I want to be your girlfriend!+2 – That hand-clappy 50s girl-group drum beat on the chorus and bridge. I tend to love (or at least look favorably on) any song that chooses to incorporate this motif. I always thought it would be a good theme to organize a mix tape around, but I keep forgetting to make a list of all the songs that use it. Veruca Salt’s “David Bowie”, there’s one.

+1 – Those backing vocals on the 2nd verse (So come over here) and pre-chorus (Ah-ah-ah) are kind of nice, aren’t they? Like they just popped over from a better song.

0 – “Hell yeah I’m the motherfucking princess.” This is the midline of the song. On the one hand, it’s a delicious line to have in a pop song. On the other hand, anyone who attended high school knows girls for whom this was their personal mantra, and god damn were they not the most awful girls in the world and did you not totally wish that they never existed.

-1 – Is that giggling going on behind the bridge? Giggling from traditionally dour Avril is information that does not fit within my cognitive schema. What if Derik was in the studio, tickling her. What if they were naked, or sharing an inside joke from their early courtship. What if I never get the horrible images conjured by this giggling out of my head.

-2 – Whoever wrote the song (“Avril”?) decided we needed to hear the chorus 10 times.* Come now. Even for a pop song, that’s stretching it a bit, no? Even Girls Aloud will give it a good 8 and out.

*Twenty times, if you listen to the Spanglish version directly after the English version.

[In the car, listening to the iPod; “Read My Mind” by the Killers is playing.]

“I don’t like this song. It’s not a very rocking out song.”

[FF; “Girlfriend (Spanglish version)” by Avril Lavigne comes on.]

“No. This is not a rocking out song. Different song. DIFFERENT SONG.”

[FF; “Very Young” by Charlotte Hatherly comes on. He starts thrashing in his booster seat.]

“Whoa is this a Transformers song?”

“Um, I don’t know. I guess it could be. You like it?”

“This is a rocking out song.”

& my heart is very sure

February 19, 2007

Shiina provides her thoughts on marriageI intended to post this on Valentine’s Day, but I was stuck in an airport.

In order to fully appreciate the restraint on display in this song, you need to take both my Intro to Shiina and Shiina Ringo 201 classes. I’m hoping that next semester I get hired on full-time, no more of this adjunct shit, so I can start planning the full suite of grad-level j-pop classes that I was put on this Earth to develop.

MP3: Shiina Ringo — More

Fidelity

February 19, 2007

You can't editLast night I had a dream that Nellie McKay and Casey Dienel were trapped inside a burning building and I only had time to save one of them. A moral conundrum on a grand scale, to say the least. I hemmed and hawed for a while and then made my choice and busted heroically across the street, but then Regina Spektor was blocking the way and talking all sweet to me. (Which on the one hand it’s weird that my brain associates her with them, but on the other I am a hot-blooded (check it and see) male and I do find her fetching, so.) Anyways later, back at Regina’s apartment (I’m not recounting the whole dream but fill in the blanks) I found a pack of matches and realized that she’d only wanted to make time with me to distract me from the fire. And it broke my huh huh-huh-huh et cetera.

Things I Can Never Have

January 26, 2007

I wish I had an mp3 of this song:

I also wish I had an mp3 of the title track from Band Of The Hand. Which, good luck even finding any references to that movie on the internet. Remember that though? All Bob Dylan & the Heartbreakers? All juvenile detention in the middle of the Florida Everglades, cashing in on the Miami Vice fever which had our young nation in its grasp? And you were sure the main guy was played by Lou Reed even though it totally wasn’t? That movie and Stripes and Beat Street: the holy trinity of my formative years.

Sorry to be rambly. I’m in a hotel room in Dallas. No sign of Mr & Mrs Hardwick though.

One other mp3 I wish I had, because compulsion forbids me from stopping at two: “Escape” by Misia. God damn an iTunes store that so limits my j-pop choices. Admit that you watch this video and wish to Jesus/Allah/whoever that you had been there to see this live:

You would have died and then spent the rest of your days trying to convince your life partner to have sex with you dressed in whatever those silver outfits are.

tokyo highway nightMy favorite thing lately is to listen to music as quietly as possible. This works best in the car, where the sound of the road drowns out most of the frequencies. For the first 10-20 seconds of a song all you can hear is the drums, and then eventually an errant guitar or vocal note gives the song away. Then your brain starts to fill in the parts that you can’t actually hear, and you start singing along to the best of your ability. And then it gets to the chorus and it turns out you were singing in the wrong key the whole time. Which is kind of symbolic of life.

That is my favorite thing lately.

Elsewhere, Maura says Amerie’s mixtape Because I Love It is almost her favorite album of the year. I can’t disagree, and actually I’d bump it up to the top spot, for just the reasons Maura describes, as well as the fact that it’s the most barn-burningly catchy assortment of tunes anyone released last year. Yes I am looking at you, Mssrs. Hova and Starks.

My favorite track was “Weekend Love.” The original, in Cam’ron’s hands, is a catchy but by-the-numbers come-on to a sideline ho. Under Amerie’s guidance, the song is transformed into an empowered anthem and tribute to any woman who has her shit together, and is above running the kind of games Cam’Ron is intent on instigating.

Where Cam digs his heels in and tries to force a hook by repeating “You could be, you could be” ad infinitum, Amerie just glides effortlessly over the track, not so much responding to the original as she is willing it into reinvention. They’re both great, but Amerie has–to use the parlance of the day–swaggerjacked this one out from Killa.

Compare/contrast:

MP3: Cam’ron: Weekend Love

MP3: Amerie: Weekend Love