Wednesday, June 01, 2005

music, current events, and whatnot

On Monday Amelia and I splurged and bought 3 CDs (Jack Johnson, Beck, and Weezer). They're all pretty good-about what I expected, anyway-so I was pretty pleased. Circuit City was having a great sale (Weezer and Jack Johnson were only $8.99, Beck was $9.99) so I definitely felt I got my money's worth. Here's the thing, though: lately, I've been pretty disappointed with music. It seems like 90 percent of what's out there is just crap. Maybe it's always like that and I just don't always pay attention, but most "rock" sounds the same, "pop" is purile, and "alternative" has been drained of all its life.

Take, for instance, the unaccountable success of Gwen Stefani's CD. I remember in high school when No Doubt was just hitting it big; they had that ska-influence but enough pop to be radio-friendly, and good golly those songs were catchy. If you ask me, they never really matched musically that first CD, and their releases got crappier and crappier. (Side note: I've never owned a No Doubt CD, so I'm mostly talking about what was played on the radio here. However, it seems like every third song on the radio in the late 90s was No Doubt, so I definitely think I've heard enough to know what I'm talking about.) In other words, I've been over No Doubt for five or six years, but in the back of my mind I always hoped they'd toss out another good single or two.

Now Gwen Stefani's CD is out, and every song that I hear immediately fills me with loathing and disgust. They sound ridiculous! One of the singles was based on "If I Were a Rich Man" (because you know Broadway makes the best rock) and now her latest single "Hollerback Girl" is about the dumbest nonsensical song ever. If you haven't heard it, let this summary suffice: Gwen wants you to know that she "aint no hollerback girl" and then goes into a cheerleading cheer about bananas. What's a hollerback girl? I don't know, and frankly I could care less. Combine all that with the fact that her little gimmick for this album is apparently to surround herself with Japanese girls (forcing me to hear Gwen speak Japanese, which is like a special little hell unto itself) and frankly I would expect this album to disappear faster than Ralph Macchio's career after Karate Kid III.

Yet somehow this album is at the top of the charts (according to Billboard it's been on the charts for 26 weeks)! VH1 put the video to Hollerback Girl at number one last week, and no matter where I run I can't seem to escape it. I ask you, has the world gone insane? Or am I just getting out of touch with the music of the young kids these days? I swear, I'm only 26, I'm not an old man. I still like music a lot...but apparently good taste is a limited commodity these days.

Speaking of things changing (call me segue guy) looks like we finally know who Deep Throat is. Pretty amazing that this has stayed secret as long as it has--though speculation has been on Felt for some time. Two things about this new information really startle me. First of all, the way his family revealed it (there is a little question about how mentally competent the 91-year-old Felt is, and his family admits they'd like to make a little money from this) seems a little shady to me, but I guess that's their right. America is all about making a buck these days, I suppose. But what's more interesting to me (and not readily apparent from the linked article, but which I've seen in other news stories) is how uncomfortable Felt was with the role. He really saw himself as doing something morally questionable--even though the Nixon White House was obviously acting inappropriately. He says in other places that he didn't feel comfortable with what he was doing. I guess that makes sense though; here was a guy lying to his boss, his friends, even his family. It was to take down a greater evil, but I can see how that would be an uncomfortable position to be in. It's really interesting. If you want more info, here's the Vanity Fair article where the story originated.

On a completely different note, the guys and I are starting a review website soon for reviewing movies, books, music, video games, and whatever. I'll let you know when it goes up (and set up a link to it on the sidebar) but that should be a lot of fun, I think. So watch this space for more info.

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