Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paul Shirley: Racist/Not-Racist Music Reviewer

Paul Shirley is not a smart person. He's an ex-basketball player who turned diary-writing into a post-sport career. Recently he wrote one of the more embarrassing, history-ignoring, borderline racist pieces about Haiti yet committed to paper.

In it, he essentially blames Haiti's problem on its general populace. Here is his Twitter feed. Here is the piece. He also writes for ESPN. Flame away, dear reader(s). He is to be publicly disemboweled.

He also writes MUSIC REVIEWS(!?!?) for ESPN. And they are...well, amazingly terrible. I'm not sure how I missed them. I will take the next couple weeks having fun with his shittiness. Here is his piece on Gucci Mane (who Paul Shirley detests) and Kid Cudi (Shirley loves). You can imagine just how wonderfully curmudgeonly this is going to get. I will not keep this brief. This will be long and drawn out.

If nothing else, I've learned this about the world of music: Like small business owners and Hollywood agents, bands don't work during the holidays. As such, by the time my family had finished tiding its collective yule, my cache of music was as depleted as a UN rice truck after six hours in a Sudanese refugee camp.

Hmm...in light of the recent statements, I'd love to give him a free pass on the UN rice truck...nope. He wrote this two weeks ago. And now the Haiti piece. I'm no in no way P.C., but perhaps Mr. Shirley needs some sensitivity training?

Instead of forcing my way into a discussion of bands I haven't yet fully digested (hello, Neon Indian), I took a different tack. On various recommendations, I procured some of what the kids are calling "rap music," turned up my receiver, and sat back in an effort to appreciate the latest efforts from Kid Cudi and Gucci Mane.

My nuanced, thoughtful and stately analysis of the latter:

As an album, Gucci Mane's "The State vs. Radric Davis" is trash.

If it meant that Gucci Mane weren't allowed to release music ever again, I would go as far as allowing the older brother I never had to administer to my person 12 Indian Rope Burns, 17 Dutch Rubs, and maybe, just maybe, an Atomic Wedgie.

Hey, so you don't like the prevalent sound of mainstream hip-hop? Is that what you're trying to say? I can't tell, only because it was lost in your horrible attempt at humor. Perhaps try another refugee joke. It worked so well for you last time.

My dislike for the "The State" can be traced to the album's predictability. Mane employs every trick that has made me come to hate rap music over the past 20 years.

Twenty years? When did rap music germinate? 1979? Somewhere around there? THIRTY YEARS. THIRTY YEARS of rap music. Also, YOU HATE RAP MUSIC? Shouldn't the article end here? How could you enjoy the rap music of Kid Cudi if you hate rap music?

Misogyny? Check.

"I pimped that white girl like a m------------ hooker."

(As a bonus, it appears that there might have been some latent racism available as well.)

Clumsy descriptions of sexual methods and locations? Check.

"I'll take you to Six Flags and [edited] you on a roller coaster."

False bravado? Done. Over and over and over again.

(See every song.)

Ubiquitous references to marijuana? Obviously.

(There's even a song called "Kush Is My Cologne.")

References to self in the third person? Available.

(Is every other line sufficient?)

Dumb skits, interludes and meaningless conversations meant to show how "street" everyone is, even though the album was released by a major label (Warner Bros.)? Of course.

(There are three.)

Major label albums released on major labels that aren't somehow street: Any Wu Tang joint. Dr. Dre. Nas. Snoop. The Clipse. Jay Z. Biggie. Indie/Major label cred is dead in this modern era, Shirley. That isn't your problem. Your problem is that kids like Soulja Boy, who grew up in a nice neighborhoods with well-to-do parents who buy them music studios, become financial successes bragging about street cred when they seemingly have zero.

Also, YOU THINK THREE SKITS ARE A LOT FOR A RAP ALBUM?!? How about De La Soul's classic "3 Feet High and Rising?" That album is half fucking skits. Skits have been a part of rap music for decades. But you already stated you hate rap, so you thusly hate skits. It's your opinion. That's fine.

