Lyrically Speaking: Lily Allen – “Kabul Sxxt”

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Good music speaks volumes… rather than impose analysis, step back and expose linguistic artistry… why critique that which has achieved perfection at its own masterful conception… listen, look, and linger in fantastic rhythmic reality: lyrically speaking

 

There’s a hole in our logic
There’s a hole in the sky
And one day just like magic
We’re all going to die
‘Cause we didn’t turn the lights off
And we didn’t take the bus
Even though we know we should have
Oh, silly old us

The Vaultt: Punch Drunk Post-Valentine’s Daylist Playlist

Soundtrek

Punch-drunk love hangover courtesy of the most rosy-cheeked forever-juvenile heartthrob this side of Justin Bieber got your Tuesday on pause? Well, that’s what the Valentines’s Daylist vault is for – the cause and cure… sit back, bask in the afterglow of el dia de los enamorados… A quick and dirty list lingering on the fringe of lunacy and true love – enjoi…

Oh love. Timelining through Cupid, St. Valentine, Aphrodite — her son Hermaphrodite — Cyrano de Bergerac, van Gogh,  John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ike and Tina, the list. goes. on. For love to be so romanticized, it is quite a trying ordeal. On this most noted of all days dedicated to love, I’ve decided to venture down the road far less desired, but far more traveled. This path of great resistance may be long and arduous, but it makes for quite the soundtrack. It’s baneful. It’s adulterous at times. It’s abasing. It’s abstract and all-consuming. It’s fleeting. But, inevitably, it’s love. So for what it’s worth: enjoi.

Beautiful, Dirty, Wi-Fi: YouTube/MySpace Celebrity Playlist

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The YouTube/MySpace Star of the 2000s: ringtone rappers, polyphonic popsters, internet indie rockers, and hard-driven hipsters… you basement dwelling vlogophiles are the most beautiful dirty richest of all.

We do the dance right; we have got it made like ice cream topped with honey – but we got no money…

You do the dance right (to the bank), you’ve got it made like ice cream topped with honey (or just iced-out chains), but you got no money (debatable). To the handful of you who are making something out of nothing and generating wealth riches from webcam stardom: kudos – this playlist is for you

Soulja Boy – Superman that HEAUX OH! (The “Won’t Someone Please Think of The Children?!” Remix)

Dime Digest: Music Monday – July 12, 2010

Soundtrek

I left you all with a drought, and so now: a Music Monday deluge. The sirens crafted a playlist of divine proportions today, one so glorious I couldn’t possibly keep it to myself. Truth is stranger than fiction, and mythology makes for reality’s greatest musings… Art is expressed reaction to good and evil; Pandora: the curious curator of this gallery we call life – and the best thing to happen to music in a long time… ah, the wonderful world of playlistism #ohletsdoit

The Fugees – Ready or Not

Jay-Z – D’Evils

Lady GaGa – Just Dance (Red One Remix) ft. Kardinal Offishall

Union Jacked: BRITs 2010 de-brief and recap

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

Oh the brilliant BRIT Awards (says the Yankee). If the Brits taught us one thing: it’s to guard your crown jewels; meanwhile, Stateside the Grammys traded them off for glitter, while the AMAs cut off their nose to save face. Thank the Queen, Britain – in all its splendid isolation – provided a safe haven for our native island of creative misfits. With the veneer of the VMAs, the critical cred of the Grammys, and the je ne sais quais (read: accent) of Russell Brand – the BRITs are it… innit?

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Music Monday Melange: February 1, 2009

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Post-Grammy “What I’m Digging That They Didn’t” Playlist – aka “Welcome to Hipster Heartbreak”

Today we’ve got some monsters, some mavens, some Basement Jaxx, some MGMT, some “Kids,” some Cudi, some Jeezy, some Common, some Lily, and some of her womanizing problems…

Has anybody seen my disco stick?

So, LoveGame… doesn’t play

Its remixes though… go harder than Baltimore: dig it, dug it, done

Top 5 of 2009: Songs/Albums

Soundtrek

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

“I am a neo-luddite, goodbye.”

