Arriving ahead of 'Random Access Memories'
The recently posted video interviews with Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" collaborators have pointed to a humanism in the machines. "Get Lucky," the first single to arrive from Daft Punk's album encapsulates that idea. And it is awesome.
Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers' funky, pristine guitar line is as much the heartbeat as the disco-clap of the beat. Pharrell's sweet voice has a little desperation and love in the pre-chorus, batting above average than any song that's far more explicit in what constitutes "getting lucky." I don't find his vocals extraordinary, but I do find it slipping slinkily into this mix. The voice box tone intermingling with the similar synths playfully makes the programmed elements seem interchangeable with its most organic. And vice versa. Good times, and welcome back.
'I Want You' and 'Make Love to Me': WE GET THE IDEA
Song arrives from heavy band's first album in 35 years
It's been a heavy week. So get heavy.
Black Sabbath have about nine minutes of heavy in their brand new song "God Is Dead?" which is as dark as a song called "God Is Dead?" should sound.
And speaking of things that should sound a certain way, this is actually pretty decent. For anyone's whose body sort of tenses up whenever Ozzy's opened his mouth recently, this is a good competent (and comped) take, and producer Rick Rubin didn't end up ironing out all the imperfections, either. That watery, churning doom metal ache is there, three of the four original members are there (with Rage's Brad Wilk filling Bill Ward's shoes), and there's a series of guitar riffs I don't hate.
And it's first a question, "is God dead?", then a statement "God is dead" and ends with its ultimate title. Deep, man. The annoying "I HEART RADIO" promo will only serve to keep your mind from HELL.
"God Is Dead?" is the first song to arrive from Sabbath's new reunion record, lucky number "13," out on June 11. It's their first as a band in 35 years. They're going to make some spot tour stops in the U.S., dates below the clip.
Anthony Gonzalez should try, try again, though
I came out of "Oblivion" thoroughly entertained, though I think the film had a lot of flaws. It's the magical in-between of not flat-out disliking the movie, but feeling like my general values in plot and character were compromised for the sake of indulging in something lavishly beautiful. I wanted a plot, or a core, and it ended up being a film that felt only vaguely human and incredibly staged.
That's might also be the way I'd describe how I felt about Anthony Gonzalez and Joe Trapanese's score for "Oblivion," with partial credit going to Gonzalez' performing name M83. The estimated budget for "Oblivion" was $120 million, so you'd expect a musical backing just as big. But big doesn't have to mean bludgeoning, even if it's a clobbering in mystical, iPod-white, bleating drums and slick, metered electronica.
This is not to say M83's trademark is nuance and the movie didn't any room for any. I'm partial to Gonzalez' ability to heighten the mundane. I think Trapanese's work with Daft Punk on Joseph Kosinski's other recent sci-fi powerhouse "Tron Legacy" actually took that dance duo's strengths and made them into something specifically Hollywood, and in that case I liked it. And "Oblivion" had many opportunities to have a cool-headed, surgical moments with their thoughts, like when Tom Cruise's Jack gazed out at the Earth's altered landscape beside a potted plant, or when Andrea Riseborough's Victoria indulges in romantic, pool-bound foreplay, or when Jack prepares to meet his enemy.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Gonzalez revealed that the end-result was "frustrating," becoming a cooks-and-kitchen problem.
"They needed something bigger, more orchestral; it was hard for me to be told that my music was too indie for the film. I was pissed most of the time, but this is how it works. It's like, 'Take it or leave it.' And I took it," Gonzalez told the site.
The scale of the film, it seems, interfered with what M83 naturally does, which made it a little curious why Universal would tap him in the first place (the reach of M83's "Midnight City" makes this less curious: youth vote). Like Daft Punk, he hadn't extensive experience with arranging orchestras. The finished product didn't sound refreshingly updated on his sound, but more like a mash of Hans Zimmer's "Inception," "Tron" and even Don Davis' "Matrix" scores, films themselves that add to "Oblivion's" problems with redundancy. Maybe not a problem for an over-the-top script and exponentially outstanding visual effects, except that I hear no personality from Gonzalez and Trapanese combined.
Clint Mansell found this balance of organic orchestral scale and electronic sensuality with "Pi" and, ahem, "Moon." Air worked their wares perfectly with "Virgin Suicides," and Chemical Brothers in terrifically buoyant "Hanna." Thing is, these were made for a fraction of a $120 million budgets.
