother, six-year-old cousin, the President of the United States, a junkie living under a bridge, a man in his midlife crisis, a woman who just found out she was pregnant, and they're all going to have the exact same reaction, "Yeah, that was nice I guess." And that's it. They're never going to think about it ever again, let alone ever even think about listening to it again. It has zero impact because it makes no artistic statement.
Skip it. I'm telling you right now, there's nothing you're going to gain out of this. To all the young men and women with adventurous music preferences who are dating people with no musical knowledge, maybe you could start introducing your partner to art with depth by showing them this album. You know, baby steps. That's literally the only reason anyone should ever listen to this willingly. Then again, I can't imagine a person that context would apply to. No one is that
ignorant, even people who listen to one-hundred-percent pop music listen to The Beatles
, so they're fine. I'm telling you, just skip it.205A$AP Rocky - LONG.LIVE.A$AP
Oh how I yearn for the days when a Parental Advisory sticker actually meant something.
Too many cooks spoil the broth? Absolutely. It's not an album, it's a collection of songs. And yes, there's a very noticeable difference between the two concepts.
Also, I'm no advocate of violence, but I really miss that time when that person talking crap actually had a rough life experience to back it up. Now people think just because you had to watch a Youtube video at 240p one time that you're ghetto enough to spearhead a class movement.
And I'm also tired about hearing about females at all in hip-hop. I'm done. Obviously I will not be the first to condemn the genre for misogyny but this isn't even done well. Tyler, the Creator
has some insanely offensive lyrical concepts but at least he's really clever with them. What's this? Guns, gold, and girls. Wow, how flippin' original.
It's not this isn't decent, it's that I've heard it a thousand-and-a-half times before. It brings absolutely nothing to the table and expects you to serve it your attention. Fat chance.204She & Him - Volume 3
Oh how delightful
, I'm so excited
, this is so good
I'm just so
tired of 'indie' music. Not indie music, 'indie' music.
Music for car commercials, music for quirky
Music for people who don't listen to music to listen to so they can tell everyone they listen to music.
Yeah, this is okay
, sure. But again, the artistic expression, what is it? Why did this album need
to exist? You can be one of those stupid idiots that argues that all art is extraneous but the simple fact is that there is such a thing as 'necessary art' and more often then not it shares its space with 'good' art.
I'm sure someone will find value in this record, though whether or not they should be allowed to is a different discussion entirely. If I give this to my ten year old cousin, yeah, she's allowed to like it. Because she's ten. If you're old enough to remember when TRL was on the air, you're a rotten sack of wasted organs if you actually settle for liking this.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fine little record, but there are far too many albums that have come before it that curbstomp it in every category it tries to occupy. Trust me, it's the cutest curbstomp possible, bleeding rainbows into the drain and all that.
Actual lyric from the album:"I'm tired of being clever/
everybody's clever these days."
Which one of you idiots told Zooey Deschanel
she was clever? And what drugs have you been giving her to make her think that the people she hangs out with are clever? Remember, she was married to Ben Gibbard
, this is a serious question.
The Winnie the Pooh theme remains Deschanel's greatest musical achievement and I can't even remember the last time M. Ward
put out a good record.
If you love entirely conventional music, you're going to LOVE
this. If you have even an ounce of intellectual semblance, don't waste your time.203Pet Shop Boys - Electric"Nobody plays jazz at the Pit Stop!"
"Then why is the song on the jukebox?"
"We use it for profiling purposes. We also have the Pet Shop Boys and Seal."
I'll just be frank: this is a crappy Kraftwerk
album. If this came out thirty years ago and had 'Kraftwerk' written on the cover, I would be amazed, "Wow, these guys used to be so good!"
You know those scenes in bad films where the characters go to a dance club to talk to someone and the filmmakers were forced to hire someone to make really generic club beats for the scene rather than pay royalties for an actual composition? That's what this is. For fifty minutes. Yeah, it's totally a joy to have to listen to.