Soundtrek

Lily Allen’s heretofore final tweet

lralast

is beginning to look like a great recap of 2009. Neo-luddism is finding a renaissance from Lily’s anti-piracy crusade, to Jay-Z’s all black everything’s anti-autotune coup. As they say, “as above so below…”

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Watch this space: as the year draws to a close, it is looking more and more like the end of one era — you know, now that Woodstock, Sesame Street, and the Gap, like Jay-Z, are on their 40th run around the calendar and on their way over the hill — on the brink of the next cultural and generational frontier. Just as quickly as technology dictated the past decade — how we communicate, how we connect, with whom we connect at such immediate frequency, the vast archives of information at our fingertips, the juxtapositional ease in providing and prohibiting the flow of said information, our increased familiarity and understanding of people/places/societies until now foreign to us, our ability to create new and innovative forms of art/music/expression/science/medicine — its inundation and our dependence/preoccupation on this new media turned this miracle medium into a detriment to authenticity and basic human interaction. Now we are seeing a backlash: from the banning of Twitter in various settings, to the FCC’s blogger-centric regulatory proposals, to the general view of social media as a somewhat narcissistic, basically superficial, means of recreation; not considering that social media is a medium merely a channel that transfers content. While the medium is amazing, and is a message in its own right, Twitter for instance is a throughway for human ideas and their exchange. Just like magazines, television, offer entertainment-based programs, just as there are public broadcast, news, scientific, etc. stations, so Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr offer entertainment, news-oriented, etc. content and conversation — Twitter the medium, the tweet remains the human message. That said, we are seeing a digital coup de etat from the top down. It’s about balance and perspective, take the Mac/PC/Web 2.0 enigma off the pedestal, integrate it into culture, instead of fragment and treat it as a separate entity (a la “The Social Media” as opposed to the media — like print, like broadcast, etc.) and it won’t be a problem. This should be interesting to see how the neo-neo-luddites impact the coming year.

Watch that space: Truth is truth. At the end of the day, technology is only as powerful, useful, significant, and effective as we make it — we are the authentic soul behind the artificially intelligent cold. Drummers are born with that spirit; because, well, it’s hard to have a drum machine keep the heart of the beat.

Music Monday: Lily Allen’s Anti-Piracy Crusade

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So, Lily Allen –– yes, that Lily Allen –– is back on the soapbox again. Ever the donna of the digital domain, Ms. Allen hit up MySpace, Twitter, and even created a blog to bring attention to a cause that is of paramount importance to her, her country, and the world –– music piracy.

Now more than ever, in the midst of Kanye-Swiftgate, we’ve got to look at the big picture. The pop spectacle is all fun and games, until you realize that people aren’t joking. The devil is in the details –– literally. Where Kanye’s blip-on-the-radar-screen “outburst” (still baffled by the media’s word choice on that one)  shifted focus from national priorities like, oh, I don’t know, healthcare reform, to a week of punchlines –– no, wait, imma let you finish –– Lily’s most recent tirade is overshadowing other worthwhile crusades. Lily of all people should know this, but I digress. The devil is in the fact that people’s attention is diverted by the details, the effects –– the award show antics, the anti-filesharing rants, Joe Wilson’s debatably racist remark –– and not on the big picture, or the causes –– media hyping pop culture to the point of perception as reality, the future of business and namely the music industry in the face of technological innovation, racism in American politics and society (furthermore, the focus on isolated racist comments, versus the institutionalized racism/prejudice of over 35 million people without healthcare).

That said, I’m not going to focus on the issue of music piracy in and of itself –– whether it’s right, wrong, inevitable, etc. –– but rather, the issue of music piracy’s priority within the bigger scheme of social progress, government involvement, and the always important “so what” factor. So, beyond the legal implications (intellectual property/copyright law, Napster and Betamax cases, Creative Commons, debate between prioritizing creative/commercial artistic value, etc.) I’ll keep my two cents short:

Unforgettable, Vol. 2: Lily Allen – My Second Mixtape

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Fresh off the heels of her brilliant My First Mixtape, Lily Allen released the appropriately-titled follow-up, My Second Mixtape. Compared to MFM, MSM is darker, heavier, more urban, more chaotic – like Day & Night. It’s unforgettable because from the mindset of a young artist facing the sophomore slump – an artist fed up with the scene, coming down from the freshman high, in search of a definitive, unique voice and place — comes the musical mosaic of an artist on the brink of senior status.