"The State vs. Radric Davis" sounds like an album made by a 13-year-old who's been addled by daily hits from a pipe since he was 2. And I'm not referring to smoking -- whether of tobacco or of other substances. I mean that it sounds like someone has been hitting the person who made this album with a pipe for 11 years.

That said, I could imagine listening to a song or two en route to a bar. Once every six months or so.

But high art it is not.

It's trash, it's garbage...but hey, I'll listen to it on the way to a bar. You see what you did there Paul Shirley? You revealed the essence of Gucci Mane's music; it is party music, it drowns in its own irreverence. It is NOT HIGH ART. Gucci knows this, and most people who have an iota of intelligence recognize this very fact. You should take that "hit in the head with a pipe" joke and apply it to yourself. Many times.

Now that I've gotten all that vitriol out of my system, I can move on to the good news:

Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon: The End of Day" is one of the best albums, of any genre, I've heard in months.

I don't want to dwell on the negative, because my objective as a music writer is to bring to light music that I think people will enjoy, not to point out the flaws in other pieces. But because Gucci Mane is so bad, the contrast between him and Kid Cudi becomes all the more evident. The lesson learned from Kid Cudi's debut is that rap music doesn't have to be childish, ignorant and potentially harmful to the health of young brains. Assuming, of course, that Kid Cudi is a rapper, which is a question to which I'd like to return in a few paragraphs.

But first, let us bathe in the sweet waters of positivity.

On "Man on the Moon," Kid Cudi (real name Scott Mescudi) presents the narrative arc of a man trying to understand himself -- his purpose, his past, and who, exactly, he is. Mescudi's is a lofty goal but, because he approaches the project with a level of humanity not often found on records of any sort -- let alone on hip-hop records -- he succeeds.

Kid Cudi isn't just a rapper, he's a singer-songwriter.

One of my problems with most rap/hip-hop albums is their inability to hold my attention for their breadth. (Breadths?) The aforementioned skits, interludes and crappy guest stars take me out of the, well, flow, and I never recover.

My attention span, or lack thereof, is not a problem on "Man on the Moon," even though the album is 15 songs long. There is no filler. Even the tracks that could be interpreted to be interludes, portrayed as they are as "Nightmares" in the protagonist's journey, work. In fact, they're some of the best songs on the record.

THE 'NIGHTMARES' ARE SKITS. THEY ARE SKITS AND YOU DETEST SKITS. Just state an opinion and stick to it. Your head. A pipe. Please hit.

All this effusion was bubbling to my brain's surface even before Mescudi dropped a guest-star bomb on me. I was listening along, thinking, I'm so happy that I like this because if I bashed two rap artists in the same column, everyone would call me a racist for sure … Then I heard the unmistakable strains of RATATAT.

So if you don't like rap music...you're racist? Conclusions, you have been jumped to. This is terrible. No wonder he wrote that piece on Haiti. The old "I'm just a poor white boy stuck in a P.C. world" shtick. You aren't. Grow up and think like an adult. Just because I hate modern jazz music doesn't make me a bigot. It just means that I have an opinion. The end.

Kid Cudi works with RATATAT!

You see, I really like RATATAT. As if the exclamation point didn't make that clear. And if Kid Cudi has the taste and intelligence to secure the participation of RATATAT on his album, I like him even more.

This is about to get really, really awful. As bad as listening to him gush about RATATAT? Worse.

When I finished listening to "Man on the Moon" for the fourth time, I was jubilant. I had, once again, found rap music that I liked.

But something was eating at the edge of my consciousness. That something was this:

I'm not entirely sure Kid Cudi purveys rap music. I know he's black (ish?) and that his music is relatively monotonal. But as I listened to "Man On the Moon," over and over, I couldn't help but be struck with how much Mescudi sounds like …

A singer-songwriter.

First of all..."black (ish?)"...I literally want to punch Paul Shirley in the face. This is not honesty, nor is it contrarian. He is a lazy writer, hoping to catch your attention through the use of manipulatively rabble-rousing rhetoric. I'VE GOTTAN OPINION BRO, IT'S SO TWISTED, CZECH IT OUT. Secondly, his music is monotonal therefore it's rap music? FTW? Have you heard J Dilla? Deltron? El-P? Pete Rock? Large Professor? Prince Paul? The list goes on and on. I know this is an opinion piece, but it stinks up to the rafters. If I'm interested in something, I do a little...RESEARCH. And then I can back up my interest with facts, which in turn creates my opinion.

