The De Jure, The De Facto, The Glory of Britney Spears’ Tribal Gospel

Soundtrek, TK:LA

First things first: #HOWCANYOUREADTHISTHERESNOPICTURES
Second things next: Sort it out, education is the motivation #Literacy #ImaginationPassport #GetToWork
Here's a motion picture, focus and find your chill #letsread

Here’s a motion picture, focus and find your chill #letsread

*And now: our regularly scheduled programming*

So… in the two years and miscellany of months since Britney Jean… many dramatic learning scenarios have unfolded… for the shown world, and both a one Miss Britney Jean Spears, and mutually exclusively, myself #swiperitsnotaboutyou #iknow #itsalwaysbeenaboutdora #yesiknow #everypopstarisdora #igetit #keepitmoving #peoplearetryingtoreadhere #wellnotherehere #noonereadsthis #probablybecausetherestoomanyinsecurehashtags #anyway

Much like Britney Jean, said Spears nor myself have anything to prove in this latest iteration… except the reality that we live our lives as tales to be told, we record said lives to manifest alchemical gold, and beyond any and all else, we eclipse the great with the good, and actively oppose the established fallacy that human lives are nothing more than fails to be sold… which, effectually, is the everything; because Glory finds and founds itself in the amplified actualization of De Facto over De Jure Millennial Pop music culture identity, it breeds: I applaud and advocate for Glory; because I, along with a camaraderie of unbeknownst-to-us-then-undeniable-to-the-world-now Army officials, find and found the self in this relentlessly resilient tribe of born-and-bred Millennial Pop music culture creatives, I proceed.

Britney Tweets 2007, Ep. 3

Popisodics, TK:LA

because if ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no betta work for tinker’s hands, because pink wigs birthed millennial whiplash, because it’s the rhyme behind seasonal reason, because you’re not B and will never see it her way… because Britney didn’t have Twitter in 2007, because the traphaus was birthed in the wake of Kevin, because Miss Spears will remain the bad bxxch you’ll never know, because they shouldn’t have let her blackout the ‘net #work: nouveau decided to put on a show #luckystarswipgolden
 

III

because education was the motivation, because she blogged before it was cool, because she was an independent publisher in the midst of corporate media, because stellar evolution involves apparent collapse, because she may not have spoken the King’s English but still scribed the siren’s hymn, because well-before she dropped the scheiße en route to new Britney’s mission she bathed in capital H.I.M., because we voted her to be nouveau royalty in the midst of gop patriarchy, because she faced the fire for her fans while the Administration placed firearms and debt in their electorate’s hands…

because she wants you people to know she’s not perfect, she’s divine #godspeed

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.37.39 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.37.54 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.38.19 PM Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.38.41 PM

Britney Tweets 2007: Ep. 1

TK:LA

if… IF I were to blinkk this I would probably say…

because if ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no betta work for tinker’s hands, because pink wigs birthed millennial whiplash, because it’s the rhyme behind seasonal reason, because you’re not B and will never see it her way because Britney didn’t have Twitter in 2007, because the traphaus was birthed in the wake of Kevin, because Miss Spears will remain the bad bxxch you’ll never know, because they shouldn’t have let her blackout the ‘net #work: nouveau decided to put on a show #luckystarswipgolden

because she continues to be the original doll

britney-spears-twitter-art-nouveau-magazine-together-1024x702

What If Britney Spears Had Twitter in 2007?  #QuestionsThatNeedAnswers

I II.png

The Hills are Alive… with the sound of muses

Soundtrek, TK:LA, Vinyl Mind Flow

I riffed on The Sound of Music tribute at The 87th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony for ten minutes and twenty-eight seconds: this is the verbatim transcription…

So it would seem the hills are alive with the sound of music… the Hollywood Hills to be exact, this night, this beautiful night, Oscar Sunday… and amidst all of the flashing lights, Mother Monster, the pop mistress, the matriarch of music on behalf of a flailing industry – thought to be dead thought to be gone, thought to be sold out – rose to the occasion only to prove that all the charlatans were dead wrong.

Music is that which cements the experience of any moment, that auditory moment where those aural architects, as I said before, are able to manipulate the invisible… to be able to tap into those currents and those frequencies that you cannot see, but that you can feel stronger than any other sensory experience you’ve ever felt before… when you close your eyes, and you can feel your heart beat. When you close your eyes, and you can feel the goosebumps rising; when you can feel that ugly duckling becoming that beautiful swan, rising above it all because it found the rhythm, and it could never fall – it would falter – but never off that cliff never to never be seen again…

In Defense of… Music

Vinyl Cut Prose

It’s dead, right? That’s the tone. “Music is dead wrong right now.” No. Never. Not, ever. Somewhere in the midst, art lingers, latent but everlasting. Immortality rests in the rhythm. No matter how broke, bullied, abandoned, starved, outcast, paralyzed, apparently descended… you can always muse. The language of the gods from the stars exudes. Those lyrics and harmonies will sustain the seemingly los culture. From the mouths of babes, from the medley of blues, from the birth of tragedy, sagas continue.

MaM

HOW CAN YOU READ THIS? THERE’S NO PICTURES!, Ep. 1: The Crossroads, Laurel Canyon + Mulholland Drive

Vinyl Mind Flow

VINYL MIND FLOW #OKGO

I riffed on Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive into a recording device for eight minutes and forty-nine seconds: this is the verbatim transcription.

Okay, fifteen minutes. I’m at Mulholland and Laurel Canyon. So, I guess the most fitting thing for me to do at this point would be to talk about what Laurel Canyon and Mulholland mean to me. Fifteen minutes. So we’re on the clock, and we’re twenty seconds in: so, to me, Mulholland Laurel Canyon is just The … I wanna say The Fame. Oh. I wanna say The Fame, but it is fame: it’s American fame. What is The Fame to me? Mulholland and Laurel Canyon are Hollywood. It’s Cal – it’s … we’ll figure it out together.

Laurel Canyon is the Hippie Movement, right. It’s this, y’know, makeshift cobblestone ver– y’know, sloping – It’s… this canyon. It’s a canyon. It’s a cavity. It’s a cavity; but it’s the vein, and it’s the artery at the same time. Y’know like, you get traction. Y’know Laurel Canyon is the Hippies, is the Sixties, it’s the counterculture. It’s Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison. Umm, it’s an odd counterculture. It’s very calm and weathered. And then you’ve got Mulholland, which is fame to me.

Decennium Spin: “The College Dropout,” Kanye West

Soundtrek, TK:LA, Vinyl Cut Prose

“Through the wire, to the limit to the wall, for a chance to be with you, I’d gladly risk it all…”

#dropthuglife

screen-shot-2014-02-09-at-11-50-12-pm

Junior year of high school, despite – and, in a contrarian way, due to – the re-election of George W. Bush, 2004 was an amazing year in an equally-understated way. Off the heels of Jay-Z’s blueprint, in the slightly distant midst of red-crossed cameras, stood the gifted present of a re-educated maestro, the Don in pink Polo: Kanye West.

Kanye West's Performance at the Canal Room

Ten years ago today, pre-Yeezus walked onto the scene a solo rapper; through the wires, past the slow jamz, West set his own blueprint for fame’s new workout plan.

