Music Dump - Cold Chisel Punkademia Jim Morrison Loathes Lana Del Rey Hip Hop
Who's saying what
Playing Video Games by Amelia Schmidt (The Future/musicfeeds): Schmidt’s blog "The Future" is about the intersection of music and technology, and so it makes sense for her to talk about ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey. But not because the song is called ‘Video Games’: instead, Schmidt argues that Del Rey’s music is fundamentally about the internet. Del Rey’s father is an internet entrepreneur, and I daresay has bankrolled his daughter’s music career thus far – and this means that Del Rey has grown up in a household where the internet was always a pretty important thing. Considering how much of our lives are consumed by the internet – hi there if you read this because someone tweeted this or linked to it on Facebook, and GET BACK TO WORK ALREADY – it’s surprising that so little music has explored how we feel about all this. And the video for the song, which Del Rey seems to have made herself, is hard to imagine without the internet. It has the magpie impulses of a Tumblr, and there’s something uncomfortably webcam porny about the way Del Rey gazes at the camera as she sings.
My Mortifying Month by Nitsuh Abebe (A Grammar): Last week, I featured a New York magazine piece Nitsuh Abebe wrote about how Wilco and Feist are basically not very far off adult contemporary music. Abebe found, to his horror, that even though he tried very hard to be objective about Wilco and adult contemporary, and wasn’t trying to diss either, a lot of people thought he was being snarky and snide. And so his tumblr post – ostensibly a link to his new Pitchfork column about how pretty music is just as important as noisy music – is about the whys and hows of being misinterpreted as a music writer. A bunch of people have strong emotional reactions to music and get uncomfortable when people analyse the music they listen to (especially metal dudes and Guy Sebastian fans, judging by the comments we get at TheVine). Beyond the trope about dancing about architecture, there’s something threatening about music analysis, I think, because we have placed our own meanings and interpretations into the music, and we worry that those meanings and interpretations are follies and misinterpretations.
Lex Luger Can Write A Hit Rap Song In The Time It Takes To Read This by Alex Pappademas (New York Times): Well, he can write the backing track – someone else has to write the vocals. Luger rose to prominence by supplying Waka Flocka Flame's music, and you may recognise his beats from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He creates his trackss on a cheapo shareware program called Fruity Loops, and, when he’s in a zone, it only really takes him 20 minutes to create a beat (Pappademas timed him with a stopwatch). Which, as the title implies, is longer than it will take you to read this article, which gives a good example of the way that hip hop in the U.S. works today.
Why Do People Loathe Nickelback So Much? (And Do They Deserve It?) by Maura Johnston (Village Voice): Your instant reaction to the two questions in the title of the article were probably “because they suck” and “yes”, right? (Mine were). But why Nickelback? Why don’t people hate Seether or Staind just as much, seeing they create pretty similar music? Johnston explores the reasons here, and her most interesting argument is that Nickelback are a designated hate object, à la Emmanuel Goldstein in George Orwell’s 1984.
When You’re Strange by Daniel Nester (Poetry Foundation): Jim Morrison of The Doors definitely fancied himself a poet, but music critics are pretty scathing about the pretentiousness of his poetry; he was famously christened the ‘Bozo Dionysus’ by Lester Bangs. So what does the world of serious American poetry think about Morrison? Surprisingly, a lot of them are fans. Many poets apparently think Morrison had quite a lot of good imagery and phrasing, and for many of them his work (especially the An American Prayer album, where the remaining Doors put music underneath Morrison’s recorded spoken word poetry – see ‘Ghost Song’ for an example) was basically a gateway drug into poetry.
The Rise Of Punkademia by Leon Neyfakh (Boston Globe): Someone who was a teenager in 1976, the year that punk broke, is now 50. And plenty of teenage punks, drawn to its questioning of authority, gravitated towards academia, which also tends to question authority. Mind you, where punk questions authority with gobbing and power chords, academia questions authority with references to Foucault and words like ‘hegemony’. And so now we have academic journals called things like Punk And Post-Punk. Mind you, Neyfakh totally missed a trick here – did he not realise that Greg Graffin exists? Graffin is both the lead singer of US punk band Bad Religion and a professor of biology, and last year wrote a book about this strange mix of professions, called Anarchy Evolution (see an interview with Graffin here).
Cold Chisel: We Don’t Like Labouring Over Things by Matt Shea (Mess+Noise): Here Matt Shea (a contributor to TheVine) interviews Jimmy Barnes during the rehearsals for Cold Chisel’s current Australian tour. I’m not sure I’ve ever read too many interviews with Barnesy, but I was surprised at how articulate he is in the interview – his answers and reflections on the meaning of Cold Chisel are reflective and measured. Mind you, his response when asked about Chisel albums getting in the recent Triple J Hottest 100 Australian Albums thing was “I fucken hate Triple J”.
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