Lyrically, no no no no no, this is bad. This is so bad that it is inherently not good. It is both superficial and
pretentious. It promotes vapidity and does so in the name of some bullcrap, twenty-first century sense of spirituality. It is somehow worse than standard electonic-dance lyrics, dropping far off the left of the bell curve.
But let's be fair, if Pet Shop Boys wrote these songs and then Lady Gaga
performed them, it'd be top of the charts. Because they're idiots. Not for liking Gaga, but because anyone can sell anything these days with the right name attached to it. This is drivel, it really is, and the only reason more people aren't pissed off about it is because they aren't as relevant as they once were.
Not to mention, and I don't make this complaint often, most of the songs sound the same. Now before you grab your dumb internet pitchforks, yes, I have heard plenty of Pet Shop Boys tunes before. This album though, it's insanely repetitive. It's not that the song structures are similar, because there aren't any to be
similar, it's that the instrumentation is perpetually derivative.
Just skip it, really. I mean, I'm sure you didn't need me to tell you that, but really, do yourself a favor. Go read a book. It doesn't even have to be a good book. Just do anything but listen to this.202Chrisette Michele - Better
Oh I get it. She has to be half naked on the cover because people won't buy things unless they have a boner. This is pretty bad pop though, I guess it makes about much sense as it could.
She's a great vocalist but the actual composition is dreadful. Absolutely terrible. It's a bunch of contemporary radio crap when she could have just done a slightly tweaked jazz album and knocked it out the park. Happens every single time.
And let's talk about the lyrics, I'd rather not though. This is bad, really
bad. Like, "Okay sophomore english class, today we're going to pretend like we can write poetry." The girl can sing up a storm, but she shouldn't be allowed near pen and parchment, conventional or digital.
I mean come flippin' on, on Visual Love
, she berates this guy for only admiring her for her body. Hey lady, how about you throw some clothes on first. There's all this bullcrap 'women are exactly like this in the 21st century, we are all the same' being spread all throughout this album. What is she doing? Honestly, it sounds like she's promoting profiling. I mean seriously, she's trying to put all the eggs in one basket.
It's like bad Beyoncé
. It really is. You just cringe every time a song tries to be one of those soaring anthems but totally falls flat on its face. And it's another one of those albums teaching young women that they aren't someone unless they have a boyfriend. Honey, you aren't a nothing unless
you have a boyfriend. *snaps fingers in some stupid way*
It's just really try-hard, in a really sad way. The whole thing is just really insulting, it really is. Seriously, I've got close friends that are women and this is the kind of world they have to live in, one where people with no concept of gender identity feel compelled to preach about that very subject. Then again, men give them a good run for the money in that department. Whatever, if you want to know why humans suck, check this out.201Katy Perry - PRISM
I think we can all agree that Teenage Dream
was a successful album. Whether or not it actually has any artistic merit at all is an entirely different discussion but it's hard to say that an album that nearly produced six number-one singles was anything less than a commercial victory. Again, we can debate whether or not there's anything moral about that, but not here. No point.
So let's do this again. She's a fairly transparent pop act, she was married to a fairly transparent prophet (I am a huge Russell Brand
fan but you people sharing his 'cultural revolution' video are a bunch of pea-brained morons that change your mind every time the wind blows), and the motives behind her music are more transparent. But, to be fair, she doesn't pretend like she's doing anything more important that making pop music, which makes her relatively un-pretentious, which earns her a review.
, it won't be a favorable one.
There is nothing wrong with pop music. There isn't, there's nothing objectively wrong with the concept. The problem is that the genre is plagued with very repetitive concepts. Motown was pop, remember that, it's not like it's impossible to innovate and still make music for the masses. Teenage Dream wasn't really the most derivative album of 2010, so it earned a few passes. This though, well, it's water well-tread to say the least.
Let's not beat around the bush either: the moment Perry's appearance sinks below 'hugh hugh hugh, I want to have sex with her', she's done. Her career, like most pop princesses, is based on marketability. And any sort of individuality she has that grants her a temporary market niche rests solely on her...ahem...chest.
I'll give her props for some decently-varied percussion, it's off-beat enough to warrant at least a brief positive mention. But everything else might as well be on every other pop release of this year, or any of the last four or five.
