Posts Tagged ‘wegottoDObetter’

So, I read The Onion pretty regularly, and try to share some of its greatest hits as much as I can. There’s nothing quite like the crazy, farcical writing that’s their stock in trade. Today, as I chomped down on an unholy, salt-laden protein-fest that was supposed to be good for me, I came across:

Gentries explained that it “didn’t take long” to find out as much about the tenets of Islam as he needed to. He said he knew Muslims stoned their women for committing adultery, trained for terrorist attacks at fundamentalist madrassas, and believed in jihad, which Gentries described as the thing they used to justify killing infidels.



So, I resisted the urge to join the chorus of keystrokes reacting to Prince’s declaration that the internet is “over.” Whenever an artist makes such a statement, America –public and punditry alike — reverts to a childlike state of literalism, unable to imagine a meaning deeper than the very words on the page. It serves their overall purpose of mocking them as crotchety old men confused and frightened by the internet, unable to end the reign of Auto-Tune.

Forget the fact that Prince Rogers Nelson (or “the baddest motherfucker to slip on a pair of size 6 heels” to you) pioneered the practice of distributing music and connecting with fans via the web. Forget that he won a Webby for that shit. Forget that, at 5’2″ and in eyeliner, he’ll take your girl with a single raised eyebrow. Yeah, forget all that. He’s just an old geezer afraid of teh internetz.



Hi, Snoop. The name’s merq. Big fan.

Now seriously, dude. This is why I keep saying you should have retired in the late ’90s. You gave it a go, made your mark. You would’ve gone out with some dignity. Sure, we would’ve been deprived such gems as”Drop it Like It’s Hot”,  “Perfect”, “Special”, and the near-classic “Beautiful”. But one needs only look at the names of the latter three to get a glimpse of your diminished creativity.

“Beautiful”, “Perfect” and “Special” are essentially the same song. It just gets softer in percussion and rhythm with each reiteration — kinda like recording over the same audio tape over and over. (Remember those?)  Also suffering each time you dip back in that well is lyricism. Sample lyrics from “Special”:

I picture this love affair, of ours/ To last a lifetime, just like flowers…
See I ain’t never blow no cheese /Or done no songs like these/ I love the air that you breathe /You know why?

The problem is, of course, that you have done songs like these. Twice before. And “last a lifetime, just like flowers”?? C’mon, man! You know you didn’t write that shit. Your album advance, rhyming dictionary, and a bag of weed deserve that writing credit.

And while we’re on the subject of weed. Doesn’t it bother you that you’ve been reduced to the sleepy-eyed, “izzle”-ating Hip-Hop High Times poster boy? I understand and wholeheartedly support playing with your image, but you’ve gone from West-Coast Gangsta to Retro Gangster to Retro Pimp Pastiche played for laughs. It’s like you watched the “Doggy Dogg World” video sometime in 2001 and, noticing how many laughs it got from label folk, decided this would be you for the next ten years.

Dude, it’s not funny.

You used to be a talented rapper. You had relevance. Now, you’re like a black Shaggy who lets Scooby write his rhymes for him. Why does it have to be this way? I mean, on cuts like “…World” and “Sexual Eruption”, the whole shtick works because it is clearly a shtick. But being this buffoon 24/7? Dude, we deserve better. We clear?

Alright, now we’ve got that settled, I want you to promise me shit like this will never happen again, either.


Thanks, man.


That’s What I Said… In which I let someone else do the talking.

Late last night, I got the following spontaneous outburst from my friend DJ, At Law,

It’s All Gone to Hell

No, not because District of Columbia high school “students demand bigger, better condoms” to prevent the nation’s second-most endowed teen populace (and their partners) from HIV and unwanted pregnancy, but because you can sign up for alerts when reality shows are casting!

Are you a Norwegian oxen-handler who’s always wanted to be a supermodel?  A Christian Pole Dancer? (If you don’t believe me, google it.)  A federal judge with a penchant for pickled pig lips?  A Male-to-Female Post-Op Transsexual with a new-found eating disorder on account of your estrogen-enhanced thunder thighs and so-called “Junk in the Trunk?”  A Mormon convert from Judaism with different children raised in each faith residing under one roof during your menopause?  An 8-year-old pianist/genius akin to Mozart with an embarrassing Vicodin addiction and more embarrassing (in this day and age) speech impediment?  Basically, if your life is a mad lib, there is hope for you yet.  Hope of the 15-minute variety.