81qy4v1qzvl-_sx482_-e1533399765659

#POPCANONS The Anatomical Zeitgeist No. 8, Est. 2013

Soundtrek, Vinyl Cut Prose

Here’s a little story that I made up, so let’s make believe: four years ago I had a party that was too much fun for me…

– “I’ve Just Begun (Having My Fun)

#basically

Back in 2009, I had a little fun drafting up my list of the top twelve Pop artists from the first decade of the millennium (I get bored, it happens). I made up a little narrative of the icons that lived the blueprint for a global lifestyle – more than a genre, an ongoing epic poem defining the general public of that elusive scene, scape, soundtrack we like to call Pop. I was fresh out of undergrad; but forever a 90s kid caught in the nostalgia of homecoming kings, queens, and courts, naturally I paired off the lords and ladies of the said vanity fair, in a fitting hommage to the heralded pantheon of celebrity (which is effectually no more than a glamorized high school) #youcantsitwithus Five coupled jesters of the court, a pair of regal deities, and a pair of honorable mentions (because it’s America – so as long as you’re the best loser, there’s space for you on the podium – but don’t get crazy).

The list went a little something like this…

Crate Dig: My First Blog Post #ever #kindof

Soundtrek, TK:DC, Vinyl Mind Flow

Stumbled across my now-defunct first blog from back in 2007 #thatyear and in the past six years… not much has changed at all… what can I say?

For the sake of morbid curiosity… from October 2007… my first blog post… #itsadoosie #notheresnopictures

swiper sighs manifesto

So until I figure out this whole music blog thing i’ll just blog about pop culture, pseudo-politics, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, ology … the usual and of course media/entertainment which includes music, movies, tv a bit, books, or whatever suits my fancy.

Ummmm as for the music scene right now – it’s lacking in the mainstream. American Top 40 isn’t a good representation of music, the Top 40 should be indicative of the culture. The top 40 is watered down everything, even pop is watered down. Say what you will about Britney, Christina, N Sync, and Backstreet – but they were Pop: down to the core. They were catchy and they got into your head. They were like Saccharin; they were too sweet, and it was so synthetic, but they were devoured by the masses. You could not deny the sheer “Pop” of it.

BlinkkBeats: “Work BxxCH,” Britney Spears

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek

Everything was worth it. Everything is worth it. Everything will be exponentially more worth it in increasing measure as the cycles continue – if, you, work bxxch #BRITNEYTAUGHTUSALL

#nowgettowork

BlinkkIt:

Please believe this could be a dissertation #ohwait #hadbeendonethat #twice #becauseitsjustthatnice

Brass tacks: It’s fun. Remixable. Killer hooks. Understandable fodder. Strong focus on the beat, pulse, and bombast Britney claims her role as integrated pneuma, as opposed to overt lyrical / verbal navigator.

I make the governor / Call me the governor

… supports said dissertation #busherayouthsubculturecelebrityicon, and thesis #welcometopostpopmusicentertainmentculture quite nicely. I approve and appreciate.

SIDENOTE: ( I’m not a youth subculture celebrity icon of an era ushered in by an incumbent governor president-elect – but if I were, I would probably hook it with: “I make the governor call me the governor” – I approve, I appreciate, I acknowledge that if ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no #WORK for tinkers’ hands… #luckyguesses #Y2Kforeveryall)

SnappIt:

If, you, want, that life – the glass house, the fame balls, the applause, the roar, the 20/20 experience, the carte blanche to go rogue, the holy grail, the crucifixion, the revolutionary rebirth, the ability to make them go berzerk in a breath,  that ticket to kiss land – you, betta, werk.

VMA Day 2013 – Four Butterflies to Watch #heylookamonarch

Soundtrek

Honeymoon isn’t even the furthest stretch of one’s falsified imagination when it comes to the Video Music Awards since 2010 #generous This year, I …. okay, I don’t actually know half of the nominees, and I might not have heard of 75% of the songs, but I can pick up a pattern from a mile away #universallaw #fortherecord

No one can predict the future, but we can recognize the present – and that’s good enough for me. Four butterflies to keep an eye on when watching the monarchy tonight… #theeverythingelse

1.) [T]he renaissance of Pop Art and a Warholian world of blurred lines between reality and fantasy”

Sedgwick Germanotta

[T]angent. Point is: Edie said of herself something that resonates so deeply with GaGa tonight, “if you just listened to what I had to say it was sane, but if you just looked at me you wouldn’t bother to listen. And none of them did. God it was a nightmare.” There isn’t that futility with GaGa, but the nightmare is quite apparent. Performance artists live their art — completely. The world is their canvas — truly. Where the art succeeds, the artist suffers, but it is for the sake of art — even if only for art’s sake.

2013:

2.) Jimmy Timberlake 

SnappScenes: Lady Gaga, “Applause”

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:LA, Vinyl Mind Flow

I live for the applause, applause, applause – I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause #paws

screen-shot-2013-08-22-at-7-36-10-pm

What I loved about Alejandro

This is the drop after the first waves and floods: I’m not here to talk about her facial features, or how to convert atheists into believers; I’m just saying that somewhere in the midst of a[n] indie short film, and a scene-by-scene homage to immaculate conceptions – and collections – lies a near perfect Pop music video period. Is pastiche supposed to be coherent? It is now – let’s delve.

What was lambasted in Born This Way

I don’t know where to begin or end with this one… and I suppose that’s the best way to be – as there is no beginning or end to the perpetual renaissance What artists do wrong is they lie, what critics do wrong is they try; I’m not going to try and pretend I know every conceptual reference here, nor analyze from a detached place of fault-and-fact finding – this isn’t about Pop cheat sheets and checklists… I’m just going to riff on what I know for me, and what I see

What lingered along the fringes of Scheiße

Lady Gaga broke her notoriously extended hiatus, premiering her first mastered piece of “new music” … Those two years of antagonizing anticipation culminated into the club-pulsing climax … Forget the fact that this may or may not be what you wanted to hear from someone about whom you may or may not give a scheiße – ether that; from start to finish, career and current track, no one – no one female Pop body – can produce: produce, what Gaga can. Line after line, time after time: perfection – the wait is always worth it.

There’s the flawlessly deft production we’ve come to expect from the Haus mother … stratospheric synth, deep bass, smooth distortion, uncannily human reverb pulsing the cacophony. Gaga lends her voice as an added layer, as much a part of the score as the bevy of inanimate instruments behind her

screen-shot-2013-08-22-at-7-36-35-pm

Lady Gaga has solidified her sonic aesthetic and social impact – and they are one in the same. If the backbeat pulses harder than my own heartbeat, why not dance together? This is cold technology and hot harmonies, sheer energy, factory fashion, raw humanity, grime, graffiti, and glitterbombs; this is stream-of-consciousness that doesn’t make sense now, but will before the rest of the globe makes sense of itself: this is 31st Century schizo world – welcome Haume.

screen-shot-2013-08-22-at-7-37-35-pm-1.png
Is what lays the foundation for “Applause:” The pulse as nothing more, and never anything less, than the traverse between polarity

– once you know the system’s rhythm, all that’s left to do is choreograph the rendevous #multiversallyspeaking

#snappit

The Re-Branding of America: Kid and Sean Pen a PSA…

TK:LA

Fellow Americans, it is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present this recording, as a living testament and recollection of history in the making during our generation.