And there's the problem.
I think, contrary to how I feel about most other music, it's fine for someone to listen to Katy Perry. I think it's okay. People can like what they like and they should be allowed to (whether or not they want to argue objective artistic merit is another problem entirely). The problem here is the American political system.
There are people over the age of eighteen that attend Perry concerts and actually get to vote for the President of the United States and
there are people over the age of eighteen that think poorly of Perry and actually think that their opinion grants them any more credibility when voting for President of the United States.
There's this whole 'reaction' to 'hipsterism' that's really pissing all over Generation Y. There are 'Ironists' and 'Post-Ironists', and it's really unbearable. Come, let me walk you through it.
There are people who listen to this 'ironically', as it would seem to be somewhat 'taboo' for someone who wants to be taken seriously to actually listen to vapid pop music. In a way, subjectivism grants them a right to do this, but then they get to vote. And that's not okay.
Then there are people who denounce pop music as 'consumerism' (obviously not knowing what the word means), and judge others musical tastes relative to their own. These are the 'cliche' hipsters, but they're not given as much credit as they're due, not that they're due any. And they get to vote, which isn't okay.
Now don't get me wrong, I judge the crap out people based on what music they listen to. Because, objectively, it is indicative of intelligence and character. You can learn anything you need to know about a person based on what they enjoy listening to and what they classify as 'good' (relative to cultural significance). But twenty-first-century pop poses some serious problems with an individual's credibility.
"I love Katy Perry! It's easy listening!"
Totally fine. This person classifies it as 'easy', meaning they understand levels of accessibility. Totally fine.
"Katy Perry is one of my favorites! She deserves the Grammy!"
This person gets to vote for who represents us when (insert third world country here) starts gassing its citizens and must decide whether or not to enforce international sanctions militarily. See the problem?
"I don't really listen to pop, so I guess I'm not familiar with Katy Perry. I've heard worse though."
Totally fine. Look at this person, acknowledging that their opinion isn't superior just because they believe it. What a rational look at pop music.
"This is a disgrace. It's so disgusting and evil. I took a women's studies class and they told me to be offended by this. I have never even heard of sex being used as a marketing tool, especially not for hundreds of years, so I'm going to get mad at this specific instance. I am the ruler of this pedantocracy."
See the problem? This person gets to tell you what they think of geopolitical issues, as if the entire concept isn't just an eternal gray area. Completely governed by nostalgia and/or idealism, they thrive on friction through mere contrarianism. And...they get to vote. I know, scared yet?
Don't get me wrong, I don't do anything but sling mud at pop music. But, completely equally, how many pop albums do I praise? It's a ridiculously 50-50 split, isn't it? Objective merit exists, the sooner you embrace it the sooner you can get around not being so easily sensationalized and, therefore, compromised.
Honestly, I don't really have to review this. It's very par-for-the-course and doesn't push even the signs telling you where the boundaries are. It's by-the-numbers and average. And that's it. No outrage, no praise. Because it isn't due either.
If you actually go see this performed in concert, I'll write to my congressmen to pass through a bill not allowing you to vote. Screw the Constitution, we'll circumnavigate it if you're going to dilute the average IQ by indulging in things simply because the pathos monkey climbs on your back and tells you to do so.
If you actually write some sort of condemnation on the blatant sexuality of modern pop music, I'll call the national guard and try to have you deported to one of those trash islands floating around in the Pacific Ocean. You've obviously never encountered an actual social issue in your entire life and you deserve to have the iPhone charger you threw out last week wrapped around your toes as you try to find your way to shore.
Let's recap the concept of modern sexuality in music: Robin Thicke
: bad. Katy Perry: fine. The former objectifies others, the latter objectifies herself. Both are wrong but only the former is an ethical violation.
As for the album: eh, go listen to Teenage Dream. It's the same thing but slightly older and, therefore, more original. Or at least as original as it could be.200Jay-Z - Magna Carta... Holy Grail
The 'best rapper alive' and he doesn't even call it Magna Carter. Sheesh.
sure The Blueprint III
will be the last decent album Jay-Z ever puts out. The whole thing is just beginning to stink of corporate greed.
