Sunday, February 28, 2016

Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Those Tight Pants

I can't go a single day without the Tight Pants song...

It started on Jimmy Fallon's run on Late Night in 2012:

He then brought it back on The Tonight Show in 2014:

And perhaps the best one thus far, in 2016, just last week:

Monday, February 22, 2016

Video Of The Week: Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

The Grammys are a predictable, pseudo-artistic mess that recognizes just about what it needs to and celebrates and rewards its own as a means of justifying its own existence, like many other award shows. Thus it needs to reward actual artistic merit once in a while but usually also needs to have the most poplar artists reap the most trophies so that the masses feel that what were force-fed for an entire year and whom they helped become millionaires did so out of merit rather than pure commercialism and the financial means of the corporations pushing them.

So, for every Arcade Fire, there has to be a Taylor Swift, a couple of Céline Dions, a Christina Aguilera, and Michael Jackson has to remain the one point of comparison that sets the standard.

This year's nominations  were all about Swift and Kendrick Lamar, so it's fitting that I feature them together in this video directed by Joseph Kahn (Britney Spears' Toxic and Womanizer, Eminem's Without Me, We Made You and Love The Way You Lie) for the remix of Bad Blood:

What's great is the sheer number of cameos in the video, in order of appearance after Swift: Selena Gomez as Arsyn, Karlie Kloss as Knockout, Lamar as Welvin Da Great, Martha Hunt as HomeSlice, Jessica Alba as Domino, Serayah as Dilemma, Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori, Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinity, Ellie Goulding as Destructa X, GiGi Hadid as Slay-Z, Hayley Williams as The Crimson Curse, Zendaya as Cut-Throat, Lily Aldridge as Frostbyte, Ellen Pompeo as Luna, Mariska Hargitay as Justice, Cara Delevingne as Mother Chucker, and Cindy Crawford as Headmistress.

Full disclosure: I think the lyrics are god-awful (cut and done are terrible rhymes for blood, worthy of early Avril Lavigne songs, just sayin'), and I find it odd that Hayley Williams appears in the video considering "Swift's voice" sounds just like hers in the chorus; it feels like there's ghost-singing going on here, for sure.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Video Of The Week: Blink-182

Blame it on whatever you want, karma, trial-and-error, songwriting skills... but in February 2004, Blink-182 hit songwriting gold with a simply amazing song called I Miss You.

My personal opinion of Blink-182 as a band is that of sophomoric bubblegum-punk for tweens. Whether they were hiding songwriting genius behind a huge barrage of power chords, purposely awful vocal tones and inclinations and a propensity for getting naked in their videos, I can't tell and don't care about finding out any further; all I know is that this song is majestic.

I listen to it often, I've sung it myself, and it has a decorum that I didn't think Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus were capable of; I knew Travis Barker could drum because A. I'm not deaf, and B. I do listen to Transplants, but for the other two members of the band to come up with this miracle of the four-chord variety transcends musical taste.

The video, by acclaimed director Jonas Akerlund (the 2002 film Spun, many Roxette videos, Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, Madonna's Ray Of Light, Music, American Life and Celebration, Metallica's Turn The Page and Whiskey In The Jar, Smashing Pumpkins' Try, Try, Try, Moby's Porcelain, U2's Beautiful Day (the airport and the eze versions) and Walk On, Ozzy Osbourne's Gets Me Through and Let Me Hear You Scream, Paul McCartney's Lonely Road, Christina Aguilera's Beautiful, The Rolling Stones' Rain Fall Down and Doom And Gloom, and Rammstein's Pussy, Ich Tu Dir Weh and Mein Land), emphasizes the brooding darkness of the song, a true 2000s masterpiece on both ends of the audio-visual spectrum:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Video Of The Week: Beyoncé

So Beyoncé was given what amounts to a cameo appearance in a Super Bowl half-time show though she's a thousand times the artist and performer Coldplay and Bruno Mars are, and, well... America lost its fucking mind.

Her performance of Formation scared the living shit out of white people who somehow still don't understand the anger coming from the racial violence that comes with cops killing unarmed citizens of one skin tone and not even getting prosecuted for it.


Common sense and history have seemingly both failed at educating the American masses, and they need the culture shock to arrive in 2016 and either wake up and behave like their Constitution wants them to (We The People, All men are created equal, etc.) or blow the whole fucking thing up and start from scratch.

Black folks are no longer slaves in the U.S., but having started out poor and at the bottom of the pile, the fact that the system's rigged to prevent the poor from reaching a better life disproportionately affects those who got their"equality" later in the game; and these days, brown people have it worst yet, with threats of deporting Latinos and the illegal way Middle Easterners are targeted as poential terror threats - and that's saying nothing of the legal enslaving of whoever makes the technology we use, the clothes we wear, the coffee we drink, and the jewels we give each other, but since that happens overseas, many are turning a blind eye to it.

All while corporations poison our water, our food, bankrupt us to death, kill off our education system and profit from jails.

But Beyoncé's the problem, right? Wrong. She's the messenger of a quarter of the population who is standing up for itself; we had that here in Québec three years ago, but like sheep we went back to our pasture quietly after we almost changed our corrupt leaders' ways and instead got stuck with corruption at all levels of government. I hope the Black community in the U.S. doesn't fall for that shit as well. As Public Enemy said: United we stand, divided we fall, and love conquers all. The African-American community should try to bring all levels of the population back up in the same footing - as equals - and not just accept one piece of candy to shut up and go back to their lives. If the largest democracy can finally get its act together, perhaps it'll inspire others abroad.

After all, B's Super Bowl performance had allusions to the Black Panthers, a political movement that came about in the 1960s as a voice for the voiceless and primarily African-Americans, sure, but whose main message was always to be treated as humans, as equals, to not be subjected to useless, mindless police brutality (ring a bell?) and, though they weren't afraid to use force in defense of their ideals, ultimately, they had leftist ideals of equality and educating young people of all races and creeds.

Here is the video she dropped some 24 hours beforehand, which is "just as Black" but without the BP garb:

It was directed by Melina Matsoukas, a Beyoncé (Green Light, Kitty Kat, Sugar Mama, Upgrade U, Diva, Sweet Dreams, Put It In A Love Song, Why Don't You Love Me, Move Your Body, Pretty Hurts, RUN and a Target ad) and Rihanna (Rude Boy, Rockstar 101, S&M, We Found Love, and You Da One) regular.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Video Of The Week: Kendrick Lamar

I understand those who don't like this song, Alright, by Kendrick Lamar. It's not full of catchy hooks and big, thumping radio beats. And some people aren't even into hip hop; that's fine. Musical taste can hardly be argued (though I argue it on here all the time).

But the black-and-white video by Colin Tilley is no doubt a work of art. Possibly the nest video of the past five years, or at least in that conversation if I'm forgetting some. Sure, it deals with gritty issues such as racism and police brutality (well, police murdering people, which is beyond just brutality) that seem like they belong more in a documentary than in something stylistic, but this video is in the same vein as Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List in terms of depicting awfulness beautifully. And, yes, this is the same Colin Tilley who directed Nicki Minaj's Anaconda video; he's fast becoming the go-to director for high-quality, high-profile cinematography in short clips.