Whereas MFM was a UK millennial girl’s devil-may-care-but-i-care-greatly look at her persona in relation to music – all of it – MSM delves deeper to the core of her person in the midst of modern music. Like MFM, MSM has an infectious sound; it is a smattering of drum n bass, r&b, rap, psychedelic, etc. There’s dozens of themes and messages hidden within the lyrics, titles, and beats – again, Lily requires dissertations not reviews – but beyond the complexities is the simple fact that everything this girl produces, makes sense. More importantly, everything she produces makes sense of everything of which she is a product.

Unforgettable, Vol. 1: Lily Allen – My First Mixtape

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

Lily-Allen-007

Good Morning. What’s so special about Saturday morning? Depends on whether the Friday night before it was memorably forgotten… Art is said to imitate life, but it is an amazing moment when the imitation collapses in the presence of life as art. Much like that one strikingly familiar stranger from an otherwise forgettable Friday night, Lily Allen is that one perfectly imperfect artist – person – in an otherwise forgettable genre of overproduced pop avatars – personas. Her understated introduction to the world, My First Mixtape, was that Saturday morning wake up from the flashy Friday night of .com 40 puffery. Fear not: all isn’t lost in the MySpace generation; for the ten thousand avastars, there is Lily Allen: the reason, that just so happens to rhyme with silly. So, allow me to reintroduce herself…

My First Mixtape is a taste of why Rolling Stone said,” Lily Allen is not just a pop star. She’s a genre.” Vis a vis, Allen’s albums don’t call for reviews; they call for deconstructions.

It’s Not Me, It’s Dr. Rosen Rosen

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Dr. Rosen Rosen took Lily Allen’s It’s Not Me, It’s You and remixed it – he turned the tables on lyrical Lily as if to say “Maybe it is me, but let’s see what would happen if it was all you.” Rosen Rosen remixed the INMIY album by going further into the sentiment behind the substance and building an entire atmosphere from the lyrical face value. Anyone who halfway knows Allen’s music knows she lives in the subtextual world of Simpson-esque milk dud reflections on modern culture — however, this is the result when INMIY dwells on the lines themselves, as opposed to in between:

Lily Allen went more electronic and less ska, a bit darker and less light, for INMIY so she could land later gigs at concerts (because seriously, it’s hard to convey the sunny side of “LDN” at midnight); Dr. Rosen Rosen took that idea and ran with it. If the original INMIY is nighttime festival gigs, then consider It’s Not Me It’s Dr. Rosen Rosen your nightcap — it’s the stuff of which dreams (or nightmares) are made.

Lily Allen went to a hypnotherapist to get trim – a bit of image rehab; Dr. Rosen Rosen used hypnotherapuetic production to flesh out INMIY – a bit of sonic revamping. INMIDRR‘s heavy chill-out focus manifests the original album’s tongue-and-cheek dichotomies into a trance-like, catatonic delve into Lily’s literal lyrical psyche. Rosen Rosen plays doctor on INMIDRR, lulling INMIY into its most basic state and in doing so adds the beat-backed depth that digs deeper into – as opposed to deflecting from – the core message.

Prime example:

Dr. Rosen Rosen takes “Fxxk You” to the battlefield; it becomes a battle march – he expands the vibe of the lyric “you say you want to go to war well you’re already in one” to the whole track. On the heels of the Bush Administration, in light of the British National Party’s recent parliamentary ascent, and in the midst of social, political, cultural, religious, and militaristic wars on terror, terra, apathy, zealousness, and everything in between, “F*ck You” – the battle cry – makes sense of change.

SPIN Magazine hit the nail on the head when they said “‘introspective’ may not be the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Lily Allen,” but after hearing INMIDRR, introspection might be just what the doctor ordered. Lily’s appeal is her ability to wordplay the proverbial fence and hide sincere social commentary behind sarcasm – juxtaposing substantial lyrical content with stylistic bubblegum/ska/electro-pop beats. Allen excels at being socio-politically conscious while simultaneously coolly detached. However you take her music is none of her affair, it’s yours. In Dr. Rosen Rosen’s world though, it isn’t us that matters – it’s Lily. Allen’s literal and figurative voice is her greatest asset, Dr. Rosen Rosen’s merger of the two is exactly what he ordered. All he did was elaborate on the vocal harmonies and melodies that were already there – beautifully, of course. Dr. Rosen Rosen created a complete album that takes Allen’s lyrics as seriously as her beats never quite seem to. Kudos, sir.

lilyanddocweb

Watch this space: Trust Rosen Rosen — he’s a doctor.

