Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
I’d classify myself as a Sufjan appreciator, not a fan, but an enjoyer of. I have felt the illinoise. I was stoked on the night!
The approximately 30 minute piece is fully orchestral, with swelling crescendos, chilling tremolos, and thoroughly illing funkflexors. It was all accompanied by a grainy, three-paned video projection of Brooklyn-type images, and real live hula hoopers.
Basically, it was like some child was born who had only ever been exposed to the twee-est of the twee and the indie-est of the indie and (obviously) learned how to use a super 8 and learned that Brooklyn is cool and vomited up some stuff. And got a crush on a pretty, long-haired girl who hula hoops.
The music was enjoyable. I liked hearing the lush sounds of a full orchestra set to poppy tunes. I have been told that I took the accompanying video too seriously and that it was only meant to be a backdrop, but after staring at it for 31-odd minutes how could I not judge it? I mean really, have you ever sat across from chews-with-her-mouth-open and picks-her-teeth at a meeting? Try not judging her. It’s hard. It’s in our (my) nature.
So Sufjan’s synching up of movie’s scary parts with violin’s tremolos did seem sort of juvenile to me. And his “cool” effects like inverted colors and whatever-else seemed like “hey, I just got this cool thing called a computer and look what it can do!”
Sufjan’s tool of the trade.
To top it off, this piece is supposed to be about the BQE, right? He even wrote this whole freshman-in-college sounding essay in the program about the significance of its grittiness, and the whimsical juxtaposition of such a concrete monstrosity against hula hoopers. Pretty hula hoopers. But when his huge melodic climax coincided with some striking (and often seen) shots of Coney Island I thought to myself, “does the BQE even go to Coney Island?”
BQE bikers NOT on their way to the beach.
The answer is no, people. Coney Island is the EASIEST way to go Brooklyn and we all know it! It’s totally cool looking. It’s eerie and earthy and faux-modern and post-modern all at the same time! But it’s like putting on a rainbow-printed belt and calling yourself a gay rights activist. It’s like saying “in bed” after reading a fortune cookie and thinking it passes for a decent joke. It’s something we’ve all done, but that we hopefully grew out of. Or even if we didn’t grow out of it, we’re not getting comissioned by a major arts foundation to display it to crowds of thousands!
So, come on, Sufjan. Coney? Hip? Photogenic? You’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know there.
And maybe I’ve just seen too many undergrad modern dance shows (thanks sis) but glow-in-the-dark-hula-hoopers does not Art make. Get my drift? Say it forward or backward but at this level of performing I expect more. I just do. And I don’t care if that makes me a hater. It’s how I feel. My feelings.
Ahem. Anyway, nice try, Sufjan and BAM but do better next time. It’s only because I expect more from you.
Oh and to save me from total hateration (sorry Mary J, I know you don’t need this) the second half of the show was a straight up Sufjan concert and it was beautiful! I liked it and his weird, rambling story about running away from band camp and getting chased by an oboe-bird and learning the value of practicing. A totally pleasant evening marred only by the pain of wasted potential and the annoyance of hipster (metaphorical) jizz.
Sufjan is easy on the eyes (and ears and brains).
SPICE UP YOUR WORLD!!
Who’s ready for a Spice Girls comeback? Come on, raise those hands high…….?
Well, SOMEone is ready. And someone upstairs (at Victoria’s Secret) loves those girls. Their new ‘greatest hits’ album will be distributed EXCLUSIVELY at Victoria’s Secrets stores worldwide.
Wow. That is some deal. Why? Melanie B. explains…
“They do great bras, and every girl wears a bra. And they should – at some point in their life. Unless they don’t need to wear one,”
Yes! Well put, Scary.
You know, when I read this I ignorantly thought to myself, greatest hits? Why, they couldn’t have more than that one album which would by default be their greatest hits!
WRONG! Once I had done my research, I found that their extensive discography includes, in addition to their obvious hit Spiceworld, Singalonga Spice, the karaoke album, Viva Forever CD1 Enhanced, and Forever. Not to mention their DVD catalog: Zig-a-zig-Ahhh the unauthorized DVD. And Spice World. Obvs.
Then for a while I thought they were doing REALLY well, and even had their own channel. (NSFW) I was a little mistaken on that one.
But bringing your attention back to the original People article on this phenomenon, aptly titled Bra Power!!… they offer more news:
The partnership also extends to television: Baby (Emma Bunton), Ginger (Geri Halliwell), Scary (Mel B.), Sporty (Melanie C.) and Posh (Victoria Beckham) will perform during the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which tapes in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 and airs on CBS Dec. 4.
Posh is the only with whose name is live-linked! That a harsh commentary by the heartless bastards at people.com.
Scary is saying to herself, did I have Eddie Murphy’s illegitimate baby for nothing?
Ginger is saying, did I launch my solo career and get nominated for THREE Brit awards for nothing?
Baby is saying, did I appear on Strictly Come Dancing, the British precursor to Dancing with the Stars, for nothing?
