Rugged (yet personable!) men about town Matthew Blackwell and James Brotheridge have put together a website dedicated to the world of terrible films. It’s fantastic and merits your reading and picture-looking-at attention: http://www.absolutedreck.com
I like to imagine that when Ghostface was putting this track together for Fishscale, he had some thoughts about a doing an entire Clubber Lang themed album. Odds are it would do at least as well as Ghostdini, right?
Not content with just knocking things out at Freaky Trigger, Pitchfork and twenty thousand other locations, Tom Ewing is brilliant on his own Tumblr blog as well.
To clarify: of course I think there are people who relish the fact that they don’t agree with, say, Pitchfork (or with Stereogum or the Hype Machine or Rolling Stone or whatever). I’ve argued before - in Pitchfork indeed! - that this is not a problem: a sneering eyeball brings in the same revenue… (more)
12 Admittedly Horrible Songs That I Enjoy And Appear On My IPod
I love my iPod. The one I have now is an older model that’s big and clunky and (thanks to drunken nightwalks) dented in each corner. It is also loaded with a lot of admittedly shit music.
There’s some alleged shit music on my iPod that I will fervently defend as being “not shit” (Barenaked Ladies are misunderstood pop geniuses, goddammit!), but there are also some songs in my collection that are indefensible. I have loads of songs in my collection that I can admit are absolutely terrible but I still like enough to keep around. There’s always a few tracks that stay in my library for novelty purposes (I’m talking about you, MC Miker G and DJ Sven), but this list isn’t about those. It’s about the tracks I like but can admit to being absolutely shit.
12 Admittedly Horrible Songs That I Enjoy And Appear On My iPod
1. Fastball - You’re An Ocean: Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat asking myself a troubling question: “How will history remember Fastball?” Beginning with their sorta-good radio hit “The Way”, Fastball seemed like a band destined to be remembered through Rhino Box Sets rather than in the hearts and minds of the general public. Alarmingly, Fastball speaks to the weird part of me that would like to be able to have properly groomed sideburns and not realize that no one wears bowling shirts outside of bowling alleys anymore. Rap music was never a negative influence on me, but dorky stuff like this clearly is.
Like a lot of Fastball songs, You’re An Ocean could probably be a good song but it’s just too hopelessly square to work. (You’d probably have to venture into John Mayer’s discography to find lyrics more inane than “you’re an ocean, you’re an ocean/settle down, settle down, what’s the commotion?”) It’s not hard to imagine these guys at the H.O.R.D.E. festival strutting about in their grandfather’s leather jackets hoping to find a leopard print bra to sign in a zany “aw shucks” fashion. I enjoy this song far more than I (or anyone) should.
2. Fergie f Ludacris - Glamorous: Have you ever hated a song on general principle but found yourself “accidentally” bumping into it?
Example: “Aw nuts, the new Adam Lambert video is on MuchMore again? What a terrible development for a person such as myself to accidentally come across. I better watch this video again so I can reaffirm why I dislike his new single. I may also reaffirm why I hate the new single when this program rebroadcasts at noon and eight o’clock.”
This phenomenon happened to me when it came to this song about Fergie’s hatchet-faced climb to the top. She’s had her share of adversity and plumdarnnit Stacy Ferguson is going to revel in the spoils of her hard work. The flossy-flossy if you will. There’s not much to tangibly like here. Fergie mentions her newfound acquisitions in a pretty straightforward manner, deviating occasionally to reassert her realness. She’s just like you or me or J Lo! She’s that real!
3. Natalie Merchant - Wonder: On the last season of Newsradio there’s an episode where Matthew gets beaten up by a teen girl at a Natalie Merchant concert. He is subsequently mocked by the staff. Mocked for being beaten up and mocked for going to Natalie Merchant concert. They are right to do so.
I’m not sure if I could be classified as a “sensitive” kid in my tween years, but I was (and still am) certifiably wussy. Natalie Merchant’s syrupy first person tale of a child of whom people will “reach into her hair to steal the glory of her story” spoke to me for reasons that I have yet to understand. I have a sneaking suspicion this song has soundtracked a large number of garish cat funerals.