She’s got an alright job, but it’s not a career

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In this economy any job is an alright job, and Lily Allen is doing a pretty much amazing job of keeping her resume alright, still. Her latest single, slated for an August release, is “22.” The Fiona Apple-esque ditty is a snapshot — rather, a requiem — of a modern teen/twenty-something girl/woman on the brink of adulthood/precipice of their social peak (if it’s that convoluted to explain, I can only imagine how daunting the day-to-day must be for those girls … oh wait I don’t have to imagine, I do live that day-to-day — I am one of those girls).

Silver lining … anyone? I can wait — seeing as my life is “already over” — sad, but true — que triste, pero que sera.

Atmospheric video with a solid concept: I approve.

Watch this space: If only because this was the first song I heard to ring in my 22nd birthday/college graduation, and misery loves company — if we happen to cross paths, feel free to sit on the dock of the bay with this 22 year old soon-to-be-spinster-cat-lady. Oh that Lily: always pushing kids to “Dream Big!”

Re-Branding America: “It must be the shoes!”

TK:LA

When I grow up I want to be famous, I want to be a star, I want to be in shoe-vies

Nicole knows that just because California is broke, her ankles don’t have to be. Hopefully more stars on and off the court will take heed

Broke ankles are the leading cause of being broke for young stars. Dancers are equally prone to broke ankles as ballers — just ask MC Hammer, who wasn’t aware of the ankle insurance package when he shuffled his parachute pants into bankruptcy. You don’t even have to be “on your feet” to be afflicted though, ask Lindsay Lohan. Her Ferragamos just weren’t enough support on that fateful Summer’s eve of evasive driving; broke ankles, broke people.

Still not convinced? Fair enough. One final note though: broke ankles break people, and they break their dreams — anywhere, any time. Even aimless wanderers are susceptible: en route from one bar to the next pub, or public phone — I don’t judge — and bam! Snap, crackle, pop goes the ankles. What starts as a simple lack of proper shoe support and stability

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becomes

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was it Fielder-Civil; or was it the shoes?

Broke ankles. Broke people.

But it doesn’t have to end it tragedy, just look at Mr. West. With ankle insurance like his, no wonder they call him Mr. By-his-self-he-so-impressed — him and these fine fellows

And ladies, don’t let dresses get in the way of security. What is the only thing these three had missing when they got out of the car (other than their knickers):

26699820---paris lindsay and britney

ankle insurance. Heels + dress + car insures nothing — except a tabloid scandal. Luckily, dresses are covered in the insurance plan.

Watch this space: From style to safety — whether showstoppin’ or ankle poppin’ — look no further than your feet, because it always comes down to the shoes — literally.

The Gold Post: 100 Kept

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Finally, the century mark. It’s times like this when you recap to the beginning and where it all began. So: a playlist paying tribute to where it always begins — home. (Actually, I stumbled across “City is Mine,” and decided to put together a city playlist. It just so happened to be The Dime’s 100th post, and all the cities are hometowns — thus the easy spin about where it begins.) Either way, enjoi

Starting at the top of the map with an ode to our Neighbors to the North — compliments of their most hyped export since Jimmy Brooks

MdM: May Sera, Sera

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Indie alter-ego post from the Motel

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Music imitates life: the riches works are those with subtle progressions, elevating you to the finale without losing the foundation.

Playlist/Link

mdmmslow

Ello again motel dwellers. I’ve been away for awhile, balancing on the proverbial precipice – graduating and celebrating the climactic-in-its-own-way 22nd birthday. Now I’m back – to basics. There’s no definitive theme here, just a quick list of what this May Baby hears when her month in ’09 comes to mind.

Sidenote: Y’know, you try to build a decent list – then Johnny Law and Lily come through, and the result is removal “by request.” “I thought this was America people,” where’s the intellectual property focus on the public interest – digress. Copyright law is about individual profit from original works so I’ll bow out of this debate.