Here's the problem (and I'm not even close to the first person to feel this way): there is zero credibility in a millionaire a million-times-over boasting about the lifestyle he leads.
Shawn Carter is a co-director for Budweiser. He is (was) a part owner of the Brooklyn Mets. He's heavily invested in the operation several sports betting organizations. He has his own professional sports agency. His net worth is half a billion dollars. What insight can his lyrics provide to my life? None.
He's so far removed from any sort of connection to an audience. The entire thing is a charade. He doesn't rap about how bad he has it, because no one would believe that the guy who gave Sasha Fierce a five million dollar wedding ring has a less-than-average life. He doesn't rap about how good he has it, because he knows it would alienate most of his audience (the sane ones at least). So what does he spit about? To be honest, I'm still trying to find out myself.
Is it race relations? Kind of, but he's not really taking a stance on anything. Why would he, he can't risk offending any investors. Gender relations? Uh, in a slightly misogynistic way, maybe a little. It's always nice to hear a female seriously refer to herself as a 'bitch', that's always a super nice thing to hear in the twenty first century. Is he rapping about world politics or...or...I don't know, I'm out of straws to reach for.
He's not rapping about anything, at all. It's basically just "I'm pretty cool. Some people said I wasn't but I have all this stuff, so clearly I am." I don't know what you want me to do. The guy usually writes some decent stuff but this is like taking an ink blot test and the sheet is just a solid shade of gray.
Instrumentally, it is beyond cliche. Imagine the most generic hip-hop beat you can and it's still not as dull as this. We live in a pretty pitiful universe where MCA
is dead but Jay Z can keep pumping out his 'profit-hop'.
The whole thing is just a business endeavor at this point. The whole thing is just about making sure there's black at the bottom of the page. See, that wasn't even clever, making a race-related remark while talking about profit being written in black ink and loss being written in red. There is nothing even close to half as thought-out as that. No metaphors, no similes, no nothing at all. His prose is still fine but what's the point of how something is delivered if there's nothing to deliver?
I was far from hating Jay Z before this album, but this is just atrocious. Kanye West
is just hiding beyond some phony anti-consumerism message but at least he's putting a unique spin on it. Jay Z isn't doing anything at all, it's like he's rapping about how tough it must be to live in his guest mansion. "Yo, the pool thermostat's broken, hope you can deal! Ha-ha, you're crazy for this one, Jay!"
But really, when it all comes down to it, it's a Timbaland
-produced record, so you just know
it's a steaming pile of crap.199Laura Marling -
Once I Was An Eagle
Marling is by far the best artist to emerge out of the shoddy immorality that is the London folk scene, but she's still a member of that family, what with all here tired tropes and lack of any songwriting structure knowledge.This
is what it's like to review modern folk. It's just saying the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Insanity
It's not like it hasn't been done before. People just love
to delude themselves into the degradation or rock (despite the fact that it's more vibrant and experimental than ever) but no one bats a lash at the fact that pretty much every genre that uses an acoustic guitar has firmly placed its head up its own butt since...well, any act following MTV Unplugged in New York
The songs have incredibly repetitive structures, Marling is becoming a more lazy lyricist with every passing word, and the record has little to no cohesion. What's the point?
This hunk of crap is over an hour long
. It becomes a struggle to think of something more self-important and out of touch than that. Forget the fact that not one of the songs is actually, you know, a song but then remember that you have to sit through another fifty five minutes of the same thing.
You know what's funny? I don't normally do this, but it's relevant. You know who Marling used to date? Charlie Fink
and Marcus Mumford
. Holy crap, does that not explain everything?
It's like a three headed beast. This
is what they're preaching about in Revelations, 2010s folk.
She used to be okay, there was at least a little value in her compositions. Now? She's just a pretentious version of Taylor Swift
. She's for people that are tricked into thinking that she's deeper than she is, only this time its twenty and thirty year olds instead of impressionable teens. Which makes it worse.
