(For those who dont need the intro, skip to 2:30)
(For those who dont need the intro, skip to 2:30)
This is a new weekly segment called “F*ck you, its a jam” in which we will be bringing you the best music people might assume is bad, but is really great. Yet again, providing you with the very best opinions so you don’t have to come up with them yourself. 100% USDA certified and TWO Time guaranteed.
This weeks jam, which is really a lot better than you’d imagine, is by the masculine yet delicate Cher. A 1998 release, from her 23rd (!) studio album; it was noted by Billboard as being “The best thing Cher has done in years.” So enjoy it, because f*ck you, thats why.
James Gandolfini passed away today at age 51 following a massive heart attack. He was one of the good ones. I once slept with a woman in a bar in North Lake Tahoe because she was attracted to Tony Soprano. While I am fat, I am not Italian, but just like in highschool, 50% was good enough for her. Rumor has it he died in Italy, which I find kind of fitting. Before you decide to make an end of The Sopranos joke, I already did it in a text to Simon Theory…sorry. But the good news is, you can rewatch all your favorite Soprano episodes as HBO Go is now available on the AppleTV.
Let me start by saying that while I felt it was one of 2006’s biggest flops, Superman Returns gave the world Brandon Routh, for which I am eternally grateful. That being said, if the guy who went on to cameo in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the best part of a Superman movie, something is tragically wrong. I will readily admit, that plane scene was pretty bad ass but it just wasn’t enough action for a Superman movie, especially in a post Batman Begins/Spiderman 2 world. Superman Returns tried to hard to appeal to err’body and became a weird hybrid movie; half “dark, gritty and brooding reboot” and half a slap-stickesque homage to the Christopher Reeve classics of years before.
Man of Steel has none of those problems. Its really fucking good. Its still a child of two worlds, but this time it works. Nolan and Goyer infuse a solid sense of realism and weight to the world. Things seem well paced and the story unfolds deliberately, then you have Snyders influence, which is visible in the quick cuts and impeccably paced action sequences. All of this would be for naught, if not for an excellent performance my Henry Cavill and his superb portrayal of Kryptons last son. While I initually took umbridge at the casting of a Brit in the role, his version of truth, justice and the American way is just dandy.
This flick isn’t without its faults. I have to really nitpick to find them, but it seems like, at a certain point about two thirds through the movie, Zack Snyder just turned to Nolan and Goyer and said, “Enough plot, lets just throw shit at Superman.” …and that is exactly what they did. Additionally, Amy Adams portrayed her well, but Lois Lane fell into too many “damsel in distress” scenarios that they began to seem archetypical and trite.
Long story short; Michael Shannon is good, Diane Lane is good, Kevin Costner, Lawrence Fishburn, Russell Crowe and all the above mentioned actors are good, and the movie itself is damn good. The direction is great, the lack of super undies is NBD, and I have no trouble imagining this version of Superman existing in the same world as Nolans Batman, which will hopefully make the inevitable mash-up that much easier, and thank god the plot wasnt about Lex Luthors real estate scheming. Oh, I didn’t really catch it, but someone also mentioned this may be a pretty powerful Christ allegory. I suppose you really have to read between the lines.
-What happened to all the Real Men? The straight-shooters who spoke up when necessary and believed in things and never spoke in cliches and were loyal and dependable. The man you could depend on to say what needed to be said and never took their issues out on others. Real men that always projected confidence, not cockiness. That were humble, not inferior.
Not to say I support this antiquated view of “Macho” still prevalent in certain circles of the world. They were simple-minded and embraced ignorance. They didn’t know how to care for a woman or see true beauty. nothing had depth, everything was just on the surface. Men had to evolve sooner or later to be more tolerant and compassionate, self-aware of their feelings, worldly and intellectual. They had to develop ambition and optimism and a belief in greater possibilities. Absolutely.
But real men once had a frankness and directness about them that more closely resembled honesty. But as we developed an emotional awareness that more resembled a woman’s, we began taking on some of their lesser attributes. We got catty and self-absorbed. We started to gossip and talk behind peoples back. We watched instead of engaged and we hid behind this “Whatever” attitude for fear of society rejecting us. So the more men started to behave like women while maintaining our egos and pride, the more we resembled liars and cowards.
I don’t know if I’m getting old or getting complacent, but the never-ending rebellion against change with regards to my beloved pop-culture is waning and I’m starting to jump on board the remix culture. Perhaps it’s Techno-Optimist Jason Silva’s influence on my perspective towards change, or my unwavering inner-conflict every time I listen to The Beatles “White Album” and keep trying to reorganize the track list to make a bunch of great songs into a legitimately playable album. Whatever it is, the loss of “Great Albums” to iPod playlists and reshuffling track listings is something still being thoroughly discussed by journalists, rock critics, record executives, and audiophiles throughout the world. And for a long time, I joined in the antiquity of vintage mindsets and misplaced nostalgia. However, over time, I’ve finally witnessed first-hand enough change to the music industry to categorically state that albums with great songs can be just as great as a “Great Album”. And the “Remix Culture” is no longer a scar on the face of popular music.
For decades, the music industry has debated the greatest albums, what constitutes a great album, necessary criteria to be in consideration for a great album, what role time should play in judging the quality of a great album, etc. However, only with the advent of the Compact Disc (CD, to the illiterate and pre-pubescent) was the criteria of “skipping tracks” added to the list. “Album Playability” has always been an important contributing factor and “filler tracks” is nothing new, but music lovers were never made so aware of how passable most music tracks were until technology advanced far enough for us to skip a track with the push of a button (another crucially important cultural touchstone from the 90s). Only then, were we consistently forced to raise our standards for what songs warranted three and a half minutes of our time and which ones didn’t. And nothing has been the same again. Vinyl collectors will tell you just how prejudicial they have become based off the criteria of “Album Playability”. Once every cell phone turned into an MP3 player, skipping a track on a vinyl record can be far more time-consuming to anyone spoiled by an iPhone.
