Weezer already took the "Jackass" guys down "Memories" Lane, but now Karen O has the cast moving forward with some good advice.
"If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough" was penned by frequent "Jackass" troubadour (and Johnny Knoxville's cousin) Roger Alan Wade, but it's the Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman that put the final touches on it for the "Jackass 3-D" soundtrack. The boys manage to chime in too, though it's unclear if its them or other shenanigans that cause her to crack-up singing mid-song. Maybe it's the funny accent that does her in.
If you'll remember, Ms. O also contributed mightily to "Where the Wild Things Are" soundtrack -- her former flame Spike Jonze directed that film while he continues his support producing the "Jackass" franchise with "3D."
"Memories," Twisted Sister, a remix of the "Jackass" theme song (The Minutemen's "Corona") and other songs are included in the Epitaph soundtrack. Digital and physical copies with drop on Oct. 12 and Oct. 26, respectively.
Despite Keri Hilson’s best intentions, her new single “Pretty Girl Rock” is not a song for ladies. It's a track for men, by a man (compliments of Ne-Yo), sung by a lady, under weak auspices that it's a track for the ladies.
The track was debuted live last week in New York, at the Beats by Dr. Dre event. It’s since been pushed to radio and seems to be the best shot that Hilson has at a hit after “Knock You Down,” a single I adore.
On the one hand, you can’t take a song like this too seriously. With its toothless but familiar beat and a chorus that bounds like a puppy in snow (“rock rock rock rock rock”), it’s meant to push bodies onto the floor, not spun on repeat to a pair of headphones in a dark room. Its melody is certainly uplifting enough and it’s got a thuggy underbelly despite an overabundance of cuteness. It moves.
But, then again, why not be critical of a piece of pop music, especially a track that intends to empower women but fails in anti-feminist and tacky lyricism, delivered largely to impress men? (Ah, the male gaze: “I ain’t gotta talk about it baby you can see it… No question that this girl’s a 10… daddy’s turned his head as soon as I pass him…”)
It reminds me of when Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” also operated under the guise that it was a ladies’ anthem, despite its largely addressing a male subject and only requesting the presence of ladies for a choral “amen.” It was more a torch song than a positive charge, but at least it didn’t accuse its listeners of being “jealous” or, worse, uglier than Keri Hilson.
No, this “Pretty Girl” is co-opted for a career is under the gun, and for an album hilariously and voyeuristically titled "No Boys Allowed." It drips of the desperation covered that every inch of patent leather covering Christina Aguilera's -- as Hilson calls it – derrière in “Not Myself Tonight.”
Judge not on the way Hilson “walks,” “talks” and “dresses,” check out these five bountiful lyric nuggets:
1. "Mad cause I’m cuter than the girl tha's with ya... You're beautiful"
That's like telling me my sweater's ugly then asking me where I bought it.
2. "Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful”
This line is rarely uttered in earnest, and for good reason. It’s typically for evil bullying high school girls in teen movies or by lazy television writers penning scripts for gay characters.
3. "Girls think I’m conceited 'cause I think I’m attractive... Get yourself together don’t hate / jealousy's the ugliest trait"
This is the only mention of beauty having an inner- variety.
4. “Boys wanna marry looking at my derri- / ère, you can stare but if you touch then im’a bury”
The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not indulge in pre-marital butt touch.
5. "Don’t worry about what I think -- why don’t you ask him?”
Now do the Pretty Girl Cock Block.
"It’s not meant to be a vain record. I want everybody to feel like they can do the ‘Pretty Girl Rock,’” Hilson explained in a recent Ustream sit-down. “It’s like the hairbrush in the mirror, 'Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful,' 'cause you are. Everybody is beautiful. I want everyone to be able to sing that record.”
The invitation in the vamp to “all my ladies” – purportedly, those with enough self-esteem to call themselves “pretty girls” -- certainly seems to be inviting, but under exclusionary conditions: that you’re not jealous of or “hate” on Keri Hilson specifically, that you do the “Rock” and that your looks are dude-approved.
Or, then again, who cares. Keep singing into the hairbrush.
Joey Burns would be the first to admit it was a tangent, but he tried explaining how his viewing the documentary “The Cove” and Tilda Swinton’s Italy-bound “I Am Love” precisely conveys the unique position his band Calexico is in. The word “possibilities” was bandied about. So was “imagination” and the concept of “paying it” or “moving it” forward as the rest of the industry – even the country – moves backward.