Let me tell you dudes what I do to protect this: I shoot at you actors like movie directors [laughing] This ain’t a movie dog

Kid Rock and Sean Penn would like to borrow a moment of your time and illustrate the grave importance of overlooking the narcissism of minor superficial demographic differences in light of the larger union we share as an American people… that while the differences we hold as private citizens are what made this country great, it is the collective freedom granted to the public which defines those who call the United States home… celebrities: because they’re just like U.S.

The Re-Branding of America: On the curious case of Mitt & Paris’ Publicized Privacy

TK:LA

“Mitt Romney” and “Paris Hilton” are going hard-press-in-the-paint right now. Note the quotations, because when it comes to celebrity and public figuration: there’s the brand, and then there’s the (wo)man… here, beyond the (yet-to-be-determined) human factor behind the individuals, their enterprises are functioning like well-oiled machines.

It’s kind of like best week ever, right?

Paris is a mistress of the mishap-turned-publicity-masterpiece, Romney is not far behind in his ability to grab headlines with oddly well-staged gaffes.

The past week has seen both go viral with unsurprisingly on-par brand pushes: Romney doesn’t care about untaxed people, and Paris “Puddle of AIDS” Hilton thinks gays are gross… in other news: citizen paparazzi caught The Cookie Monster smuggling Snickerdoodles packaged as Sprouts’ Summer Squash into his Sesame Street penthouse…

So how does one figure these “mishaps” and “private conversations” gone public play as brand determinants and not character detriments… let’s delve a bit #itsaprocess

Quick and Dirty: Pre-VMA 2012 #andanotherthing

Uncategorized

This year has been quite a year… Diesel like 90s WWF Denim – needless to say the VMA have been millions of miles away from my spectral proximity: that said, it’s in my blood… no matter how few nominees I know, no matter how irrelevant the proceedings, no matter how cruxed upon pop cultural cannibalism – a festival of juggernauted feasting upon the legends and legacy of old – I will always have an opinion, and the VMA will always have a story and a place in contemporary culture. Though I know a record low number of nominees this year – and hold an even more subterranean affinity, or regard at all, for the nominees of which I do have some cognizance – this year is epic and masterful for so many subtle reasons: the first and last, the alpha and omega of which revolve around this year’s pulse player – The Bajan Queen of Body Parts: Rihanna.

VMA are obviously critical this year though… I’d wager to guess the biggest point is the revisitation of 2007. #neverforget

Vinyl Cut Prose: “National Anthem,” Lana del Rey

A.V Hub, TK:LDN, Vinyl Cut Prose

Nouveau riche in thé vintage frame. The forever first lady and the one time flame. The brunette bombshell and the trap star, lost and found in the endless hyperreel… Because the spectacle said so – when the young culture is American culture, and Lana’s lyrics drown out Key’s ode to Lady Liberty… Where standing wealth disappears beneath the facade of runaway riches. Where race fades in the place of the envy, the currency, the one, the only, the greenface. Where Cognac and Cuban cigars line the seersuckered pockets of star-spangled bangers… Here in this place in time, suspended in the gilded gift of the omnipresent: the market is the new monarchy, fame is the new family, pledge allegiance to the powers that be: Marilana Yolonassis and A$AP “Call Me More Like Dom” F. Kennedy

The Re-Branding of America: Fame, it is the New Black

TK:LDN, Vinyl Mind Flow

Fame… and it goes a little something like this

… and it smells a little something like cette

How to Make it in Famerica

 

FAME, as compounded by Lady Gaga:

Tears of Belladonna: One part government hooker #tearsontap, one part femme fatale #looselytranslated, one part Donna sans the Ma #bellathemonsterball, consummated in a nocturnal matrimony #nightshade and equally beautiful death #jumpingoutthewindow, wrapped in the skin of the most Luciferian fruit #suchaholyfood

Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as BelladonnaDevil’s BerriesDeath Cherries or Deadly Nightshade, is a perennialherbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to EuropeNorth Africa, and Western Asia. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include scopolamine and hyoscyamine which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations, and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics. The drug atropine is derived from the plant.

SnappScenes: “No Church in the Wild,” The Throne

A.V Hub, TK:LDN, Vinyl Cut Prose

The Throne… Black Jesus walks in the wild… Where there is no church, just a primal society of spectacular sinners in the magnificent monde a la mode… Amen fashion… London is looting, Paris is burning, New York is occupied, victors are vilified, and the beasts are the beautiful beacons of a new world… Postcolonial cultural institutions, Neo-capitalism beneath the civilly disobedient liberated lady, soundtracks run through the veins and veneer of a blind Justice Judy… Mitochondrial thieves, sons of Reagan’s mythological Welfare Queens, tears on the mausoleum floor, lies on the lips of a priest… Faustus grants voices, viles of victorious libations, and a hand to grasp to the thug’s prayers reached…. Human beings to a mob, what’s a mob to a king, what’s a king to a god, what’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything… #preach

December 22, 2011

Incredible… Madonna doesn’t know how to love

SnapTrakks

madonna2

Easily one of the best produced Madonna tracks of her extensive catalog, the Pharrell masterpiece “Incredible” was just that – an incredible diamond in the rough desert that was 2008’s saccharin infused Hard Candy. I left the album for awhile, I’ve had my bouts, but a fresh set of ears delivered a 2012 revelation of apocalyptic sorts… “Incredible,” Hard Candy, this in all of its “thisness” that is going on now #lookitup is a most honest and sincere plea from the place of the detached deity…

The Parisian Throne [Work Tape]

TK:LA

Pretense: This one never really sorted its scope, or structure for that matter, never quite got around to cementing its fundamental triumph beyond the blasphemous battleground, thus released as a work-in-progress (thus, the current “[Work Tape]” nomination), but for the sake of since-it-was-released… the first-take-suzeey riff

***

8E1CFF09-207C-4AEF-A22B-AF099515C69E

As much the Four Evangelists as they are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga – our proud and prestigious pillars of Pop – stood tall and held rapturous court this year as the cause and cure for our ailing culture…

BlinkkBeats: “Sunset Chimps-Élysées (VMA 2011 EP),” Art Nouveau

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Welcome to VMA 2011: no host, west coast, teenage dreams, saccharin-infused schemes – welcome to the odd future #bonjournaggers

At this juncture it’s safe to say we’re all slaves to the throne… some of us, say it better than others #namelythus That said, it’s safer to say we’re all slaves to a throne of indentured servants, who may or may not even belong at said royal table… #kanyeshrugsandotherthugs Who says you can’t ball out when the bottom falls out? Not America – because these colors don’t run; but if not these colors running the world – then who? #girls That said, every court needs a jester, or Jordan #jacksontyson #takeyourpick #six so for this year’s VMAs – the world is a soundstage, the stars are in the building, and amidst the bevy of deafeningly adamant ambiguity we have a soundtrack to keep the beat right on par with said backdrop: VMA 2011 EP – Welcome to the Beautiful Dark Twisted Sunset Boulevard of Golden Schemes and Silver Screens…

Blinkkit: “We’re going to skate to one song, and one song only.” This year the throne came home – and by home I mean industry royalty reflected “those ones.” You know… the ones who shouldn’t have been here at all – The Help that helped themselves to a seat at the table. When banks are broke, the broke make bank #namely.