Whatever. I'll go climb back in my hole, let me know when the flames of bullcrap-2010s-folk finally burn out. Laura is only about a year older than me, so I'd like to personally reach out and thank her for being one of many helping to taint my generation.198The Dismemberment Plan - Uncanney Valley
last year, The Dismemberment Plan make you believe that maybe you can go home again. After such a long hiatus, you'd think they wouldn't be up for pushin' some things around again, but they are. And, for the most part, it works.
It's all sort of generic, but not terribly so. The lyrical prose is quite fun and really adds to the music, sometimes picking up the slack, to be honest. The general instrumentation and atmosphere is hokey as balls but it's not like it's the worst thing ever put to tape.
I'm really not a fan of how the vocals are mixed. Or maybe it's just the voice in general, it feels very "Hey, this is music! We're in a band!" And let's be honest, the entire schtick gets old really
fast. It's kooky and fun and crazy and is it still going? It's only half an hour but feels like at least a dynasty or two.
Actually, upon further review, just don't listen to it. It's not really even anything, is it? Yeah, skip it and skip it hard
.197Lady Gaga - ARTPOP
So Lady Gaga wants to make high-brow pop music now?
Okay, let me explain why this isn't going to work.
She's a very talented artist, that's evident to anyone with a working brain. But she is insanely gimmicky, her entire aura relies on being as 'edgy' as possible while still being totally watered down enough to make teenage girls living in the midwest actually consider moving to Los Angeles a good idea.
Honestly, Lady Gaga, as competent as she is, exists solely to fluster moms in fly-over states. That's really it. And act as some sort of central figure loosely tied to gay rights. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it certainly limits her appeal. On the day that the final state ratifies gay marriage (spare me the groans, go dry your tears in a holy book), what becomes of Lady Gaga? She has banked a lot
on her immediate relevancy, which really usually never works out in relation to the progression of time.
Because of how she prioritizes her public image, it's sort of difficult to take her seriously when she wants to enter a domain a bit more...subtle
. Not that this isn't a brash pop album, but she wants to play with subtext and nuance, which isn't really going to fly with her target demographic. And any demographic that it would land with probably isn't really into uber-girl-power-electro-pop. So we're in very lose-lose territory, the record has no purpose.
As for the music itself, well, you might as well go listen to The Fame
. This is super stale, completely devoid of any cleverness or impact, and a borderline parody of the Lady Gaga 'sound'.
The lyrics are especially terrible, and it's not like she hasn't proven she's somewhat skilled with wordplay in the past. It's embarrassing really, especially when you try to argue that she has talent buried in her somewhere. She's beginning to pile on the branches without bothering with the spark, and we need the fire, it's getting cold and dark.
And the record is way too long. I know, I sound like a crotchety old man who has no time for the latest hippity-hop music
, but duration is important.
I'm pretty sure we covered this on the last album's review. Once you start actively engaging and embracing your role in pop culture, it's over. You've just assigned yourself to a certain space and time and you're never going to break out of it. Unless Gaga goes nuts
and starts releasing some seriously good jazz albums, which totally isn't out of the question, she's going to be quickly relegated to dust bin of cultural consciousness. It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen, but she's a bit too talented to just be thrown away so quickly.19630 Seconds to Mars -
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Their early work was a little too hard-rock for my tastes, but when 30 Seconds to Mars
came out in '02, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. They've been compared to My Chemical Romance
, but I think Leto has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.
Why are their copies of This Is War
all over the place, d-do you have a dog? A little chow or something?
Is that a rain coat?
Yes it is! In '05, they released this, A Beautiful Lie
, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is "From Yesterday
", a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself.
*raises axe above head*
*he bashes Jared in the head with the axe, and blood splatters over him*
TRY GETTING A GOOD REVIEW NOW YOU FUCKING STUPID BASTARD! YOU, FUCKING BASTARD!
My apologies for the profane prologue but an album full of crappy, U2
-knockoff, stadium-rock anthems like this can't be protected from a little vulgarity.