So I applaud you, Spice Girls of yore! But ladies, go with what you know! What the shit kind of promo shot is this? You need some pigtails, tube tops, and open screaming mouths, stat. See you at Vicky’s!
Weezer followed their brilliant first album (the Blue Album) and arguably even more brilliant second album (Pinkerton) with a MAJOR fall-off in their third (The Green Album…5 years later) and exponentially worse albums following that one (Maladroit and Make Believe). Wes Anderson, to be fair, produced one excellent movie (Bottle Rocket), then two UNBELIEVABLE movies (Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums), and has followed them with two not nearly as good movies (The Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited) that still have some strengths. In both cases, critics have praised their mediocre work based solely on the brilliance of their previous greatness. But for me, enough is enough.
When Weezer stopped making albums for 5 years (from 1996-2001), I was devastated. Throughout high school and the beginning of college I was absolutely obsessed with them. Their first two albums were unequivocally the soundtrack to my life for the better part of six developmentally crucial years. When they announced that they were doing a comeback tour playing small venues across the country, I almost wet myself, and their performances did not disappoint. It filled me with hope that the band that had given me so much to sing along to and relate to had more to give…
Then came the Green Album. Critics praised it as a return to greatness for the band that they’d lambasted and then turned around and 69-ed. They were mentioning it among the best punk albums in recent memory.
The only problem was, not only wasn’t the Green Album a punk album (writing 2-minute songs does not a punk album make…Oi-sland in the Sun? No) … it wasn’t even good. At all. Pumped as we were for the heavy riffs of “Hash Pipe” and the sunny Beach Boys harmonies of “Island in the Sun,” the unfortunate truth was that these and the 8 other songs were all really F-ing boring. Rivers Cuomo even referred in interviews to creating a “formula” for writing his idea of perfect pop-songs…an OBVIOUS (read “totally beaten to death”) combination of early-Beatles songwriting with Nirvana’s distortion. But the pop formula fell flat, and the distortion did not make up for the elephant in the room, their total, utter lack of emotional substance.
Maladroit followed and was somehow even worse because they tried to re-capture the “darkness” of Pinkerton, but instead just made the sissiest nu-metal album ever. Make Believe I didn’t even buy. The first 2 minutes of “Beverly Hills” made me throw up in my mouth, and the Peter Frampton guitar solo made me spew it everywhere. Horrible. In just a few short years, my favorite band became a hollow charicature of itself and decided they liked it that way…
I’m older now, and I thought these kinds of attachments to my youth couldn’t have the same impact on me anymore, until I saw The Life Aquatic. For the previous 3 years, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums had been duking it out on my DVD player to claim the undisputed rank as my absolute favorite movie of all time. And then along came Life Aquatic, perhaps Anderson’s most visually stunning movie to date, and with an incredible all-David Bowie soundtrack played by the previously unknown Seu Jorge.
But watching the movie, there was a familiar feeling…much like what I’d gone through in college with Weezer…Anderson had created a formula for himself: beautiful sets, colors, costumes + memorable location + same cast of characters + daddy issues. The piece of the puzzle that he left out, is the piece that made me love his first three movies…that the characters used emotional absence to disguise their overflowing pain, jealousy, longing, etc. Instead, in Life Aquatic the characters were just…empty. The movie goes on and on, but all that really changes is whether the characters are walking in regular or slow motion.
I found the same to be true of Darjeeling Limited. This time around, I came into the theater with much lower expectations and found the beginning of the movie to be hilarious (Bill Murray’s cameo opening, Frances ordering the meal for everyone, Jack smashing the perfume bottle, etc.) … but their characters never change. The whole movie was just an excuse to use Anderson’s “look at all the people in the different rooms” shtick on a train (for that I could’ve just watched his new AT&T commercials…blech). And then the big “plot” payoff of the movie is revealed when in the very last scene of the movie the characters jump on the train and leave behind their emotional “baggage” (metaphorically represented by their actual baggage…barf).
So, Wes Anderson, hear me now…you’re mailing it in, my friend. Your movies look and sound beautiful, but your characters have lost their depth and it makes me wonder if maybe you have too.
But, in the immortal words of Royal Tenenbaum …
“that’s just one man’s opinion.”
Posted in brooklyn, Music, Review, tagged , , arcade fire, bands, blonde redhead, burrito, disco ball, lcd soundsystem, randall's island, Review, show, Tim Harrington on October 12, 2007| 2 Comments »
This has been a long in coming review, and I apologize for the length. You should really blame the concert for having these bands all together in one evening.
When I first began my trip to Randall’s Island to see the big Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem/ Blonde Redhead/Les Savy Fav concert on 10/06/07… (more…)
Would you pay $15 to see a 4-film Lindsay Lohan “mid-career retrospective”? I definitely would.
Would you pay $15 to see 5 bands? (Antibalas, The Exit, Be Your Own Pet, Dirty on Purpose and the Heartless Bstards) … I definitely would.
How about $15 for both, plus DJs spinning all night, $3 beers and tons of other amazing crap going on following the last Sufjan Stevens performance at BAM on November 3rd…the only answer is YES, motherfucker. YES.