Amy, Amy, Amy… Fare Thee Well, Immortal Parallel

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Amy, Amy, Amy… I know I’ve been here before… Amy, Amy, Amy… she’s just too hard to ignore… Rhythmically she spins a spell – I know she’d wear me well… Amy, Amy, Amy… where’s her moral parallel?

Amy Jade Winehouse was our holiday. She was our release, our renaissance, our rehabilitation, and our rhythmic residency. She was her own body of work; she lived in the music, and through that magnificent manifestation she created a parallel world within and apart from the everyday mainstream anything.

In the midst of Neo-Prohibition Era America where false was ideal, imperial nudity was lauded, and deuces wild were on deck, Winehouse was our haven beneath said house of cards. Amy was a release. She was our speakeasy, her voice resonated with us as the hidden-in-plain-view perfection of human imperfection. She birthed a culture through her tales of love lost, found, and for which her heart would forever fiend. Her music brought us from the throes of auto-tune, from the perils of saccharine-infused ringtone jingles, high and away from the collective race to the bottom that was 2007.

She was our vantage into the vintage; our very own halfway point between Scott Joplin’s Post-Victorian Era Ragtime revolution, injecting the joie de vivre back into the mainstream, and Janis Joplin’s Post-Pleasantville Americana Blue-Eyed Psychedelic Soul. Amy was the embodiment of the Neo-Prohibition Jazz Era of modern music. She was the cause and the cure for our every cultural ailment. She was the radiant child, wise beyond her years – the rebellious child – but from the mouth of the basement baroness babe spoke truth.

She provided a place for us to turn when the clock struck five, following our every dogged day, mourning every minute after the ninth lie.  She was our happy hour. She was our winehouse – our own special place where humanity was okay, where everyone was in the dark together, where the soul and the sin were the norm. Beneath the blinding light, neither she nor we knew better than what we had – and after nearly a decade of lost everything, all we had was our lone selves.

amy-winehouse-u06.jpg

… Like Blood Flowing Through the Veins of Bad Kids: Born This Way is One Hell of A Drug

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

“I don’t want to be part of the machine – I want the machine to be part of me.

lady_gaga_born_this_way_cover_110419:
Born This Way
is
a perfect record. It is uncomfortably euphoric. First spins are ideally experienced with a few close friends, or those who have spun before; likely obtained through contraband means however – the first spin is usually experienced in the wee hours of the night or morning… where the rush of the synesthetic synthetic splendor triggering peaks and valleys – previously unfathomed – comes with a conscious uncertainty: as to whether you like it or hate it, whether or not said rush is result of the product itself, or the hype surrounding and building up to the first taste, and whether or not this is in actuality real life, some surreal fantasy – or just the delirious drunkenness of well-deserved fatigue… It’s personal, political, public, and cultural; it’s the social catalyst, sedative, signpost and staple; it’s the universal shared experience, and the pre-eminent polarizing sign of the times – like blood flowing through the veins of a buncha bad kids: Born This Way is a trip down Alice’s glitter way – and one hell of a drug. #rhythmicrapture

BlinkkBeats: GreatEclectic – “MEG▲LOMANI▲”

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

I’ve hit the point where Pop music is so good right now – so perfect – that I can’t even make sense of it because it makes too much sense in and of itself #senseless To be fair, that point started swinging as soon as the beast beat beneath Perry’s Dark Teenage Twisted Fantasy dropped, and it officially hit when Rozay held Brit against me; Pop: because I’ll take you everywhere – call me MC Hammer #imaboutscene. GreatEclectic isn’t a moniker, it isn’t a motto, or even a mantra – it is a melodic manifesto: #thus

Cover Me:

BlinkkIt: Grammy 2011 Performances

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Said it before, I’ll say it again #whawhawhawhatdidyousay #yourebreakinuponme in case you’re worried about Pop in 2011: #dontbe

The Grammys, if nothing else, were a top notch Pop production – a beautiful stage show presenting what will be the subsequent year in industry music #whatelseisthere This year was a collaboration of the most notable in recent years – good or bad #thegrammysarenotacheesesandwich – the event brought together a realm of musicians from heavyweights to new bloods and Country crooners to West Coast crypt-walkers… all for the love of Pop #orsomethingtothateffect The performances gave a splendid snapshot of the industry’s landscape, and reflected perfectly the identity of the respective artist on stage – Justin Bieber included… so without further ado, let’s delve into GrammyView

GaGa… oh GaGa #andAGAIN A performance stripped down, stark, and raw as a newborn; explosive, soulful, and synthesized like the new human condition; and with a pure concerted energy to fuel the next era in Pop. #bornthisway: Smoke-and-mirrors stripped – abs ripped #luccarlsdrunkdietworksforshe GaGa: because Pop just got an organ donor… because the misconception is that it was an egg, because the assumption is that – like Post-Reagan urban culture, like premature emergence – crack kills… but this isn’t an egg – it’s an incubator… and in this space the artist and era remain unbreakable.

Bruno Mars, B.o.B., Janelle Monaemiseducated miscreants of the most masterful and musically marvelous kind… #followyourblisstothisfunk

Grammy Night 2011: Predictions and the Like…

SnapTrakks, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

So.. it’s Grammy night – again. Thus…

inanutshell: I’m excited for a surprise this year. While I haven’t been keeping as up-to-speed with all things Grammy-related this year, apparently GaGa is doing something, and if that’s not enough something, she’s doing something in a coffin (incubator… death/birth… monster/madam… #kanyeshrug) so… that’s something – and if nothing else it’s a heads up that yes: something is going to get kilt like a Scotsman. Moving forward… Eminem has many-a-nods this year, as does Katy Perry, the Wayward Baby, Bruno Mars, Mr. Sean, and Lady Antebellum. I mean… it’s the Grammys; so – you already know. No pretense this year – let’s get to predictin’!

PHYX_GrammyPoster-9479.CARGO

Album of the Year

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Eminem – Recovery
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

BlinkkIt: Eminem released his most authentic album to date since The Marshall Mathers LP, but from a place of noted maturity. He had a massive year with two key Super Bowl spots highlighting the soul and scene of America – Brisk as the creative claymation “this is why I don’t do commercials!” commercial, and Chrysler for the theatric homage to the lost Motor City of Motown. Lady Antebellum brings the down-home mainstream twang that is not to be overlooked in Grammy-town Nashville. The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs captures the Pitchfork-friendly sonic aesthetic; which, historically, is triumphant in its place as a nominee – not as a victor. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream … still not settled with this nomination by technical standards, or any standards outside of radio play really… but it’s nice to have that aspirational everygirl Pop presence within the category. Inevitably: Lady GaGa for the win, for the cause – and if nothing else, for the paws. #up

BlinkkIt: Grammys 2011 – Best Rap Solo Performance

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Grammy Noms: the sweetest thing this side of Nana’s cookie jar #popnom. A nibble is all you need, so let’s blinkk the besties #getitgramms

Best Rap Solo Performance

BlinkkIt

Grammys 2011 Best Rap Solo Performance: because it doesn’t matter how low you go, as long as you’re not afraid to come back and claim the throne… defenestration is a beautiful death… the legendary leap into night fall… goodnight cruel world, see you in the mourning… this is far from over #musicislifeismusic

BlinkkIt: Grammy Week 2011 – Best New Artist

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Grammy Noms: the sweetest thing this side of Nana’s cookie jar #popnom. A nibble is all you need, so let’s blinkk the besties #getitgramms

Best New Artist

“Who are the five best new artists of All-Time 2011? Think about it:” Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Scott-Heron #becauseIMnewhere #becauseispithotfire

Grammys 2011 Best New Artist: because Gil Scott could use a sixth man #iguess

BlinkkIt

What are the odds?