Swinton’s character in “Love,” for instance, undergoes “impossible reinvention. She had all these contradictions and expectations from her family, but all of a sudden there’s another existence that comes into view,” he says, adding a “you know what I mean? Once you do music for a while, you wanna see some growth. You recreate a sense of your own identity, that you can just take yourself out of the picture and say, ‘Where am I actually supposed to be right now?’”
Well, to put it in concrete terms, Calexico right now is finishing up opening for No. 1 album artists Arcade Fire on tour. The Tucson-based band is eyeing a Fall 2011 release for their next studio album. They’re currently giving away a live record – recorded in Nuremberg, Germany in 2009 – for free via CASH Music. Burns has produced and contributed songwriting to the new album “Nubes de Papel” from Depedro, the project of Calexico collaborator Jairo Zavala, out Oct. 26. He and the band have done the same for Spanish singer Amparo Sanchez, whose “Tuscon Habana” is out overseas “now-ish.”
[More after the jump...]
It’s a blistering time of reinvention for Burns, who feels after more than a dozen years with Calexico, there’s a fire burning under the band and all’s starting to boil. His “helping out” on Zavala and Sanchez’ records come a year-and-a-half after the windows were shuttered at Touch & Go/ Quarterstick, the distributor and label that has long licensed and released the Southwestern rockers’ efforts, including their last "Carried to Dust" (2008). Calexico is always shaking up its touring band lineup, setlist and performance -- for instance, recently playing a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" or the horns players jumping on stage with Arcade Fire as they tackle "Ocean of Noise."
All the while, the band continues to produce music for their own label in the constantly changing industry.
“We’re in the eye of the cycle, where we’re coming up with all these experiments and new ideas and new people to work with,” Burns continued, talking about the band’s reasons for releasing “Calexico: Live in Nuremberg.” “We just wanted to release something new right and we had this live album. Being independent… you can put out music more often, try these experiments. We can constantly morph our own identity, or make an identity more in-depth, behind an album or series.”
The current “experiment” in release schedule is free because, “let’s face it. Before you release anything, it will be out there for free. As an artist, you have to let go of it at an earlier stage. Fifteen years ago it was different. Today, if you think things are moving at a normal pace, you’re just kind of pretending.”
Burns cites other crossover acts that have managed to work outside of the “normal” record release cycle -- from Neko Case and Devotchka to Balkan Beat Box and Gotan Project – who, like Calexico, have earned a larger swatch of fans through various arms on the internet. Niche sounds gone global. Calexico has long mingled Latin influences with its particular brand of indie rock, Americana and country , which has been a choice not just in sonics but in sincerity.
“All those bands have distinctive purposes and crowds,” he says, “but it’s also allowing yourself and your music to be constantly available, and being honestly and sincerely contributing to a larger culture. Music fans know when you’re not and when you are.”
Just as is the moral in “I Am Love,” perhaps, Burns feels like he and the band’s acquired wisdom and love requires them to pay it forward, by evolving.
Does the producer and songwriter deserve to be a 'Billionaire,' or does he got 'Nothin?'
Katie Hasty Monday, Oct 4, 2010 6:30 PM
Critiquing Bruno Marsâ€™ solo debut â€œDoo-Wops and Hooligansâ€ isnâ€™t so much dissecting a finished, single product, but tackling the artist and his trajectory whole. The set is another example of throwing a whole batch of a priority artistâ€™s songs at the wall to see what sticks, with Katy Perryâ€™s uneven â€œTeenage Dreamâ€ from EMI being another example from this year.
Itâ€™s easy to pick out the strengths of the 24-year-old songwriter Mars -- whoâ€™s part of the Smeezingtonâ€™s production crew and who's frequented the Top 40 as a guest vocalist, co-writer and producer. His voice could halt traffic, rising and lilting on top notes with an almost feminine quality. He pushes that epic pop range of his, creating tension rather than discomfort. He knows when to hold the cheese and when to pile it on in the production effects, and the verses know to yield to the killer choruses, which seem to seep so easily from him.
But what seems to be lacking â€“ and what hopefully will come with his sophomore set â€“ is soul. I donâ€™t have much better idea of who Bruno Mars is and what kind of artist he wants to be, aside from filthy rich (as indicated in his co-write on Travie McCoyâ€™s â€œBillionaireâ€) and in love with love. Â
Take the opening one-two punch of second single and current single â€œGrenadeâ€ and â€œJust the Way You Are,â€ respectively. I had to do a double take to make sure I didnâ€™t have my music player on single-song repeat, despite the treacly minor chords on the former. Still, both contain the winning combination military beats over the same tempo, with serious-as-a-heartache lyrical content akin to his co-write on smash hit â€œNothin on Youâ€ by B.o.B.