For the sake of a complete list though …

 

Playlist:

The Mars Volta – “Tira Me A Las Aranas” (De-Loused in the Comatorium, 2003)

Daedelus – “Soulful of Child” (Invention, 2002)

Radiohead – “15 Step” (In Rainbows, 2007)

Björk – “In the Musicals” (Selmasongs, 2002)

AIR – “Cherry Blossom Girl” (Talkie Walkie, 2004)

Lily Allen – “Why” (Not Fair – Single, Vinyl; 2009)

Distriction: Memorial Day ’09 Mix

Soundtrek

Quick and dirty lunchtime/BBQ mix for the holiday. Literal mix of older, new-ish, pop, hip-hop, this and that. It’s a general smattering: a bit random, not particularly thematic, but a universally decent mix for a mid-day holiday meal.

Start off mellow for the swelter. Pre-interlude: less local, a bit bossa nova and ska over funk, try it on for size …

Music Monday: Recap BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend

Soundtrek

Sun shining, birds chirping, bees buzzing, squirrels scampering about, further nature-centric noun-verb tandems … means one thing: summer music festival season. I haven’t skipped across the pond in a bit, so what better time than now to check in on how our neighbors across the Atlantic are faring these days …

Swindon hosted this year’s BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend on May 9th and 10th. Here’s this year’s tandem, and a recap of last year’s troupe … featuring some mighty familiar faces from this year’s show and last:

2009’s reigning royalty

Sir Dizzee, with the help of Calvin Harris

and his Lady Fair

Distriction: Metro Mix May 13

Soundtrek

In the midst of a massive blogger’s block. When in doubt: recap. So here’s a quick commuter’s playlist a la whatever the iPod shuffled up — with a twist.

I’ll go with the first song shuffle picked and do a six degrees of separation to muster a Metro Mix … I don’t know. Let’s just see what comes up.

On the Circulator headed to Gallery Place and the first track was …

Fiona Apple – To Your Love

The Re-Branding of America: Swine Flu, Souter, Spiderwebs, Scratches, Game Sevens – The Week in ‘S’

Soundtrek

Quick in-and-out recap post. The only thing more prevalent this week than the Swine Flu was the letter S …

Starting with — as it was primarily due to — the Swine flu

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and followed up by what is actually afflicting half of the reported cases: Sinuses

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You Can’t Bea Serious

Soundtrek

So last week was chock full of goodness … but alas, life isn’t conducive to blogging right now. Didn’t get a chance to blog a recap of the week but you can’t spell blog without the letter b and that letter is a halfway-homonym to Bea … Bea Arthur. Long story short, I had to post a blog for Bea.

Brief makeup for lost time:

I didn’t post on April 20 so …

Belated Happy Birthday to the freshest: Edie Sedgwick

… who shares quite a bit with the recreation celebrated on the same day, but not much more than a birthday — and an undeniable charisma — with the extremist mind behind Mein Kampf

Belated welcome to the Taurean time of year, and those whose birthdays fall within that most brilliant season — we’re kind of a big deal.

Belated “Two thumbs fresh” kudos to Lily Allen for a brilliant show at Roseland …

though it’s apparent she doesn’t need my validation

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It’s amazing what two years and tenacity will do to your fanbase: from Webster Hall and highschool kids, to Roseland and high profile industry people (oddly enough making up for the bulk of non-dancing attendees who congregated around my nook); Even more amazing is what two weeks and a Twitter will do to your fan club — of haters …

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Keep in mind … that was just last Monday — and not even the half of it. Moving on though, I didn’t post on Spring coming to DC; or my having to drop her off at National because Summer decided to catch an early flight in — six to eight weeks early. Again though, I doubt anyone in DC — or on the Eastern Seaboard — needed the heads up about the heat, at least not these kids …

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I don’t know if the little girl’s chagrin is over the sun or swine flu — but either way she is feeling the struggle of life.

That said, I didn’t post on the litany of massive events this past week … but I had to post on Bea. We lost a great one …

she got it from her momma …

Estelle and Bea; Sophia and Dorothy. Epic.

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That’s all for now. So beat. In the interest of time — and sanity — I’m going to clog and tumble my thoughts for a bit, until I get a chance to breathe and blog. Ciao kids.

Distriction: LDN meets DC at 930

Soundtrek, TK:DC

Missed out on the Circus, but still want to see a fly Brit? Lucky you, DC …

Rhymes with Silly‘ Allen is in town for her sold-out performance tonight at the 930 Club

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Her shows sell-out so she doesn’t have to

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In related news: We can’t say the same for Hot97 and Cipha

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drakecipha

Drake aka “Don’t Call Me Jimmy” —

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Watch this space: Music makes the people come together — the bourgoise and the rebel

Salt Lake City Scavenger Hunt

TK:LA

And a-gain. This time: tweet-for-tix

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So the Lil one is at it again with the Tweets.