BlinkkIt: Grammy Week 2011 – Best Pop Vocal Album

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Grammy Noms: the sweetest thing this side of Nana’s cookie jar #popnom. A nibble is all you need, so let’s blinkk the besties #getitgramms

Best Pop Vocal Album

My World. 2.0  Justin Bieber

I Dreamed A Dream Susan Boyle

The Fame Monster Lady Gaga

Battle Studies John Mayer

Teenage Dream Katy Perry

BlinkkIt

This year’s nominees for Best Pop Vocal Album are a nice cross-section of the general populous… we’ve got androgynous sixteen-year-old Canadians, Middle-Aged British women, guitar-plucking playboys, fruity pin-up California gurls, and a monster whose own greatest demon is disinterest.

Best Pop Vocal Album 2011: because welcome to the Bad Girls Club Season 7 #spoiler #dontyouwishyoucouldrollwithus

 

All of the Lights: Lady Gaga & Kanye West – Soular

TK:NYC

1200px-Fame_Kills

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Kanye West and Lady Gaga… beyond, beneath, within, and without the flashing lights these two remained suspended in infinite existence. Modern Pop has known no before nor after these two… 21st century children will live to recount tales to their grandchildren of crucial kreugers emanating from nothingness, beautiful dark twisted fantasies in the midst of a blissfully bleak reality, the climate-shifting global state of monstrosity where beasts reigned as belles of the endless ball… a world void of time and space… a post-apocalyptic period where two prophets destroyed their own made world, an archaic rebirth after the darkest decade known to warholian man, a cultural sonicscape perpetuated by the synergy of two sources of sheer energy… in 2010 amidst all of the flashing lights Lady Gaga and Kanye West were The Sun: the ubiquitous body cultivating the craft through their presence and, even more so, propelling secondary stars to shine brighter in the darkness of their absence.

All of the Lights: Miley Cyrus & Rick Ross – Cop Lights

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

 

Miley Cyrus and Rick Ross were our patriots on patrol this year. Living the high life where MiCy met Miami, these two lit up the Pop scape with the red, white, and blue hues of stars, bars, strips, whips, chains, gangs, and the incessant inability of ever being tamed. He was the Teflon Don: gun dirty, brick clean; she hung on a pole and a prayer: the jailbait-in-waiting, craving to be scene.

All of the Lights: Willow Smith & Far East Movement – Flashlights

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Willow Smith and Far East Movement whipped across the globe this year like junior jetsetters; their infectious electro-pop sounds emerged from obscurity and hit ubiquity at the speed of light, they broke records beyond the speed of sound with a sonic boom that resonated across the planet. The free-wired high-flyers captured the world in a state of infinite liftoff; illuminating the world like it was their runway, Smith and FEM lit up the skies like flashlights over an airstrip.

All of the Lights :: Ke$ha & Eminem: The Bic

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Amidst the darkened sky of endless pop, visibly void of any specific stars; Ke$ha and Eminem emerged as groundskeepers sparking the scene from the floor – lighters up. This year we saw a party animal, a rehabilitated recovery, and a cultural cannibal unleashed; and behind the music we saw kindred kindling ignited, revealing both sides of the Bic: the disposable house-party-fueling flicker, and the timeless stadium torch.

tumblr_ldx1jxozgg1qcilfqo1_500

This year Ke$ha served the purpose of the former, sparking the fire that fueled the gutter-grime-glitter sound lingering across basements and American airwaves like a tobacco smoky haze over the backseat of a golden Trans-Am. She opened the year with “Tik-Tok” and, by default of its January 1 release date, started the proverbial pop party with her entrance. Ke$ha was that frathouse staple – ready to spark the camel, willing to blaze the j, and able to pop the top off a Pabst at a seconds notice. She was the music that set the mood, the tunes that kept the backyard bacchanals alive, and – much like that flick-happy Bic with a flame as disposable as the fueled fun – she was out by the dawn, right before your parents get home. The Southern truckette raised Hell with tales of rogue revelry at rich kids’ parties, and was the exalted embodiment of too-drunk-to-function-but-lit-enough-to-keep-gunnin’.

All of the Lights: Drake & Justin Bieber – Nightlights #spoton

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Justin Bieber and Drake, Drake and Justin Bieber… Our neighbors to the North brought a bit of the every-Canadaian to American mainstream this year: Thank Me Later emerged as an emo-rap twist on Jagged Little Pill for the Tumblr generation, while Bieber Fever took stranglehold on a nation of young girls nary seen since the grip of Avril Lavigne’s necktie. Amidst all of Pop’s flashing lights surfaced these two – millions of teenagers’ charming knights, with legendary musical vises in tow as their shield. If the market was a castle, these two boys would be the steady fixture beside every princess’ canopy; this debonair duo amidst the still dark of the room are her pseudo-safety nets, and in reality nary more than her mere nightlights.

Ah yes, Justin Bieber… from the pixie frame, glassy eyes, lucid skin, and soprano voice, he is the spinning image of a miniature lightbulb – transparent and empty, emanating a subdued pure glow. Put him behind the vibrant shields of iconic figures, though – Ludacris, Usher, Kanye, Diddy – and he displays a magnificent display of soft colors and caricatures upon which a sea of princesses can gaze eternally for nights on end. Close your eyes, open your ears and hear his world of hollow harmonies; blink: eyes wide behind 3D spectacles and experience Justin Bieber 2.0 – a white dwarfed black hole pulling the Pop universe into oblivion.

All of the Lights: Taylor Swift & Usher – Flood Lights

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

 

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

 

This year Taylor Swift and Usher flooded the nation in fluorescence. She spoke now, well after the deafening sounds of Swiftgate settled to a dull roar. He saturated the market in music, void of a message, but with a ubiquitous mask so clean it bordered translucence. They were so bright, so white, so everywhere, so endlessly empty, and yet so inescapably enveloping. Mainstream music’s absence of creativity opened the doors for an influx of sheer commerce, and this year panoramic sterility sold.

This is America, we love our flood lights – so bright and unyielding, so integral to the world of endless recreation of the most mind-numbing, so fundamental to the 24/7 push of profitable play – night games. These aren’t streetlights that keep stickball games going past the dusk on a Brooklyn block… these are those overhead satellites keeping NASCAR motorcades roving around in circles ad naseum at primetime for ad revenue. Swift and Raymond are those forces bleaching the scene, sweetening the mean, and softening the screams of midnight melody makers whose cathartic cries were held at bay during the day.