4. Ying Yang Twins - Say I Yi Yi: The biggest hit in the Ying Yang Twins canon is probably “Wait (The Whisper Song)”. And holy shit, do I love that song. The beat is nuts, the lyrics are near R Kellyian in their oversexualized silliness (“I don’t mind assplay, you heard what I said”) and you get two (2!) goofy rasps that dole out both lyrics and silly noises. I love that song so much that I wrote a paper about it in university and spent a needless amount of time exploring the issues the song may be addressing. I projected all sorts of ideas onto that song, but really it’s just a song by two dudes whispering about their dicks.
Say I Yi Yi is no Wait (The Whisper Song). It’s not as clever, catchy or even coherent. It’s just two dudes carnival barking a nursery rhyme about ass-waggling over a passable Atlanta party rap beat. It’s not as rump-shaking as it could be or as thought-provoking as Wait (The Whisper Song), but it’s still more fun than listening to (ugh) “conscious” hip-hop.
5. Del Amitri - Don’t Come Home Too Soon: For the 1998 World Cup, wuss-rockers Del Amitri were tapped to write an inspirational song for Scotland’s national club. There are loads of acts better suited to this position: Primal Scream (more popular!), Belle & Sebastian (whimsy!), The Proclaimers (they could just re-record their old stuff in exchange for giant spectacles) all seemed like better choices. Heck, if they hired Mogwai they could get the moody anti-England fuck you song that such an event calls for. Instead they picked the dentist-radio dweebs that wrote “Roll To Me”.
I loved watching the video for Don’t Come Home Too Soon in the weeks leading up to the tournament. I taped it from MuchMusic and replayed it constantly. My heart swelled with a weird pride and my brain flickered with dreams of underdogs making it. Later I actually listened to the song and realized that it’s just dour and self-defeating. Don’t Come Home Too Soon is almost entirely built on the realization that Scotland would get bounced after the initial group stage. It’s inspirational bits (“even longshots make it”) are far outweighed by reminders that they’ve been historically shit in international play. If jostled I may sing this song when at full volume when drunk. Don’t jostle me.
Scotland’s national team did end up coming home as early as expected. Although they did get a goal on Brazil though, which was kind of nice.
6. Space Monkeys - Sugar Cane: Did you David LaChapelle directed the video for Sugar Cane? That’s about it. That’s all you need to know about Space Monkeys. The Madchester revival nonsense that surrounded them never happened (thank fuck) and North Americans were spared from having to determine how they feel about the Happy Mondays.
7. P Diddy & The Bad Boy Family - Bad Boy For Life: “I’m the definition of half-man, half-drugs” boasts Diddy at the start of Bad Boy For Life. I’m not sure if he’s saying he’s on drugs all the time (this could explain Danity Kane) or if his musical output is as addictive as drugs (it’s roughly as addictive as chemotherapy), I can’t fucking figure it out. It’s an especially odd line considering that this is the same track where he cops to having a ghost writer.
It’s also kind of sad that being a “Bad Boy” at that time meant the dudes you get to feature on your track are Black Rob and Mark Curry. I’m not sure why Craig Mack didn’t appear as a featured rapper in the Bad Boy stable more. It’s an injustice, really.
8. Juice Newton - Queen Of Hearts: You don’t have to be Sue Thomas F.B.Eye to figure out that Queen Of Hearts is terrible. It’s hard to think of a song more soulless and repetitive. Eiffel 65’s “Blue” rivals it a bit, but I think I’m more emotionally invested in the comings and goings of the inner workings of that blue man I hate so much. I’ve listened to this song countless times but I can’t remember any of the verses of Queen Of Hearts to save my life. My brain just seizes up and barfs out “Queen Of Hearts…not very smart…joker…fool…Queen Of Hearts!” on an endless loop. Maybe it was created in a lab to fit in snippet form between REO Speedwagon and Night Ranger on Time Life informercials.
Peggy Hill’s twenty second rendition of the song on King Of The Hill is infinitely superior. If that was a commercially available MP3 I would consider buying that and removing the Juice Newton version from my iTunes.