Monotonal is not a word. Spell check should tell you that. Monaural? Is that what you meant? Because Monotonal means there is only one tone, and that would mean rap music is the sound of one note. You are not intelligent.

I know what you're thinking, depending on who you are. If you were Kid Cudi, you'd say, "Oh brother, just when I was starting to get some credibility, some white dude calls me a singer-songwriter."

If you're a militant hip-hop fan who happens to love Kid Cudi, you're thinking, "Shirley, you're just trying to fit Kid Cudi into your tastes, instead of adapting your tastes to embrace music that you thought didn't exist."

To Mr. Mescudi, I would say … Don't worry about my judgment; no one actually reads these columns. They're a write-off for ESPN.

To Mr. Militant, I would say … No, I'm really not. I have no problem writing that I like rap music. I haven't done so very often of late because there hasn't been any worth writing about since 1993.

I kid. I had to write that just to see how many people would stop reading immediately after the "1993" to fire off an angry e-mail that contained epithets and suggestions that I listen to Common, Saul Williams and Atmosphere before I start shooting off at the keyboard.

Very quickly: More fun contrarianism, he says he like rap music when he earlier said he did not like rap music, and the three rappers he comes up with are too hip to be square Common, Saul Williams and Atmosphere? Amazing.

My toe-dip into the tepid waters of classification is not meant to imply that Kid Cudi is a singer-songwriter in the vein of Jack Johnson. But plotted on a spectrum that runs from Pete Yorn to Mystikal, he's probably closer to Yorn than most would realize.

In case you don't believe me, check out "Sky Might Fall" here.

As I listened to "Man on the Moon," I couldn't help but compare Cudi to my favorite rapwriter/songrapper: Jamie T. Singsong delivery. Intelligent lyrics. Occasional admissions of weakness. The only difference being that Cudi is decidedly not from England.

In the end, I suppose, it doesn't matter …

Oh no. Here it comes: the part where I wrap things up and say that it doesn't matter how we classify Kid Cudi because good music is good music … [sound of me snoring as my head hits the fancy backlit keys on my laptop]

As I've finished this column, it has occurred to me that this will be posted the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I hate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I think it's a divisive holiday. Instead of celebrating an intelligent man who happened to be black, there are those (and they are many) who would have us celebrate MLK because he's a black man who happened to be intelligent.

I'm no great spokesman for race relations; many of the black men around whom I've spent time shared a seething dislike for me that had me checking my pockets to make sure I hadn't stolen something from them. As a result, I have my own built-in prejudices and idiosyncrasies.

Yes Paul Shirley, I'm sure this is true. You are victim of reverse racism. Incredible. This piece has gone from asinine to Dada in less than a page of awkwardly structured prose.

I have learned this, however: The more time we spend trying to divide people up, the less progress is made.

So when I write that Kid Cudi isn't purely a rapper, don't think it's because I'm trying to co-opt him into a white world. Instead, listen to his album. Pay attention to the journey he takes the listener on: through his protagonist's confusion, despair, hope and insecurity; and finally, on the last song on the album, to an appropriately tenuous sense of 21st century self-actualization. That the song in question is probably about marijuana is not important, at least to me. What's important is that the album succeeds mightily, where others might have failed.

Hey, would you fancy that. He actually talks a little about the music. Astonishing.

Give it a listen. Whether you're young, old, black, white, a fan of country or a fan of post-electronica jungle house dubstep, I think you'll find a way to relate to Kid Cudi. And a way for him to relate to you.

Then, when you're done, throw away all your Gucci Mane CDs. Because those shouldn't relate to anyone, white or black.

Do you know what's better than anything? Acting like a closet-racist throughout an article and then attempting a colon-cleanse of sorts by using the final sentence as a "get out of jail free card."