For her U.S. Tour, Lily Allen hosts a treasure hunt at each stop the day of the show via Twitter. A few hours before showtime Lily hides tickets to her gig at various places in each city. She tweets clues about the hiding spot

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and waits for the lucky — or logical — follower to “show them what they’ve won!”

Another unparalleled use of the Tweet Machine, count it — it’s twitterific.

watch this space: i told you so. digital pr, i’m telling you: watch this one.

The British Sublet: Stem Cell Bans and Bands Selling Stems

Soundtrek, TK:DC

Again with the British-American tandem … Spring theme-du-jour: stems. While an American politician lifts the federal funding ban on stem cell research — to build a legion of South Park-esque Supermen no doubt — a British pop powerhouse builds a legion of super-producers. Thanks to stems you can be a superhero and a super producer … all in one!

On our coast this weekend, Barack Obama planned a much needed lift on the stem-cell research federal funding ban — per Peter Griffin’s inquiry of “Why aren’t we funding this?!” no doubt.


On the other side of the pond, lil’ Miss Lily Rose lifted the Oz/ProTools curtain and tucked an 80-track surprise in each hard copy and iTunes version of her album “It’s Not Me It’s You.” Anyone who uploads their legal copy of the album gets each track stem from the release.

I finally mustered up the civility to get my hands on a hard copy of INMIY – solely because of the stems – and it was worth every penny. Now, I’m finding it hard to break away from remixing Everyone’s At It, revamping the drums on Chinese, or seeing how Back to the Start would sound if I dropped the vocoder. But the fun doesn’t end with vanity listening sessions amongst you and your closest pal, remixers are encouraged to upload their exclusives for peer and label review … so get on the 1s & 2s, start scratching away, and you’ll be a Hollywood Kid in no time!

Stems are this girl’s new best friend.

Oh, and it’s not a British Invasion this time … it’s more of a sublet until things get back to normal

Watch this space

The Re-Branding of Pop Music: The Lily Prototype

TK:DC

Chris Abraham’s sage advice on PR in the digital age prompted one key question: What is the prototype/blueprint for Digital PR? Essentially, who is doing it right and how are they getting it done? As a Public Comm/Sociology student and a twenty-something “Millennial” I would say Lily Allen, hands down. As the Wordsworth of the MySpace Generation, Lily is the very voice of the tomorrow’s Power 150 — today!


Lily Allen is a digital phenomenon. She propelled herself into a full-fledged entertainment career simply by utilizing the low risk/high reward method of uploading rough demo tracks on MySpace. After millions of listens, Allen was signed to Parlophone Records and so began the modern pop tale. Her original investment was digital, but the eventual outcome was very real. After selling 2.5 million copies of her album, getting a Grammy nomination, starting a clothing line, having David Cameron hand deliver her first album to President Obama, and hosting her own BBC3 talk show, among other endeavors, Allen returns to the music scene with a sophomore album, It’s Not Me, It’s You.

This career that began in the depths of cyberspace, that has seen such successes both on and offline serves as an ideal case study for the future of digital branding and audience analysis/targeting. Lily in and of herself is a blueprint for digital strategy.

Lily is a demographic. She is a self-proclaimed non-careerist. Lily treats music as a hobby, she spends more time and effort on connecting with her fanbase than she does in the studio – more time in ‘the sphere’ than ‘on stage.’ That is digital PR. Allen created a career around communication and connection: music is the front, it is a mask funding the machine. Lily Allen is the new face of an entity in a digital realm. She is fully integrated. As an individual Allen has moved from following technology trends to setting them. From MySpace she created a digital empire. Her genius lies in her steady constant progress. When MySpace lost stake in the mainstream, Lily moved to Twitter – where she now has well over 45,000 followers after two weeks. The hype is simple: she tweets regularly and responds to her fans. Her new album set the record for single-week digital sales – probably due to the fact she had free YouTube “Official Listening Posts” for each track. In the midst of a failing ‘traditional’ music industry, Lily is moving forward on the ‘progressive’ front. She worked with Amazon.com to sell her album for $3.99 during the opening week. Hard albums don’t sell anymore. She cut her losses and focused on the digital domain, which is how she set the digital sales record, in her first week no less.