All of the Lights :: Nicki Minaj & Katy Perry: Fireworks

Popisodics, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Once upon a rhyme two bubblegum nymphs lit up the pitch black pop sky with tales of teenage dreams and rose-colored weekends. Princess Katy Perry sang this year from atop her Golden Coast lollipop tower; while Dutchess Nicki Minaj led a brigade of bad Barbies across the hard candy-coated pop landscape. This year we saw the rise and reign of the psuedo-sexual siren; from adolescent dreams to Roman’s vengeful screams Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj exemplified both sides of Barbie – the pinup princess and the dutchess behind barbs. Amidst all of the flashing lights, these two were the fireworks that took fantastical flight.

tumblr_ldx1y5Vsh61qcilfqo1_500.jpg

Nicki Minaj opened the year launching feature after brilliant feature across star-studded tracks. She held court with the divas, the dons, and the du jours; throwing down with everyone from Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, to Rick Ross, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, Ludacris, Usher, and will.i.am. Co-sign after co-sign Minaj built hype and suffocated hearsay. Before long, it seemed as if the collective culture’s eyes were glued to Nicki’s rocketeering rise, awaiting with bated breath the halogenic blast of her solo debut; Pink Friday was the explosive result. The album is truly Minaj’s child, and capstoned her rookie year exceptionally well. It’s the pink hybrid hue between that clean white naive newness and raw red monstrosity; it’s the bridge between the come-up of the work week and the kick-back of the weekend, where Miss Minaj continues to blaze somewhere in between as the not-quite-a-babydoll-but-not-yet-a-boss.

Unforgettable, Vol. 21: Lady Gaga – The Fame

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

lgrcfmlp

Pop: grab your old girl with her new tricks; if this were Gaga’s first and last album, it would be just as complete as it is in context as a dynasty starter.

The Fame is nothing more and nothing less than a perfect Pop debut through and through. Visceral, catchy, panoramic, reflective, progressive, chock full of hit singles, formidable filler, and fun; foreshadowing or foreboding depending on how you look at it – and yet, so very simple. The Fame is merely a skeleton, and the beats are nothing more than an atmosphere. In Britney’s wake we saw a sea change: where Spears’ genesis was plot-driven – a tale of a singer at the whim of heavy production, and a girl at the whim of a weighty world – Gaga’s voice is the fuel behind The Fame. She gives life to the beats, as much as she injected the joie de vivre back into Pop’s consciousness.

The sound is underground and mainstream, simultaneously past and present. “Just Dance” couldn’t be more straightforward as it rips the disco skeleton from the past, fleshes it out with simple synth layers, and slaps an electro-futuristic veneer on for 21st Century tech propulsion. The beat is a night out: airy synth, simple percussion, minimal layers, basic four-count – nothing crazy, nothing coercive, just dance music. The lyrics are universal: just dance, gonna be okay – and repete after moi.

Gaga is “that girl” from the club. This is the first step of the journey through a tumultuously memorable relationship between lovers, the celebrity and the scene, the artist and the industry, the author and the audience. It all starts with “Just Dance.” You just dance to get to know their name, you just dance to get on Page Six, you just dance to get that record deal, you just dance for reassurance that it’s going to be okay – and this is The Fame.

Beyond that, at first listen, “Just Dance” is any other Pop track, a brilliantly choreographed debut. It couldn’t be more literal, and at a time where the world is a collective skeptic for good reason – the truthiness behind WMDs – that clear transparency was a trailblazing mindfreak in and of itself. Everything the track is not makes it everything it is. It is not new, it is not groundbreaking, it is not particularly deep or profound – and yet, coming from a world of life under-rug-swept it was that very transparency that broke America out of its shell. Just. Dance. No more, no less, no hidden agenda. Before auto-tune and vocoders, before ice and chains, there was lighthearted, carefree disco – the most basic, infinite, constant, life stream of music by method.

Welcome to the Retirement Haus: Pre-VMA 2010 – Pretense and Predictions

Popisodics, Soundtrek, TK:NYC

That time of year again: Vidjo. MUZAK. Awords.

Pretense: I do love this time of year, but to be honest I’m feeling a bit less-than-enthused for the first time in my life (yep, pass the Geritol – it’s time for the early bird special #aarp). On one hand I feel like you can’t top last year – it just… it can’t happen; and to even fathom a thought entertaining any idea otherwise is, is beyond negligent and belittling to Pop logic, theory, and history. That said… let’s delve and dabble

So, to be completely honest: 1.) I’m still hungover from a punch-drunk-love affair with the 2009 VMAs, and 2.) MTV is no doubt still in come-down mode from the superlative high that was said ceremony. The 2009 VMAs capstoned an era – they were our “we went out like kings and queens” magnum opus. Now, we’re on the heels of the embodiment of all a Video Music Award ceremony should be: dictator to the following year in Pop Culture. Last year we saw a star rise from the dead and resurrect performance art as Pop – from the Grammys to the AMAs, from Bad Romances to Monster Balls, from Good Ass Jobs to Good Fridays, Beiber and iCarly, Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Imperial States of Mind… the list goes on, but however you slice it: the 2009 VMAs were the Pop pulse this year. After a showing like that, there’s nothing to do except sit back and bask in the brilliance of a job well done – enter VMA 2010.

We Are… 90210 #happyholidays

Soundtrek, TK:NYC, Uncategorized

Why look anywhere else than Vanity Fair for the encapsulation of all things braggadocio-on-bazaar (yes, including you Harper’s) on the most spectacular of all days? Happy 90210: it’s a celebration. Today the world is a crystal ball of fame: past, present, and post-apocalyptic – nothing screams Hollywood Kid like Lindsay “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Lohan

VFH LL

image

in a state full of stars, a wish only is a shot away from reality

And when she first moved to L.A., Lohan says, “it was very go-go-go and I had a lot of responsibility; and I think just the second I didn’t have [structure] anymore—I was 18, 19—with a ton of money and no one really here to tell me that I couldn’t do certain things … And I see where that’s gotten me now, and I don’t like it.” She says tabloids were her main source of news, and calls that “really scary and sad… I would look up to those girls… the Britneys and whatever. And I would be like, I want to be like that.”

but be careful what you wish for…

… because you just might get it #getit?

Unforgettable, Vol. 20: DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…

Soundtrek, TK:NYC, Vinyl Cut Prose

dj-shadow-6

Joshua Paul Davis emerged from the blackout – heroically from the shadows – to redefine an art form, resurrect a genre, and reflect the essence of a culture with his debut album, Endtroducing…. The 1996 release told the tale, that in 2010, portrays modern hip-hop’s epic poem on record. DJ Shadow laid the foundation for hip-hop from the ground up, producing the first album entirely constructed from samples. As he creates the aural masterpiece, he allows the past to dictate the future – grabbing clips from vintage movie reels, and television shows, blending them with layered instrumentals from aged vinyl recordings – and in doing so introduces the world to his own sound, but more so the identity of an urban creative class on the cusp of social impact.