In light of your recent incredibly narrow-minded statements, I'm afraid I can't let you out of jail, Mr. Shirley. You see, you've written a wealth of "music reviews" for ESPN that are all prime Writemare material. Unlike Gucci Mane, we will welcome you with open arms.

Monday, January 25, 2010


reviews for instrumental albums are short. not convinced? look.

it's a new album by rachel grimes, previously of the band rachel's. the album gets a 7.1, and three paragraphs.

jump to the end: "[The songs] have the feel of creativity accessed while in between encounters with other people. That time between is something we all need now and then, and this record resonates primarily because of how well it embodies the nourishment of aloneness."

and an editor saw this and said, "ah, fuck it. it's just the internet."

rachel's were a really good band. i can't speak to this new thing because i spend all my money on weed and diner food, leaving me without the means to buy shit at any of the no record stores left in new york.

go listen to rachel's. "systems/layers"

Friday, January 22, 2010

phootball phriday: i'm so right all the time edition

unless i decide to do a pro bowl edition (and if you're interested in placing a bet on the pro bowl, you are a degenerate gambler and you should probably call your parents), there are only two more opportunities to drop knowledge before we enter the long, knick-filled off-season. well, we should all expect tiny nate robinson to catch fire, and the knicks to retake their rightful throne as the beast of the east. but we'll leave that to another day.

for the moment, what the nfl calls championship weekend is coming up. now i've been on something of a roll in the playoffs (6-2), so part of me wants to quit while i'm ahead, and try doing the whole pregame show thing, where i tell you what each team needs to do to win and then watch the money roll in.

well there's no money. so fuck it.

turns out god doesn't want kurt warner to win a second super bowl. i'll admit that this surprised me. He kept boldin out of the game, He made every break go the saints' way, and He even knocked warner on his ass, almost as if to say "my son, it is time to retire." new orleans' has a terrific offense, perhaps the most explosive in the league (watch the flea-flicker from last sunday, if you doubt), but expect jared allen to foil that plan. however, if the saints are able to run between the tackles, and reggie bush seemed pretty unstoppable last week, they will neutralize the viking pass rush, and take advantage of a so-so secondary. as for the mall of america vikings, the cowboys were too soft last week. at least one of favre's touchdowns would have been intercepted by a half-decent corner, and the blowout score is misleading, as minnesota piled it on late. it's been a while since the vikings have played a team that can control the ball, even score touchdowns every now and then. a strong running game and a few more monster plays from bush, and favre will retire yet again, only to be resurrected next year in an effort to save the oakland raiders, which will fall short, yet again.

as for my dearly beloved jets, i watched every snap this season, and one of the joys has been that nobody takes them seriously. you get to feel like you're anti-establishment, but you don't have to stop watching Marines-sponsored pro sports. they may have the best defense in the league, but nobody's afraid of them. check with overpaid pansies carson palmer and phillip rivers to see how underestimating this defense works out. but here's the problem: manning. the chargers, the cardinals, the eagles... this has not been a great post-season for high-flying offenses. they don't seem capable of winning a dog fight. once the going gets tough, they get desperate and soft and start throwing dumb passes (which was kind of their game plan anyway). thing is, the colts are not a high-flying offense; they are an efficient offense. slowly but surely, small chunk by small chunk, they move the ball down the field until they're in the endzone. the jets are best at preying on video-game-type offenses, and may have trouble against a guy who knows that a six yard completion is actually good. additionally, manning gets the ball out of his hands before pressure gets to him, every time (he was sacked only ten times this year, and the texans had four of those all to themselves). this is also a problem for the jets, as manning comfortable in the pocket will be able to cut up any defense he sees.
further, manning runs the best two-minute offense maybe of all time, and the jets have an annoying habit of giving up game-winning touchdown drives in the last two minutes (atlanta, jacksonville, miami, just to name a few). this is the greatest mismatch in the game, colts offense against jets defense down the stretch. if the jets play their game successfully, it will come down to the final possession for indy. but personally, i'm anticipating a crushing last-second loss, followed by a colts-saints super bowl.