Seriously, what is happening to any and every somewhat-mainstream alternative rock band? They all jump ship and hop onto the stadium anthem train, right off the cliff. But even worse in the case of 30 Seconds of Mars, they're blatantly copying others in doing so.
Go listen to With or Without You
, then try City of Angels
There really isn't a point in even analyzing this. Take This Is War, remove anything even remotely enjoyable, amplify the faults, and slap a new cover on it. Voilà! And the crappy synthetic orchestration, don't even get me started.
Again, pardon the explicit prologue, I felt like destroying something beautiful.195Goo Goo Dolls - Magnetic
Feels like forever since I loved you/
you weren't the crap that you are now/
A decent alt-rock band, if a little pop-y/
I mean I even liked I'm Awake Now
And all I can hear is this torment/
and all can I feel is such strife/
and sooner or later, you loafers.../
I just don't think you realize.
And I can't recommend the world this CD/
'Cause I don't think it, they could stand/
When everything about it is broken:/
I just want you to know it's a scam.
And you can't fight the super-stupid drumming/
or the dumb, inane lyrics I despise/
the subject matter feels really loopy/
Yeah, you really needed to revise.
And it's not like I was a devotee/
'Cause there were some songs I couldn't stand/
But now you're just yet-another token/
bullcrap radio-pop rock-and-droll band.
And it's not like I am completely/
making out-of-line demands/
When the rules should be unspoken/
'I shall not make music so bland'.
And I think we can all agree/
'cause it's not hard to understand/
truer words were never spoken/
"this stinks more than week-old ham".
I just want you to make another Slide
I just can't believe they've ruined it again/
I'll just never listen to the Goo Goo Dolls again.[Editor's Note:] hahahahaha, just in case you didn't get it.
Some people didn't catch it the first time this was published, and the part about week-old ham being a reference to his last Goo Goo Dolls review.
hahaha he's such a dick194Okkervil River -
The Silver Gymnasium
Hey, look! It's Wilco
2: Subpar Boogaloo.
File this review under: 'it's good but so what?'
This is extremely competent and coherent, but thoroughly and depressingly unoriginal. Which is a huge
problem for a concept album to have, because no how original the substance is the style will never be able to compensate proportionately.
It's basically just an artistic tragedy. I appreciate the lyrical content and prose but the whole thing is prepackaged into a genre without bringing anything new to the table. On paper this is a very intelligent album but in execution it is a piss-poor excuse for a record.
Lyrics? Amazing. Composition? Dreadful. That's really all there is too it.
It is the very epitome of everything wrong with modern indie-folk and alt-country. If your lyrics are amazing but the notes can't support them, you should be writing poetry.
There's something here, that's incredibly evident, but the way it's presented is just embarrassing. The instrumentation is incredibly bland and lacks any sort of variety. It lacks any sort of artistic perspective at all, compositionally of course. You couldn't pick these melodies out of a line up but, more importantly, why would you?193No Age - An Object
Experimental punk. Yes please, I'll have that and eggs on the side. Scrambled.
It is a bit lethargic for both of the genres it attaches to itself but not in an extremely detrimental way. There's definitely a lack of pants kicking in this album compared to their others, but I'm not sure it comes from a place of maturity rather than, well, lethargy, again.
There are some really nice moments in this but they're surrounded on all sides by just barren wastelands of misguided sound. That's all it is, it barely
qualifies as composition as repetitive as it is. It does a remarkable job of being neither punk nor experimental. It's not really much of anything to be honest.
Just go listen to an Iceage
record. Really.192Backstreet Boys -
In a World Like This
So I guess this is what my life is now. No matter how hard you refuse to, it's impossible not to sell out. I am getting paid to review this, and it's not like my reaction is impossible to predict. I don't know why this has happened.
I feel used, violated even. They know exactly what I'm going to do. I'll say something about hearing the Backstreet Boys back when they were popular. Then I'll justify it as harmless bubblegum pop that didn't take itself seriously. Then I'll get mad that this is so terrible and rant on about the state of music for a few pages. I don't know why this is happening.