"I'm stressed out because I know people are going to hate the soundtrack so much because it's different," he continued. (Yeah, but different from what?) "People are going to expect a new album from M83, and that's not the case. But, I'm also super proud of it because Joe Trapanese and I worked so hard on it to make everybody happy at the studio."
And that's the hitch: as M83, he plays for himself, he plays for his fans. For $120 million budget movie, his audience is the studio. Or at least that's how it sounds, when you take all the damn reverb off and turn the choir down and give the horns section a break.
Gonzalez will get another shot, and play with scale again: he's scoring a small French film for his older brother next. Hopefully that will suit him better.
Wu meets weak MCs for a villainous re-entry
Irony included, De La Soul sampled Wu-Tang Clan's "Intro" to reintroduce themselves to the masses on new song "Get Away." As previously reported, it's the first time since 2004 that Kelvin Mercer (aka Posdnuos), David "Dave" Jolicoeur (aka Trugoy) and Vincent "Maseo" Mason all showed up in the same place at the same time to making an album, marking this tune a bonafide turn at a comeback.
The legendary hip-hop trio get dark on this “Get Away (feat. the Spirit of the Wu),” a good-will return to music-making in an uncharacteristic villainous tone. As the crew's DJ says, it takes square aim at today's watered-down MCs.
Second Drizzy song in less than 24 hours
Muse these titles: "No New Friends." "Suffering From Success." It's the Young Money (and MMG) love-in, sponsored by Drake's fixation on success and sadness.
"No New Friends" is a new track from Drizzy, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and DJ Khaled, off of the latter's forthcoming "Suffering From Success." In it, the rappers extol their "day one" pals for helping them up to their current acclaim. Originally a "Started from the Bottom" remix, it's most prominent feature is Drake reporting on the fact these guys have no capacity for "fake" friends.
Drake quoth his own "Started from the Bottom" in his starting verse, despite the fact that song's still no good (and still makes no sense); but the chorus to this one's much easier to stomach, and Weezy even manages one slick pun ("They throw dirt on my name, well that's why they still dig me." Oh haha, OK dad).
Notably, this is Drake's second song in 24 hours, arriving around the same time his "Girls Love Beyonce," a lonely little number about looking for love... and disrespect of women?
Band's first album in four years puts you on a train, sends you to mars and wears you out
Karen O has a history of the most daring fashions when she takes the stage with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s hard to say if they’re costumes, or part of a larger persona, or if it’s simply what she wore to the grocery right before sound check. But what she wears she doesn’t merely don, she takes up and owns.
... In advance of Amex Unstaged
Steve Buscemi wants to be in a band. Specifically Vampire Weekend only to, y'know, help them reach a broader audience.
The actor/director will be helming Vampire Weekend's Amex Unstaged concert, webcast live on April 28 at 9 p.m. EST. In a promo clip for the show, it is revealed that Buscemi and VW's Chris Baio are distantly related, and it's a riff on that: how would a weird act and behave toward somebody that they're supposedly blood-relative to?
Also: what a jerk
The music video for Psy's "Gentleman" dropped over the weekend, and within 24 hours broke the record for most-viewed in a day, with 22 million people queuing the clip up. At press time, at about 48 hours, the video is now up and over 62 million views. The previous one-day high was held by Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," with a comparably small five million.
"Gentleman" went up for sale on iTunes on Friday in the U.S., and Psy performed the song live in Seoul in concert, which was simultaneously telecast early Saturday morning here in the U.S. He busted out his new moves from the video, which has some similar stomping and left-right movements from his breakout "Gangnam Style." Oh, and a slight crotch grab.
India bound or only Indian in sound?
Rising from a beaded, glimmering backdrop was Selena Gomez at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night, performing "Come & Get It" live for the very first time on TV.
The pop singer was flanked by dancers as she worked her way through some Indian-influenced moves, the tabla drums of the track leading the charge. And if that inspiration wasn't apparent enough, the stunning singer also wore a bindi on her forehead (reminding all fans of a certain age that Gwen Stefani tried that look before).
Bare feet, the season's transparent fabrics shredded into fringed dresses, the twirling wrists, gold jewelry and Bollywood flair... there's something that feels a bit off when there didn't appear to be any actual Indian performers, though there were several dancers of color. (Gomez herself is Latina.) The full-throttle appropriation felt especially off-kilter as Gomez struggled through her vocals and the moves didn't seem to be at all in unison. She was a little breathless at the end, as I'm sure some audience members were too, maybe for a different reason...