Anyway, because of my need to read extensively about any new habit acquired (so that I don’t lose sight of real reality (not “reality”)), I’m in the middle of this book now:

I’ve read about shows where parents send their pre-pubescent children away to be on reality TV away from home for 40 days and nights and sign away any liability resulting from death or sexually transmitted disease; shows where people are promised “fame” (not cash– “fame”) in exchange for subjecting themselves to solitary confinement for longer than any other contestant (and going mad in the process); where people agree to swim with “crocodiles” (who are in fact dummies but equally traumatize the contestants); where people submit their children to examination by one of these horrible child-stars-gone-terribly-wrong so that said now-fucked-up-adult can tell their kids how to become famous, and it is all considered fair play because every of-age participant is a willing participant.  People have committed suicide or been killed (see Jenny Jones) as a result.  “We” (i.e., the Neilson-ratings families) still don’t mind watching it.

Without fully getting into my horror at the amount of attention and focus given last night to as vapid a program as Lost (which was the subject of every group email I received today and which apparently brought people to tears last night but had them posting “that actually sucked” this morning– I can make no claim either way, as I only watched it when bed-ridden in 2008 after pretty serious abdominal surgery and duly turned it off once I could manage walking over to the TV), I will say I am again disappointed.  Every attempt to re-integrate myself into society is met with a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I spend most of my free time in self-imposed exile reading Mark Twain and waxing scholastic.  Frasier anyone?

This country went to hell ten years ago this summer. The problem is the average American no longer needs sunblock.

So, when I was younger, I listened exclusively to uptempo music. If it couldn’t be played at a club, I didn’t wanna hear it. But as I matured, my tastes kinda flipped, and 80% of what I really dig is mid- to downtempo.

I bring this up because even in my youthful folly, Jagged Edge were on a short list of artists who made ballads that didn’t bore me. They harmonized brilliantly, and could write the hell out of a ballad. Sure, they rewrote the same ballad like six times (“Walked Outta Heaven”, “Good Luck Charm”), but dammit, each one was brilliant. Plus, they knew how to switch things up every now and again — 2001’s Jagged Little Thrill is one of the most tragically underrated R&B albums of that decade. (more…)

Hands Tied – Toni Braxton – 2010
I heard this a month or two ago and I wasn’t impressed. Perhaps I was just distracted by the video — a pedestrian offering in which the smokin-hot Braxton (along with her relevance-chasing haircut) tries her hand at a number of female-video staples: the gentleman’s club performer (exemplified by this En Vogue classic), the “Classy Stripper,”  the moving Liebovitz portrait. She looks incredible, but it’s still a ho-hum affair.

So when the album finally got its release this past Tuesday, I figured I’d give it a shot. I recently discovered a soft spot for Toni B. It goes beyond my cliched support for the talented underdog. You see, for me, unless you’re Minnie Riperton or Mariah Carey, your high notes as a female vocalist really don’t impress me.  But if you’re able to go low, and do it right — like Braxton, Anita Baker, and Carey again (Shakira used to be on that list, but her freakish “AutoTune-Unplugged” voice has started grating on my nerves) — you have a special place in my heart.

Toni Braxton has never been someone I looked to for full-album satisfaction, so the fact that Pulse ain’t doin’ shit doesn’t particularly surprise me. Plus, I never got the impression she had full label backing, anyway. Still, no matter how abysmal it is as a cohesive entity, every album she’s put out has had some serious burners — from “Just Be A Man About It” to “Talking in His Sleep” to “Trippin'”

So as I browsed the album for halfway-decent shit worth a download, I realized “Hands Tied” is literally the strongest thing on there. It’s a smoldering, Oak-produced cut with a vocal performance reminiscent of her Babyface-assisted heyday, and a guitar-wail undercurrent that marries her “Trippin'” and Usher’s “You Got it Bad” to brilliant effect.

If the rest of the album had half as much kick, it wouldn’t have flatlined.




Aguilera’s new video premiered this morning. Seconds into it, it was clear: this is her answer to Lady Gaga The Dancing Costume‘s fame. Apparently, fans of both parties have been waging a knock-down, drag-out war for the past 3 years over Aguilera supposedly biting the style of a then-up-and-coming Costume while promoting her forgettable single “Gets No Better”* a while back. I can’t say for sure that she jacked specific elements from Costume for this video, but it’s clear: since the one-two punch that was Rihanna and Gaga, we’ve seen an avalanche of pseudo-edge engulf the music biz. Poor Kelis — she’s been doing it for a decade, but nobody gave a shit.
*(or something like that — I couldn’t be bothered to look that shit up) (more…)