While Lily may be a blueprint, she is also a demographic. Furthermore, she represents most individuals within the young digital demographic. So it is important to scope outwards and look at two examples of how to best relate with the increasingly influential Lily and Co.

Rolling Stone knows Lily, “Lily Allen is not just a pop star. She’s a genre.” Allen is young, urban, unaffected, hip, socially-engaged, tech-savvy, and pseudo-political. Lily Allen is the Obama ilk of young culture. With RS’ introduction to her album review they no longer reviewed Allen’s album, they reviewed her – and her demographic. They go on to sneer at she who “decides that she is a ‘social critic,’ a job she lacks the insight and the maturity to pull off,” and conclude that Allen is best when she ‘drops the state-of-the-nation pretensions.’ But, why? Obviously, they aimed to cement themselves as the apex of a dying medium — print publication — which is becoming increasingly outdated. RS 1.) voluntarily identifies a modern iconography –- of a key demographic no less –- before 2.) taking the McCain stance on inexperience and immaturity. The target readers of this review are socially and politically engaged, and likely within the same age range as Lily. When RS introduces Lily as ‘not just a pop star, but a genre,’ everything on from that point reflects ‘the genre.’ RS didn’t downplay a pop star’s social voice, they downplayed her demographic’s social significance. No wonder RS’ pages are shrinking — almost as fast as their young readership. While Rolling Stone gathered moss dwelling on Allen’s shortcomings, MTV made moves. Where Rolling Stone saw flaws, MTV saw a future.

MTV wrote on Allen as the most interesting pop star ever created. They call Allen’s new album “the most human pop album ever created.” Here MTV sees Allen as the closest link between celebrity and follower. MTV praises Allen for not being a pop star. This is brilliant because it is MTV saying “You like Lily Allen because she is like you. We like Lily Allen because she is like you. We like you.” MTV illustrates Allen as any other human being. She blogs about her problems. She deals in the gray area – all the time. Allen is insecure, but cocky. She is vulnerable, but unaffected. She just wants to settle down, but hates clingers. She’s political, but slags politicians. Everything is subjective. She is this generation, very, “I’m around enough to get around. I care enough to be cynical but not apathetic. It’s my life, take it or leave it — please?” Like she said in “Everyone’s At It,” “I get involved but I’m not advocating. You’ve got an opinion, yeah, you’re well up for slating.” MTV builds a pop star like the readers, and wins across the board: Lily gets fans. MTV viewers get someone ‘just like them’ in the public sphere. MTV gets cool points and a ride on Lily’s digital coattails.

Lily Allen is like a new
Edie Sedgwick. She’s got undeniable hype, but it’s hard for many to look past the style to the zeitgeist’s core substance. However, just like Edie, Lily holds more than a generation’s attention — she embodies their essence. There are world citizens like Bono and Barack. There are young role models like the Simmons daughters. There are celebutantes like Olivia Palermo and Kim Kardashian. There are the pop figures the masses want to be like, and then there are the pop figures who the masses actually are — and when the latter comes to fruition it makes targeting and messaging that much easier and effective. Edie to most is nothing more than a cautionary tale of modern celebrity, assumed hedonism, style over substance, and pop over purpose; however, this is the same girl who launched the legging revolution –– and a nation no less –– just by being the extraordinary ordinary one. The most innovative trends aren’t always earth-shatteringly complex — they are often just earth-shatteringly accessible and common. Lily is the new extraordinary ordinary one, and the savvy PR professional will note her trivialities — because those are the future trends; where Bob the businessman saw “leggings?” Betsey Johnson saw “leggings!”

Lily Allen is the prototype for digital PR because she is not a musician utilizing the online industry; she is the prototype because she is a member of the digital demographic who happens to make music people like, but more so because she is a person people like. Lily embodies the fundamental feat of the digital sphere – one that Rolling Stone assumed a flaw – to be human, to authentically reflect – and connect with – the audience you want to target. The more things change the more they stay the same. Even in the digital age, people like communicating with people, not products, or personas.

Lily Allen. Watch this space. She’s the ‘Girl on Fire’ — wire.

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