Davis begins the journey putting his best foot forward – fusing no less than seven separate soundbites and a fifteen-second funk jam session – to take the veil off the silhouette and bring the DJ into the light. “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt”‘s unknown narrator echoes “producing…” over chilling piano scales, as the story begins and Joshua sets the stage from a single grain. In the midst of an industry cheapening musical quality in the face of quantity – rationing and rehashing masterful tracks of old like a 20th Century European crusade through Africa – Shadow reminds us that there is an art to the sample; and for a genre founded upon the collage of collaboration, Davis crafts a montage original in its new fusion of old fragments.

Unforgettable, Vol. 19: Britney Spears – Blackout

Soundtrek, TK:NYC, Vinyl Mind Flow

img00376-20100815-0940

2007 climaxed the greatest American tale since The Civil War, and Britney Spears’ Blackout was our living soundtrack. Just as Spears was our brown-eyed girl of misfortune, Blackout is the requiem of our American Dream. Britney was an ideal created in our own image. Our image, our perception of our self worth, in the past decade was dependent upon fame and projected status. Then, more than ever, our identities were aligned with iconographies: Britney was our Miss American Dream, and in 2007 we saw her strip away her white gown.

At our darkest hour, our brightest supernova wanted nothing more than to go that extra mile for us. We created a monster mistress, a pop iconography reflecting our wildest and greatest desires – embodying our most visceral conquests. She was the broken kingdom, and on behalf of her mortal peers she sacrificed herself for our entertainment. She was our gladiator and our samurai on a kamikaze mission to kill the very same system which produced her. Even with her back against the wall she was our central focus, how something so perfect could be so not – and how such reckless power could destroy our most divine wind. We watched her spiral through insanity, as cameras flashed her dancing deliriously to music only she could hear. Even though we led her to this position of mania, she gave us permission to send her on a suicide mission: before the flashing lights, she was to touch the sky and nosedive in a sacrificial spectacle fit for a fallen empire. She gave more when she had nothing to give, because we asked for it – because the same guys who told us that she was the most valuable dream, told her that her value relied on our affirmation; she Merrill Lynched our Pop selves. Her punishment was her penance, and as much hers as it is ours. The opening is the standing reminder that even after she fades, the irremovable, unstoppable, perpetuating danja remains.

Unforgettable, Vol. 18: La Roux – La Roux

Soundtrek

046007bb500f40e2ab8a99e1d0c2c233

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill painted a music scene reflective of urban culture on the brink of a new millennium; eleven years later we – as a culture and creative class – have evolved and devolved from that reality. We have since found our souls in the synthetic, and were given our new sonic aesthetic with an anthemic 2009 soundtrack of our virtual reality.

Enter La Roux. La Roux is music that reaches beyond sound, into the mood and mindset of an apathetically passionate generation. Literally, “La Roux” is founded upon adamant ambiguity, fusing the masculine “Le Roux” and the feminine “La Rousse” to mean “The Red-Headed One.” That “One” would be none other than the Annie Lennox-esque frontwoman Elly Jackson. Jackson’s pale features beneath a fiery red coif depict brilliantly the sonic aesthetic of a colourless coloured culture.

Unforgettable, Vol. 17: Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

tumblr_nkuya4Ruqs1szbfero4_1280

In 1998 Lauryn Hill released a cultural landmark – one part enemy of the state, one part love story – which entirely rewrote the curriculum for hip-hop on the brink of a new millennium. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is H.E.R. story – of hip-hop and its truest personification. Lauryn recorded The Miseducation to resurrect a genre, a culture, an artist, and a girl headed towards commodification.

“Lost Ones” comes in right after roll call, on the heels of a visibly absent – but always present – Hill. This is the anthem. This is L. Boogie’s freestyle to introduce her voice and her vantage. Here we hear Lauryn literally taking it to the streets, and revisiting hip-hop’s roots: the battle. She is not battling any other one MC, she is battling them all – and the modern concept of what it means to be an MC. She knocks out her bio in 4 lines or less:

It’s funny how money change a situation,
miscommunication leads to complication;
my emancipation don’t fit your equation,
I was on the humble, you on every station.

Who knew that ten years from then: she would be the exile that turned on the industry in the face of the corporate stranglehold on creative expression, she would be seen as a misunderstood genius whose public persona would be miscommunicated as “crazy,” whose post-success emancipation didn’t quite fit the conventional mold, and who would inevitably – beyond the crazy – seem quite content with herself working the unplugged circuit while hip-hop superstars dominated the auto-tuned airwaves? She did – here.

Unforgettable, Vol. 16: Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor

Soundtrek, TK:NYC

madonnaconfessionsliner-707329

In 2005, Madonna dropped the world like a discoball. She created one of the decade’s best albums as she had created her entire career: by producing a self-context so great that it becomes the world’s Pop conscience. If “the main problem with 2008′s Hard Candy was that Madonna seemingly didn’t care,” and “with American Life she cared too much, to the point where it came across pushy and self-important,” 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor was the perfect medium where she cared-enough-to-count. Madonna’s greatest strength is her narcissism. She is Pop, and Confessions is nothing short of a brilliant response to Madonna’s answer to her own morning inquiry: “Mirrors, mirrors on the ball: whose four minutes saves them all?”

Unforgettable, Vol. 15: Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

biorhythmic, Soundtrek, TK:NYC, Vinyl Cut Prose

07balanismorissette
Where we left off at Danger Mouse’s fusion of two absolutes – black and white – we delve further into the foggy haze of the future by looking back at where it all began; for this generation, we emanated as products of irony with one hand in our pocket searching for a jagged little pill to cure the confusion. Music is the most wonderful of all drugs; amidst the plethora of genres, artists, tracks, and tribulations Alanis Morissette’s album stands out as the Raggedy Ann within the proverbial valley of the dolls.

The 1995 culture-defining album Jagged Little Pill still stands as the most angst-ridden-apathetic, yet understated-articulate anthem for those on the fringe of Gen X and Gen Why Care? The tone, the timbre, the subdued style, and subjective substance flow as effortlessly through the recording as any given listener no doubt flowed through their bleak, semi-charmed life.

alanis_morissette_-_credit_john_salisbury

The only way to get through such a gray existence is to live through it and learn what you can in the meantime. “You Learn” rhythmically trudges along repetitiously like any given soldier plodding along a warpath, from seventies Vietnam to the 21st century Twietnam, the lyrics trek through the track as the anthemic voice in the back of any disillusioned youth’s head en route through battleground life:

I, recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone, yeah. I, recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone; I certainly do. Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill). It feels so good (swimming in your stomach). Wait until the dust settles. You bleed you learn, you scream you learn. You live you learn; you lose you learn.

It’s all about the little things, making the most of the mundane, if only for the sake of making something out of nothing – “life is plain; no pain, no gain, if I could I would resurrect: kurt. cobain.” *snap* *snap*

Unforgettable, Vol. 14: DJ Danger Mouse – The Grey Album

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

danger-mouse-1008-def-46758961

Venturing out of the kaleidoscopic jungle fever pitch of M.I.A.’s Arular we find ourselves at the concrete crossroads between Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects and London’s Abbey Road with DJ Danger Mouse’s brilliant return to basics, the masterful Jay-Z versus The Beatles mash-up, The Grey Album. The Grey Album is a cataclysmic crux of two epic absolutes: The Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album with the rhapsodic rodent at the helm. Burton blurs the lines and illuminates the bonds between good and d’evils to create a gritty grey area – platinum records sans the shine.