win or loose, though, the jets have made this blog exponentially more fun to write this year. for that i am very grateful. one more post about how much "real estate" sucks, and people would start to think i was obsessed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

mr. godfrey ho

more movie talk. j-temp previously listed some movie-watcher types, but i wanted to add the titular director to the conversation, godfrey ho of hong kong, maker of such beautiful classics as "robo vampire"; "ninja: extreme weapons" and "robo-kickboxer -- power of justice".

real fast, because i'm running out of internet: ho's genius was that he would shoot one very short movie (usually with british or american actors, for international distribution), and then buy the rights to an unfinished or otherwise unavailable asian film, and fuse the two together with editing and a dubbed script. the movies didn't make too much sense, and he had no problem frankenstein-ing two films from completely different countries, but as a result of this process, at his peak ho was capable of releasing over a dozen movies EACH YEAR!

one absolute classic: "ninja: the protector". it's the story of three cops trying to break one of hong kong's notorious money-counterfeiting/ninja clubs. it's also the story of a young man, a would-be model, who gets seduced by the bright lights and small titties of hong kong's fashion scene. he gets laid on the beach a lot, and the head cop is also a ninja who cracks the case and beats all the other ninjas.

the film was released in 1986. here's what else godfrey ho released that year:
Bionic Ninja
Ninja Ultimate Challenge
Clash of the Ninjas
Diamond Ninja Force
Golden Ninja Warrior
Ninja Destroyer
Ninja Dragon
Ninja Fantasy
Ninja Hunt
Shaddow Killers Tiger Force
The Ninja Squad
The Ultimate Ninja
Tough Ninja the Shadow Warrior

that's more than one full length movie every month. to godfrey ho, king of quantity not quality!

Friday, January 15, 2010

phootball phriday: smoke while you read it

eight teams remain. only one team's players will have a super bowl XLIV ring to pawn in ten years. here we go.

the only pick i missed last week was the cowboys. i picked against them because i don't like the cowboys. i had to watch george w fucking bush celebrating in the owner's box of the new cowboys tv and stadium, fast becoming a mecca of sorts for middle america. how can you root for this team? in other news, people don't seem to think the vikings are all that strong right now, but in the second half of week 16 against the bears and then all day long against the giants, favre and company seemed unstoppable. and while the dallas defense is getting a lot of love for stymieing the eagles two weeks in a row, the vikings have too many offensive weapons, along with a serious edge in the return game. plus, i hear mall of america field is a really tough place to play. vikings by ten.

as for what i got right, kurt warner is god's quarterback. a lot of talk has been made about how defense ended the game last week. this is typical liberal media. god is love! warner needed to be completely focused, off the field, speaking directly to jesus with his mind. that's why the cardinals won. because jesus. will the lord spare new orleans? no chance. cards win another high-scoring game, but comfortably this time.

the ravens at the colts. baltimore lost a squeaker to the colts earlier in the season. since then, their running game/offensive line have gotten much better, and the coaches have learned to stop putting the game on a guy called flacco. unfortunately for devoted ravens fans everywhere, no one has proven that they can beat peyton manning this year. and don't be distracted by baltimore's shut-down of the welkerless patriots, the ravens defense has lost a step or two. that said, if the ravens win, then they might have to turn on the lights at the meadowlands one more time! back from the dead, now and forever, new jersey's finest football arena!!!! seriously, colts by a bit. manning to the afc championship.

where he will have his candy ass ripped apart by the new york jets. now i know the chargers have won some games. but this is exactly the sort of team that the jets are built to beat. they're soft against the run, they're absurdly pass-heavy, and they tend to need a lot of big plays to win a lot of squeakers. the jets will pound the rock, knock rivers on his ass, and maybe give up a couple big gains on screen passes, and a dig or two up the field to antonio gates. last i checked, san diego was a ten point favorite. crazy-talk. the jets will win handily. that is, of course, unless sachez throws eighteen interceptions.

and finally, on a personal note, allow me to say that gilbert arenas should not go to prison. as a culture, we get off on lynching random famous people, frequently black men, for just about anything. yeah, so he waved a gun around a locker room. so the fuck what? were you there? did you have to duck or something?

calmer than you are.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Week in Creating the Indie Canon

Another day of music to review at Pitchfork and another excuse to review another Animal Collective record. It's a reissue of Campfire Songs, one of their records I enjoy. The review is fill-in-the-blanks typical, references to swirling music, recording on a porch, mushroom trips and the inevitable conversation of how technology invades the band's "naturist" recordings.