9. Ben Folds - Bitches Ain’t Shit: Ben Folds knows his way around deploying profanity and irony with some skill (albeit with increasingly diminished returns since 2003) so it’s kind of disheartening to him barf out a novelty track as lazy as this. Is his take on Bitches Ain’t Shit any different than any of the other offerings in the white folks doing an ironic take on an iconic rap anthem milieu? No. No it isn’t. It’s just as one note as you imagine it. Probably more if such a thing is possible.
I mean, I still like it kinda, but as a kid I once bought a Dynamite Hack album on the “strength” of “Boyz N The Hood”. That’s a special kind of shame that no amount of soap can clean off.
(This cover inspired an infuriating video that has reached over one million views. I can’t emphasize how much I wanted to punch the main guy’s face into dust when I watched it. I elected not to link to it as a public service.)
10. Northern State - At The Party: Post Luscious Jackson, Northern State have been the act most often saddled with the “Female Beastie Boys” tag. This is completely unfair for a variety of reasons.
1) Such a comparison is a lazy oversimplification that unfairly overlooks the product of the group and only focuses on loose similarities.
2) The Beastie Boys proceeded to release albums after License To Ill.
3) The Beastie Boys have released good singles and albums (including and after License To Ill)
There’s an abundance of great female rappers and rap crews. I repeat: There’s an abundance of great female rappers and rap crews out there. Northern State is not part of that group. Northern State knock out a brand of clunky hip-hop that sometimes veers into terrible cringe-inducing political commentary (Pitchfork labeled their output as “as a vessel for smug, middlebrow liberal condescension” and it’s hard to disagree) and is nowhere near as clever as it imagines itself to be. At The Party might be Northern State as their most tolerable and I think part of the appeal is just how easy it makes rap look. Like it’s something you could do at the Learning Annex and as an introductory project you could knock out an At The Party in less than a week.
I’m still bummed out that MuchMore didn’t elect to carry ego trip’s Miss Rap Supreme. That’s another post, though.
11. Stereophonics - Have A Nice Day: I remember sometime in the 90s when MuchMusic was doing an MTV Video Music Awards preshow. They were interviewing Richard Branson (he probably had just stepped off a hot air balloon, that beardy fuck) and he was gushing about the special guests he had with them. He bragged about this world-changing band he brought all the way from Britain (the Great) and America better be ready for their majesty. I’m going from memory here, but that was the tone. Can you guess the States-conquering superband? It was Stereophonics. A band as successful in America as Virgin Cola. Only nowhere near as good, which is hard because Virgin Cola was tasted like fizzy mystery discharge to begin with.
I have multiple (multiple!) Stereophonics tracks on my iPod, but this is probably the worst. It pains me to use the term “douchey”, but this song is impossibly douchey. It’s the douchiest track I know. And I’m a Sugar Ray fan. There’s an undeserved smugness permeating through this that it’s a wonder no one in the production booth beat them to death with the mixer. Kelly Jones has “figured it all out” it seems. I’ve figured out that he’s a cunt. We’ll call it even. The chorus is kind of nice so it ends up never budging from my iPod.
Need further proof they are dreadful? Wayne Rooney has Just Enough Education To Perform tattooed on his body. They are bad people.
They’re screaming so loud, I take one last look at the crowd I glance down, I don’t believe what I’m seeing “Daddy it’s me, help Mommy, her wrists are bleeding,” But baby we’re in Sweden, how did you get to Sweden? “I followed you Daddy, you told me that you weren’t leavin’ “You lied to me Dad, and now you make Mommy sad “And I bought you this coin, it says ‘Number One Dad’ “That’s all I wanted, I just want to give you this coin “I get the point - fine, me and Mommy are going”
It’s probably good that Stan offed himself when he did.
The Dixie Cups version of Iko Iko is unusually menacing. It’s also dope as hell. The Belle Stars treatment that came later is also great, but there’s something sort of dangerous about this that gives it an extra pop.
As an impressionable teenager I had an unhealthy level of emotional investment in the MTV animated series Downtown. As a quasi-adult I’m not entirely sure if the show was any good, but I can report that my crush on Jen has remained intact. Being a fictional character from a canceled television show, I’m sure she’s thrilled by this news.