This isn't my demographic, so I obviously wouldn't vouch for it personally. I listen to Igor Stravinsky
, so I obviously wouldn't vouch for it objectively. It's like I'm just being paid to get mad. That's kind of exploitative.
It's like reality TV. They've obviously heard some of my work (who knows what), so they just want to say "The Guy from Blank Says the New Backstreet Boys Album is 'An Abomination'". I mean honestly, what's the point. I'm aware of the fact that I'm being used here.
Uh, well, this isn't completely terrible, so there's always that. Most of the songs are crap, a few are decent enough. It's all still guitar-pop but whatever.
Really, I just find it kind of disgusting that this is even happening. They obviously commissioned me to write this for the sole purpose of getting a scathing review. But, when you look at it, I'm far more angry and frustrated with all of the music released in 2013 that's aimed at more 'intellectual' markets.
The year is half over and pretty much every single album so far has been heavily crippled with significant flaws. I normally have a pretty clear set of nominations for album of the year with Hailey but there's nothing this year that's proved to be any sort of worth yet. Granted, the year's only half over, but still. Now that I think about it, most of the previous 'album of the year' recipients were released in the second half of the their years anyway. But that doesn't change the fact that Backstreet Boys are hardly due more criticism than the other hundred something reviewed this year.
It's a pop album, who gives a crap? Why am I doing this? It has literally no consequence. This is not what I would like to be doing with my time, let's just put it that way.
I'm not going to give this a bad review. I'm not. It's not a terrible album and what difference would it make if it was? I think somebody has missed the point here. I don't just crap on anything that sucks. It has to be objectively inferior to what it sets out to be. This album wants to be a pop album and it is a pop album. Goal achieved. It's not the best pop album, but it's fine and average. Moving on. Another album wants to be an experimental album and is not experimental. That
warrants a written lashing.
Piss off, I am so tired of doing this. I haven't written a blissful review in far too long. Somebody, for the love of God, just get on with it and release the album we'll give 'Best Album of the Year', heaven knows we're ready. But look at what's scheduled to come out this half of the year, a bunch of drivel. I'm serious, if a debut album tops the list this year you should not be surprised, because all
of the 'established' names are botching everything they touch in 2013.191The Wonder Years -
The Greatest Generation
The only way you'er allowed to get away with such self-aware song titles is if you're a punk band.
Now, pop-punk has always been the bane of my existence so don't expect a cool review from this guy to show to all of your other fifteen-year-old friends. It's desecration of one of the only honest genres, though it's not like it'll ever stop. Is this a bad pop-punk album? No, not at all. Is this a bad punk album? Yes.
It is super competent but very, very
average. This is a high schooler's favorite band, one that he finds a CD of in his car years later and goes "Oh yeah, cool! I remember these awesome dudes!" He then puts it in his player and slowly sinks in his seat as he realizes how trite and contrived it all is. Then he gets hit by another car, even though he's parked.
It really makes you wonder why The Smiths
have such lasting power. Maybe it's the objectively superior lyrical content or inventive instrumentation or the fact that they don't whine in an irritating 'white boy' voice (well, you know, not that
It's all beginning to get a bit embarrassing. Baby's first rock band? Sure, fine. But how old are these guys? I mean come on, we're all dumb compared to Arnold Schönberg
but at least some of us listen to Schoenberg. Seriously, are we still thinking that preferring atonal twelve tones to a ton of twelve year old girl panties is just an opinion? (did you even read that sentence, what a trainwreck, sorry about that, I swore I was on to something but then realized 'no you are not' about three-quarters of the way through, sorry)
Seriously, this is a high school band. No, I've heard better high school bands than this. This is like, a high school band in the nineties, before they could get on the internet and see how much they suck comparatively.
It's all very adorable. It's cool. I really like the chords they're using. All three of them. But at least they're 'genuine' right? Yeah, okay.
lol warped tour what even is existence any more
AND WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH PARENTS!?![Editor's Note:] This is my first time ever posting the lists to last.fm, so I didn't know that there was a character limit. Sorry! Click down there to go to part 2 of today's list.Continue to Part 2
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