On â€œRunaway Baby,â€ he has much more in common with Janelle Monae, and not just in haircut: he tries to cut his soul-pop with garage rock, leading to more head-cocking than applause. â€œThe Lazy Songâ€ is largely useless in advancing his Star Power, but at least it has a chorus perfectly fit to sell cotton products or baby shampoo or, well, Snuggies, since he actually name-drops the product-with-sleeves in the song.
Nothing else on the set sounds like sexy-time-jam â€œOur First Time,â€ which delves loosely into R&B, nor â€œTalking to the Moon,â€ a ballad with electric piano and dripping with tear-stained reverb that hearkens Justin Timberlake just after he stepped out from N*SYNC. (The latter track is a likely contender for another follow-up single, should â€œGrenadeâ€ refuse to explode.)
While thereâ€™s a breath of island influence all over the Hawaii-nativeâ€™s release, the Damian Marley-enhanced â€œLiquor Store Bluesâ€ tries embracing a full reggae style. It fails in that our loverboy tries to act all tough despite his high register, like heâ€™s trying to administer violence with cotton candy clutched in his hand. â€œCount on Meâ€ has those beach-bound bongos bounding behind a sandy-sweet tune from which McCoy would be better served stealing.
â€œThe Other Sideâ€ is a real treat, slipped onto the very end. Guest star and recent collaborator Cee-Lo is underutilized, but then again, the Goodie Mob rapper and crooner had his own hit with â€œF*ck You,â€ yet another hit track co-penned by Mars. B.o.B. has his own moment too, a reminder of yet another artist trying to tie pop with his own brand of urban- and dance-influenced singles.
This is a critical time moment for Mars, to see if the album can survive and thrive in the forthcoming holiday season as the singles are farmed out to radio. So far, heâ€™s succeeded in a No. 1 hit on his own and has a face fit for the next Grammys ceremony. But I could see him, too, sink as a solo artist like Pharrell â€“ who is sickly talented as producer and supporter but still struggles in sales as a performing artist.
Thankfully for Elektra/Atlantic, everything on â€œDoo-Wops and Hooligansâ€ sounds like a potential hit, whether itâ€™s â€œLazyâ€ in TV commercials, â€œMarry Youâ€ walking down the aisle or â€œJust the Way You Areâ€ on the dial. If he can show up live and stay out of trouble (best of luck in Las Vegas), Mars should be a star.
What do you think the clip is saying about violence in retort to violence?
Katie Hasty Friday, Oct 1, 2010 1:28 PM
Eminem's last clip, for "Love the Way You Lie," tried its best to explore the cyclical nature of domestic violence. Perhaps, unintentionally, his new music video for "No Love" does the same thing for bullying.
A young kid in school gets pushed around by the older, taller kids -- bumped over in the halls, beat up in the locker room, stuff dumped out on the floor. Kid shows up at home with a black eye, like, "meh." Dad's like, "Dude." Mom's like, "I can't believe you're just, like, 'dude.'" Kid muses his plight in his bedroom as he listens to Eminem's record, with the rapper and others' posters hung on his wall.
He's confronted again by the bullies, he punches one hard in the face. The bullies walk away, kid walks away. It's all very... triumphant?
On the one tip, it indicates that listening to Eminem will empower you to fight back. On the other tip, listening to Eminem encourages you to fight.
It's an ugly, backwards argument that goes way back even before those Parental Advisory stickers: does listening to aggressive music (or playing violent video games, etc.) make you violent? Furthermore, as posed by "No Love," is fighting back necessary sometimes? And will fighting back end the fighting once and for all? Mmm, sticky.
Meanwhile, aside from the dark-hued middle school drama, it's just Em and guest cohort Lil Wayne just throwing down raps, in front of a green screen and "in the studio" with producer Just Blaze, as the sample from Haddaway's "What Is Love" trickles throughout. They go on about how people disappoint them in their lives, one highlight being Weezy's boasts of metaphorical gun-toting as he non-metaphorically serves out his prison sentence for gun charges.
"No Love" officially goes to radio as the next single from Em's "Recovery" on Oct. 5.
What do you think of the video? Is it a good match for the song?
Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon really put house band The Roots to work last night as the pair tackled bits and bobs of hip-hop pop history.