Fine. It's just that once in a while I'd appreciate them talking about any other band. We get it. Animal Collective are the kings of Indie. They rooooool. Grizzly Bear is great. So are the Dirty Projectors. The hierarchy is established. Now is the time to talk up anyone else. ANYONE. Thanks.

Other news:

I, like most humans with a semblance of humor, enjoy Conan O'Brien. But guess what? Come February he won't have a show. Count it. I hope this is true, because Conan should be writing and producing amazing comedy outside the forum of a late night show. If he did an animated show, could you imagine the comedy-folk he could bring with him? Conan, force them to fire you, collect the severance and create your dream show. I implore you.

Multiple Personalities: Avatar Apologist

Haven't seen Avatar yet, will when sufficiently inebriated. And yes, I know how hackneyed the plot is. I have four distinct movie-watching personalities:

1. Mr. Serious Q. Fartist

Any film from America is garbage. Linear plot lines are for philistines, and when possible film an entire movie from the first person angle. I want my films to be critiques of societal structure and cross-dressing schoolteachers. Bonus points if I have to look up what the film meant to understand it.

2. Mr. Giant Fucking Explosion

Any film with Jason Statham or Vin Diesel is immediately elite. Bronson, Norris and Lee Marvin are the godfathers of all modern film. Leave your feelings at the door, and if your plot has anything more than "guy kills things and fucks anyone," GO BACK TO THE EDITING ROOM.

3. Mr. Gaping Wounds

No films by Eli Roth belong in this category. He is a fucking hack. Meanwhile, Argento, late 70's early 80's Italian Zombie flicks and Death Race 2000 (The Original) are necessary viewing. Bonus points for horrific sound editing and people getting their eyes gouged out. Terrible jump cuts are a plus, as are child protagonists who watch their entire families get cut down by evil dwarves.

4. Mr. Battered Wives

It's four in the afternoon and you're rifling through channels when you find, "Under the Tuscan Sun." And two and a half hours later your jaw has hit the floor. Any film starring Tori Spelling is a must. Drunken stepfathers, spousal abuse, stalker ex-boyfriends and montages of crying menopausal women make this genre a must-watch.

I know full well Avatar will be vacant, and the Pocahontas rip-off is what it is. Need I bring up other examples of great films that are rip-offs of other works (The Departed, Kurosawa's major works, Disney fables, etc.)?

All that really matters is that sometimes, and only sometimes, I like being dumb. Really super duper dumb. A dumb dummy. Dumb.

did you see avatar? it sucked.

the last word on avatar came from the inimitable IOZ some three weeks ago. there's nothing to add to that really.

just one point: the idea in this movie is that the oppressed people of the world have yet to resort to violence, and if only they would start killing people then the mean colonialists would leave, because if there's one thing that colonial forces are a-scared of, it's fighting

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


think of glenn beck as a panicky, overserious muppet. this will help. but once you've taken this step you should really make the time to watch his show. it airs once at 5PM (for those ancient humans who eat dinner buffets at 5PM in places that have a TV tuned to fox news), and again at 2AM (for angry insomniac crackers, cleaning their guns and waiting for the internet to put up some new porn).

normally, it's just glenn gyrating in front of a blackboard, jotting down huge dollar amounts at random, calling obama a communist (if only...), and then saying: "hello? it makes sense!" sometimes he sits at his desk and the small filipino children he has chained under there have to start earning their keep.

today is different. today he's going toe to toe for the entire hour with the hottest thing to come within ten yards of john mccain since anti-aircraft fire, sarah palin. now i don't pretend to know what is going to be said during this hour, but as an ardent beck-watcher, i can promise you it is going to be absolutely fucking insane. imagine a romantic-type chick-flick in which every role is somehow played by either chris farley or jack black.

tonight. one night only. spend an hour with glenn and sarah, two of the craziest motherfuckers this great nation has to offer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Simon Cowell's Buttock

Several news outlets are reporting that Simon Cowell will leave American Idol. As I have yet to watch a single episode of AI, two shits are appropriately given by the author. However, I love this choice quote he released:
"I just felt like doing something new."