However, while many may feel this encouraged the general audience’s fascination with “Disposable Art”, I’m a firm believer in the free market and the concept of “Supply and Demand” as it pertains to music. Near the end of the 1970s and leading into the 1980s, while the counterculture slowly began to invent punk, it was Disco, ballads, dance tracks, and the early stages of “Pop” that were dominating the once-exclusively RocknRoll America. An America that had never really lived through an era of pre-fabricated, disposable pop music on such a massive scale before (although The Monkees continue to be a complicated exception to many theories on pop culture). It was the 80s that was responsible for some of the worst, gadget-like, soulless, by-number music production of the past century. Of course, the decade had tremendous talents from pop stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and prince or Rock bands like The Clash, Def Leppard, and AC/DC. However one forgets the billboard charts were more frequently topped by some of the most dated and era-specific one-hit wonders in history (up until that time). And music fans were growing tired of music so formulaic, uninspired, and technologically lifeless. So skipping tracks on a CD was not (necessarily) born out of the diminishing attention span of our youth, but by the rejection of poorly-produced, half-assed pop records. In fact, even before the invention of the CD, the “single” market was exploding in conjunction with the ever-expanding audience for national radio so albums as a whole were already becoming less of a necessity to the music industry while the “single” was becoming more important than ever.
I know the goal of a great album is not one shared by most recording artists anymore, but doesn’t that free them up to be more creative, musically diverse, and free from the guidelines/restrictions of the “album” mentality?
I remember back in 1997 reading a couple articles on the, at the time, upcoming release of 311’s platinum-selling album”Transistor”. What was being covered was not so much the actual tracks of the album but the bands goal to make a loaded double-album worth of music, pack it tightly on 1 disc, keep the music insanely diverse and they had 22 uniquely solid tracks that blended horribly together, but give their fans their moneys worth. Their theory was based on the rudimentary economic principle that, if you’re going to pay 15-20$ for an album, wouldn’t you rather have 21 tracks of good music in lieu of the average track length of 10-12?
The only thing the tracks really had in common was that the album was “Made by 311”, and it had a SoCal influence. But every 311 fan loves every track it their own way. Is that any less of an achievement in the world of iTunes, playlists, remixes, and compilations?
When I asked T.W.O-Timer “Barry Jive”, he brought up a good example of the remix culture already in full effect with the advent of “Soundtracks”. Not film scores, but soundtracks that have been mixing and matching artists & producers with styles & genres for decades. While vintage audiophiles bemoaned the corruption of the “Album” for the A.D.D.-inflicted Millenial Generation’s love of playlists and an over-abundance of “filler”, they never fail neglecting to mention some of the greatest, most played, copied, and diverse albums in the past few decades have been soundtracks. From 1986’s platinum-selling “Top Gun”, to 1996’s soundtrack of original compositions for the Tom Hanks film “That Thing You Do”. From the Simon & Garfunkel classic for “The Graduate”, to its 21st Century equivalent; Zach Braff’s writer/director debut film “Garden State”, which introduced us to the 21st Century Simon & Garfunkel, “The Shins”. We’ve been cutting and pasting artists and genres for soundtracks that have defines multiple generations. Even the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack dwarfs most albums for its diversity, musicianship, and pop sensibility and going as far back as “The Sound Of Music” to the musical films of Baz Luhrmann.
Therefore, I’ve gotta believe that breaking up the “Album” mentality of nostalgic purists can’t be as bad as it sounds. Artists have become more diverse. More experimental. Albums are designed to be changed up and remixed and tracks moved around. It gives the music lover more freedom to do with music what they want and the artist creative license to make any music desire without worrying about “Album Cohesiveness”. Here’s to the 21st Century.
“Here’s a theory for you all to disregard…” Smoking weed doesnt actually make anything better…it just makes you appreciate everything more. Think about it for a second. While many different strains have many different effects on the human body, one of the most universal and medically relevant effects of marijuana is the numbing of physical and mental sensation. Marijuana relieves pains, relieves stress, improves immune functions, lowers anxiety, etc. All of which have to do with the lowering of your body’s awareness so why do stoners swear that sex is better or food is better or jokes are funnier while high? Because they’re not.
While high on marijuana, you feel less. But your day-to-day mental blocks are down. Being stoned during sex actually lowers the physical sensations, slows down the signals being sent to your brain, and lowers mental stimulation. But you appreciate the way sex feels so much more. That’s not a physical response; it’s an emotional one. To heighten your sexual enjoyment, you actually need something like Onnit’s AlphaBrain which increases focus and mental functions.
One of the universal truths in this country is that we have all that we need and we’re just too scatterbrained or emotionally vulnerable or mentally stressed to appreciate all our good fortune. That is where marijuana’s true wonder kicks in. Weed is bottled happiness. It is pure joy. It is chemically reinforced happiness. Marijuana doesn’t make anything better. The opposite, in fact. It numbs your mind to this massively over-stimulated world allowing you to rid your thoughts of worries and stress and doubt and pessimism and ambitious needs to multi-task and allows you to be truly in the moment…which is where happiness resides.
I say marijuana makes you think and feel less. And that’s a good thing. Because in this rapidly changing, hyper-paced, A.D.D. world we live in, we humans so rarely stop to smell the roses anymore.