2009: Out of sight, out of mind; 2010: eyes up, chin up, let’s get it in
Watch This Space: 2010 is looking too good for words. I want, you need, we deserve: art. It’s a renaissance. Hov is so clean, so dirty, so raw, so fierce, so stark, so stylistic. Last decade we saw facades, smoke, mirrors, bright colors, and flashing lights. Last decade, we saw where goldless glitter got us. When we tread a troubled track, our odds are stacked: we go back to black. Black is beautiful though. This is colourless color, the images pop off the screen with their crystal clarity. 2000-2009 was the decade of lost chances, not last chances. Pop music will never be low brow; it may have taken the backseat, but it’s locked and loaded riding shotgun now. The method and the message; the monsters and the madness; the chaos and the calm; the screams and the silence: it’s the post-apocalypse, and it’s time to catalyze the new creative class. They got a million ways to get it, choose one – Hov made it easy. Their blueprint has been displayed in black and white; get your paws out.
Thanks to Winstone over at The Couch Sessions I compiled my Top 5 songs/albums of 2009 (actually without Winston I wouldn’t have even considered the feat).
True Pop is self-contextualizing. My “best of” list reflects those works that built this year in pop culture, by reflecting the end of an era – of shallow celebrity veiled behind assumed artistry. Pop done right is cohesive, not fragmented, and neither are its masterpieces. Pop done right is an atmosphere – artists create their own world. Below are 2009 Pop best artists’ songs in relation to albums – not songs, or albums, and artists. My top 5 best reflect the year they dictated: 2009 – The Death of The Fame’s Fear.
“D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)”/The Blueprint 3 – Jay-Z
Hov on that new sxxt, like how come/ Want my old sxxt, buy my old album
Stuck on stupid, I gotta keep it moving/ Make the same sxxt, me I make the blueprint
“Bad Romance”/The Fame Monster – Lady GaGa
Got no direction, just got my vamp/ Take a bite of my bad girl meat, take a bite of me
Show me your teeth
“The Fear”/It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily Allen
I don’t know much, but I know this for certain/ And that is the sun poking its head round the curtain
Now please can we leave? I’d like to go to bed now/ It’s not just the sun that is hurting my head now
I’m not trying to say that I’m smelling of roses/ But when will we tire of putting sxxt up our noses
I don’t like staying up, staying up past the sunlight/ It’s meant to be fun and it just doesn’t feel right
“Colourless Colour”/La Roux – La Roux
My reflections are protections/ They will keep me from destruction
My directions are distractions/ When you’re ready, come into the light
“Man in the Mirror”/This is It – Michael Jackson
A willow deeply scarred/ Somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream/ They follow the pattern of the wind, you see
Cause they got to place to be/ That’s why I’m starting with me
Yes, please. MTV: proof that reality is the greatest canvas, and life is the greatest performance art. By reality, of course I mean “reality drama” and MTV’s “reality” which is anywhere a production crew happens to be, and by life I mean celebrity – because, really, who else’s life matters? The VMAs (as stated below) are the encapsulation of all things Generation MTV, all things pop. While the past few years saw the bubble burst and pop culture crumbled to a state of all style and no care for substance, 2009 was ripe for the renaissance of Pop Art and a Warholian world of blurred lines between reality and fantasy for entertainment’s sake. Let’s delve.
Jay-Z: A History — in 60 seconds
The first thing said was all that needed to be said: “Jay-Z fans get it.”
I could/should leave it at that, but I can’t. Music like that comes from Roc Nation — no doubt; but advertising like that, well, I must begrudgingly tip my hat to the corporate behemoth Live Nation — per usual brilliant integrated campaigns (creative, distribution, publishing, marketing, etc.). In 60 seconds, this commericial is a mini-epic overlaying all of Hov’s past albums over his latest track. Time seems to stop for longer than a moment with each album cover pose, but in the big scheme of things it is very indicative of “now:” no words, just visuals, a summary with little or no explanation, if you get it — like Jay-Z fans — you get it, if not — get it off Rhapsody, Hov killed Auto-tune but he is a product of what that technology represents. As he pays homage to his past — in a classic Jay-Z egocentric maneuver, laying out his own discography as the true history of all real rap, which to some extent he is — he does so in a way that fits the modern mold. He pares down whole albums to a snapshot, he turns a discography into photography, but it works.
Watch this space: The Black Album was Jay-Z’s highly touted retirement; three albums later Hov is rising again — in the wake of 9/11, after killing auto-tune, after encapsulating his past works, Shawn is coming back — but note that the 3rd Blueprint is the first cover without Mr. Carter’s face. Now, it’s about the music first. (Well, on the surface at least. Again, LiveNation is pushing Jay-Z’s face time hcore: commercials like this, press conferences, concerts, etc. Which work for Madonna and U2, but tis a bit different for Shawn “Renegade” Carter)
And you thought Usain Bolt ran hard
Call for Chris on line one: they’re saying to hold his applause and duck down, it’s the Roc Nation and Black is lookin’ to clap Brown — apparently the Dynasty runs this town
Watch this space: The Blueprint 3 — that is all