I would feel the same way if I were Cowell. I would get sick of making 36 million dollars a season to sit in a chair and experience people making a spectacle of themselves. All that chair sitting is painful. If I'm Simon Cowell, I DO NEED A CHANGE. SHIT, I'MA GONNA CLIMBA MOUNTAIN. Anything, anything but sit in a chair all day rolling my eyes.

And Cowell's next endeavour...hosting X Factor, a talent show where the hosts...get ready...sit in chairs for hours on end, watching people make a spectacle of themselves.

You didn't need a change, Cowell. You needed to get away from Seacrest, he of the scary shiny teeth and permanent 5 o'clock shadow.

Meanwhile, hope your buttocks are ready for MORE SITTING.

what was that?

i had just written a long post ragging on the new vampire weekend album and review, only to find that the be-ringed j-temperance has returned from his year-long honeymoon. which is good, because his post was much better than mine.

so let me just say two things.

1) while this album certainly sucks, and certainly represents a whole lot of what i hate about all of my dweeby neighborhood-stealing artist friends who live in brooklyn, sales from this album will likely keep XL afloat for another year or two, and after all, they did give us thom yorke's solo album. win-fucking-win.

2) as long as you can still see tony dungy's wierdly-shaped head on TV, i will be putting my phootballs in your mouths in detail every friday. for now, i'll just say that charles woodson played one playoff game, and the opposing quarterback had more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (4). two days later, he's the nfl defensive player of the year. darrelle revis, today my mid-day joint is for you, and the award you should have won.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On Vampire Weekend, Apologists

It's been a while, folk(s), and I'd like to thank Uticas for holding it down like a champion. I'll keep my future posts short and sweet-like.

1. Awesome call on the Cards/Packers shoot-out. Didn't watch any full game, but saw Ray Rice plow for 85 yards in the Ravens epic beat down and knew it was over.

2. Surprise surprise. Vampire Weekend is still making records. And Pitchfork gives them the good old lazy 8.6 for simply putting out a record.
Vampire Weekend sound like they've fallen in love with what they started and are hugging it tight without shame or apology.

I remember when the Strokes came out with their second record and someone at Rolling Stone said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This was an apology to music fans hoping that the Strokes showed any kind of musical growth. That's fine. It's not like the Ramones took any chances during their epic run in the late 70's. They didn't have to, and neither do VW. They are happy taking their sound to the bank. It works for them and they garner mass appeal. It's simple pop music with an INDIE label.

Meanwhile, this review is filled with useless word-count-inflating phrases, especially when describing the band's supposed ska and anti-grunge aesthetic. To wit:

Adopting what they adopt and rejecting what they reject might make Vampire Weekend look like pretenders, but they're not-- they're reactionaries.

Aren't all artists influenced by other art? What makes VW different? If Animal Collective derive their sound from late-60's post-psychedelic damage folk, does it make me like them any less?

If a tree falls on a music critic in the woods, will Elton John change the words of "Candle in the Wind" again?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Phootball Phriday: long weeked edition

so yeah, last week was bad. i pick the eagles to walk over the cowboys, and philly gets shut out. i pick the browns to drop their last game, and josh cribs runs them to their fourth straight win. i thought tennessee would cover a six point spread easily, and they failed to. yuk yuk yuk.

well, ok bitches, maybe you should just bet against my picks. like i give a fuck. the jets backed into the playoffs, which has put a pleasant, not cold-as-shit veneer all over everything this week. lucky for them, they go up against a team that they beat 37-0 all of five days ago. this is sort of favorable.
as for cincy, ever since chris henry got himself thrown from the back of a pick-up truck (always one of my favorite hobbies, riding in the back of pick-ups; had no idea i had cheated death so many times), the bengals clearly miss the compliment to ochocinco. without henry, cincy might have the most vanilla offense in the entire playoffs, which also bodes well for the jets' crazy-ass defense.
working against the jets is the fact that the game is being played in cincinatti, and marc sanchez still sucks for the moment. expect to see a lot of brad smith, a lot of punts, and a game determined by whether or not sanchez can loose it all by himself.
jets are two point underdogs. of course i don't like this, so fuck the bengals. jets by one million and fourteen.