The former was on Fallon's "Late Night" on NBC to promote "The Social Network," but we all know it was ample opportunity for both personalities to do some impressions -- of rappers from Sugarhill Gang and Digital Underground's Humpty Hump to Dre and Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott to Soulja Boy to T.I. and then, naturally, shining the bit off with Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
Timberlake may be taking a break from working on his music and -- largely -- the music of others to do this whole "acting" thing, but the breathlessness of this clip is a keen reminder: JT, we miss you and we want you back making future-sex-love-sounds. Fallon, who is not normally to my taste, actually managed to keep up, too.
"The thing that makes our show kind of different is that we embrace hip-hop. ... We're that generation where hip-hop is what we grew on," Fallon told the AP. "Everyone's so smiley and running around the office like very confident today, because everyone sees the blogs and gets the e-mails. It just puts everyone in a great mood."
What do you think of the bit? Who did they leave out?
Finally, a throw-down between the 'SNL' alum and his prey
Katie Hasty Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 2:00 PM
Jack Johnson has finally managed to get me to watch an entire music video of his.
"At or With Me" features a cameo from none other than "Saturday Night Live" alumni Andy Samberg, who, in the past, has poked major fun at the "mellow" singer-songwriter and his Hacky Sack-lovin' fans.
In the clip, Johnson and his band try to perform as Samberg proceeds to be That Guy, talking on his phone during the show, making fun of the group, telling stories loudly. His friends don sunglasses. Even I start feeling kind of punchy.
Then the two spar. And by spar, I mean punch the living sh*t out of each other, in the middle of the floor, out in the street, with bottles, with a fork, getting run-into by cars. They hug it out -- though that doesn't mean a certain someone gets the last laugh. Johnson and Samberg even do some of their own stunts.
Is it tasteful, attention-grabbing or just plain grabbing?
Katie Hasty Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 12:24 PM
Good morning! Seal and Heidi Klum got naked for a music video!
The husband and wife shot the black and white clip for the singer's "Secret," a track culled from his seventh full-length "Commitment," released Tuesday (Sept. 28). While no naughty bits are actually revealed, it does give an intimate look at maybe what keeps their seven-year marriage fresh.
Seal lip-syncs to his supermodel lady love from across the sheets, with some wowza shots into a mirror, some feeling up, a lot of kisses, fingers sliding across backs, little whispers and holy Moses is it still only noon?
With title like "Commitment," you'd be right to guess that it's an album of songs about just that.
Unexpected collaboration also samples Gil Scott-Heron plus: So that release date's not really firm?
Katie Hasty Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 5:09 PM
It's not even Friday but today we have the arrival of yet another new Kanye West track.
Earlier this summer, we reported that Bon Iver's Justin Vernon had joined forces with Ye on a "Woods"-sampling track, and "Lost in the World" is the result of that. The famed producer changes keys and ads a floor-bumping beat underneath the melancholy stack of auto-tuned vocals. Additionally, check the intense use of Gil Scott-Heron's spoken-word piece “Comment #1.”
(Not sure how or why the site got first dibs, considering it obnoxiously painted it's call all over the track, sounding like Bender from "Futurama." Sorry folks.)
Anyway, this is the same track that Kanye spat a cappella at the Rolling Stone and Facebook offices last month. Of the track, Vernon told Pitchfork, "So I head out [to Hawaii] and he plays me the track and it sounds exactly like how you want it to sound: forward moving, interesting, light-hearted, heavy-hearted, fucking incredible sounding jam. It was kind of bare so I added some choir-sounding stuff and then thicked out the samples with my voice." Then a little something about smoking joints with Rick Ross and "I'm just a dude in a t-shirt who smells like shit."
Lovely. Overall, it's a neat, sexy little track in three parts, with some good lines from Kanye, who in this writer's opinion has been hit or miss so far with all that's come out. I personally love the sneeze out of Bon Iver, so it's about time dude gets paid. Click here to hear the original of "Woods."
From the same guy who produced Green Day? You don't say
Katie Hasty Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 12:59 AM
Remember that episode of "South Park" where Cartman plots revenge and terror on the creators of the FOX show "Family Guy," only to discover the writing staff of the show is actually manatees pushing random "idea balls" together to form the show's jokes and themes?
"Na Na Na" seems to be a smattering of random, quasi-anti-establishment statements intermingled with rhyming phrases like "mall cop" and "jazz hands." The name Killjoys is in there too and, while I don't exactly know the Fabulous Killjoys' role in the greater context of the album, I'm going to start at least assuming this is a concept album and sleep better tonight.
My Chemical Romance is no stranger to concept sets, as 2006's solid "The Black Parade" will attest. But you know who else is well-versed in concept rock records? Producer Rob Cavallo, who helmed on "Black Parade" and on "Danger Days." You know who else Cavallo is famous for producing? Green Day.