the other saturday match-up is another where just last week the same two teams played and one looked like shit. i went with the eagles last week, because i thought their offense would be near impossible to contain. i feel even more certain of this after last week's embarrassing defeat. the eagles will not be shut out two weeks in a row by the same defense. swear to god.
philly's biggest problem would seem to be their linebackers, and look for dallas to exploit this weakness with their run game and with jason witten.
dallas' biggest problem? texas is full of fascists. eagles by ten.

the ravens should have beaten the patriots already this year. they lost that game, because there was a late 15-yard penalty for looking at tom brady cross-eyed (or trying to take him out below the knee, whatever). this time, wes welker is hurt. all you have to do is look at the way the patriots offense performed at the beginning of the season without welker. suddenly, you can afford to pressure brady, his timing is off with everyone else, plays don't develop long enough for randy moss to get down the field; totally different team.
while i would love to see the jets beat the patriots in the AFC championship, i would rather see the jets not have to play the colts next week. both wild cards advance. ravens by four.

finally, the packers may have made the cardinals look overmatched last week, but kurt warner has christ behind his arm. this is the kurt warner/tim tebow blessing, which outspoken evangelist quarterbacks utilize in order to play better than everyone else in a transparent attempt to mock and belittle atheists everywhere. well played, god. well played. cardinals win a shootout.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

phootball phriday: minutes before week 17 edition

the regular season ends tonight when bart scott decapitates carson palmer (worth the fifteen yard penalty) and the jets march into the playoffs. but since i've been wrong about the jets before this year, i'm gonna leave it up to the gods. so this one isn't a "pick", per se. more of a buffalo 66 situation where if jay feeley blows another game i'm gonna walk into his strip club and have a vivid waking dream of blowing his brains out. then i'll go home and spoon christina ricci.

if you want to make some money, find a legitimate gambling site based in barbados or something, and gamble on sports. if you have an addictive personality, like many of us, you'll never understand how you enjoyed football without it.

many of you may never understand how anyone enjoys football at all. to y'all i say, go ahead and enjoy your sunday. like many millions of my countrymen, i will be drunk by sundown.

the browns favored over jacksonville? please. brady quin is a certified bum, as his younger doppelganger jimmy clausen will surely be. true, the browns are only one and a half point favorites; but this mangini-driven trainwreck will close the season on a pathetic note, as mangini-driven trainwrecks tend to.

dallas is a three point favorite over the eagles, and i think that's just crazy. for some reason, philly never gets the respect they deserve. deshean jackson is the new randy moss. throw in a healthy brian westbrook, and the screen pass game he brings, and i'm not sure dallas has a chance. the only way for the boys: sneak TO in by having him wear roy williams' jersey.

the ravens will probably beat oakland. but not by ten points. oakland has won some stupid games this year, games against teams that absolutely shouldn't have lost to them. also don't let the hype fool you, the ravens defense has not done the job this year, and joe flacco isn't quite as good as he appeared last year. baltimore fails to cover the spread. JAMARCUS FTW!

titans are six point favorites against the seahawks. this isn't a big enough spread. vince young has lost only one game as a starter this year, and it was a relatively close call to peyton manning and the once-undefeated colts. young is going to "come out of nowhere" next year to lead his team deep into the playoffs, and in the process he's going to show that a mobile quarterback with a so-so arm and a god-awful release point can excel in today's NFL. this will make room for tim "i write bible verses on my eye black" tebow, who is going to crush at the next level, maybe in some wildcat type offense, maybe located in florida... vince young covers the spread, matt hasslebeck finally retires?

and that's my last lock of the regular season. take my advice, or remain helpless and poor. whatever.