The Grey Album is a cultural reflection and blueprint. It is a hybrid of two artistic absolutes: Jay-Z’s Black Album as the pitch black to which he faded – the close to a career, the retirement, the sendoff, the assumed end; The Beatles’ White Album as their rebirth – the first album after the death of their manager Brian Epstein, and the first album on their own record label Apple – donning a pure white album cover with nothing but “The BEATLES” in black. The mash-up flips the roles and sees Hov’s requiem lyrics as a renaissance.

Unforgettable, Vol. 13: M.I.A. – “Arular”

Soundtrek, Uncategorized

m_i_a__wallpaper_kala_style_by_amphyy

Where we left off with the sonic schizophrenia of Kenna’s face, we now delve into M.I.A.’s socially schizophonic scape. Maya Arulpragasam came onto the scene in 2005 with her debut, Arular. M.I.A. mirrors the past – leading by sample – and marks the future. From sound to sentiment to style, she lays the groundwork for the new underground of which she spoke in NME

In people’s hard drives and their brains, it just hasn’t been outputted yet. We need a digital moshpit like we’ve never seen, harder than how people were doing it in the punk era. We need that energy, but digitally. It’s coming.

On the brink of her third album, and apparent rebirth, it’s important to see that we still have the same M.I.A. – with the same perspective – in a different package.

Arular came out when I was a freshman in college, and – in conjunction with the urban landscape of Manhattan as my backdrop – was instrumental in my musical maturation. Just as New York is a microcosm of the world, so Arular was a concentrated synthesis of sounds and global societies. Just as I was cementing my identity as a world citizen, so Arulpragasm was constructing our cultural identity.

M.I.A.’s eponymous track – “Untitled” – marks her signature as much as ours: a general in the midst – and at the helm – of a lost generation. More so than most, Maya embodies this era: missing in action – we may not know where we are or what we’re doing, but we’re doing it big. Arular is that electronic indigenous sound of an era on the cusp of tradition and innovation. As M.I.A lays down her blueprint electronic to lead a tribe in the midst of unparalleled transition, so Arular reflects that ambiguity in being born free.

Unforgettable, Vol. 12: Kenna – Make Sure They See My Face

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

kenna2bd4a06dd457024700ba5dee14d44b35

GLADWELL: Welcome to Blink Radio. I’m Malcolm Gladwell and we’re here with Kenna who’s just about to unveil his newest work on the masses. Hello Kenna.
KENNA: Hello Gladwell.

Where Lupe Fiasco took a grip on reality and let his cool set the pace, Kenna Zemedkun pushed his mind to a fever pitch and made sure the world saw his face. Make Sure They See My Face is sonic schizophrenia. Kenna runs the gamut of sounds, styles, and sentiment in this psychotic masterpiece expressing the brilliance in bi-polarity.

Make Sure is a true catharsis, Kenna literally explodes onto the album with “Daylight,” a track best described as a sonic corona crowning an eclipse. The beats are bombastic funk; there’s synth riding along with acoustics, stratospheric effects alongside static bass, but it makes sense. From the ground up he takes solace in the places where most artists steer clear: the crazy. The only structure here is stream-of-consciousness, but with that he lets go and lets the listener into his mind – no matter how mad it may seem.

GLADWELL: Without being too aggressive, and after hearing a little bit of what you’re doing on this euphonious ride, you seem a little all over the place. Is there a reason for that?
KENNA: Well, that’s a good question. I… think maybe I’ve just been a little… schizophrenic.

Make Sure is Blink Radio. Though it is Kenna’s second album, it is his phonic first impression. From one blink to the next Zemedkun gives a track-by-track, beat-by-beat snapshot of his artistic identity; and for every blink, there is a sonic boom.

THE DROP: M.I.A. and Lady Gaga – Where’s the Beef? An analysis…

TK:ATL

miagaga

This isn’t a drop: it’s a deluge.

M.I.A. sat down with NME to take a stand on where music is headed in the coming decade. Most saw her choice words, as choice cuts of beef served up at the table of Lady Gaga. However 1) Pop Stars don’t eat and 2) any avid reader and Pop Culture connoisseur would see that the article is not so much a direct attack on Gaga, as it is a misdirected critique of the mainstream, and industry in general; so that leaves the beef: untouched. M.I.A. is a major artist, an iconic figure from the past decade, commenting on the future of music; the future of music as we know it is Gaga, and so what better case study to reference than the Lady herself? Where the response has gone array is in people’s general lack of perspective on the artists, and the art form. Brass tacks: I read the article and thought I was reading a self-deprecating dialogue between Gaga’s Fame and Monster… some sort of existential exercise in literary catharsis for her new album… I don’t know. M.I.A. and Lady Gaga are a theoretical tandem, they share a Pop iconography. They both represent the future of music from the Sri Lankan hood to the Haus. Point/Counterpoint: for every question NME posed, and every response M.I.A. gave, Gaga has been posed a similar – if not identical – question, and below are her answers: verbatim. Before you pick a side, let this be your guide, a little Pop primer that gives reference points and poses the biggest question of all: “so wait, where is the beef?”

 

NME: Do musical tribes still exist?

M.I.A.: “There aren’t tribes any more – how can there be when we all live in computers, on social networks? People listen to and access music differently now, so the tribal thing has to be reformatted.”

Lady Gaga:People believe electronic music is soulless – and it’s not. Do you know why I know it’s not? Because the soul that I feel from my fucking beautiful fans at my show cannot be a lie – it can’t. I’ve never in my life seen the intensity in their faces – I mean they bloodsuck and kill to be together; I mean there’s glitter, and there’s sweat, and there’s dancing, and there’s hairbows, and they believe in it so much and it’s real. In those moments: it’s real; and they bring my music to life.”

My Two Cents: Tribes exist, and both M.I.A. and Gaga are tribal leaders (paws to lil’ monsters). The firewire sparked the bonfire around which the new musical tribes dance; the future of the musical tribe? Gonna be okay.

Unforgettable, Vol. 11: Lupe Fiasco – The Cool

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

lupe_fiasco

Whatever it was that N.E.R.D. was in search of: Lupe Fiasco found with his 2007 release The Cool. What is Cool? Cool is a living contradiction. Lupe doesn’t avoid the nature of Cool – he clutches to it like an insomniac to the other side of the pillow. This album lives The Cool through and through.

They thought it was cool to burn crosses on your front lawn as they hung you from trees in your backyard. They thought it was cool to leave you thirsty and stranded, Katrina! He thought it was cool to carry a gun in his classroom and open fire, Virginia Tech, Columbine – Stop the violence! They thought it was cool to tear down the projects and put up million dollar condos, Gentrification. They think it’s cool to stand on the block hiding product in their socks to make quick dime bag dollars. They think it’s cool to ride down on you in blue and white unmarked cars busting you upside your head. Freeze… ‘Cause the problem is we think it’s cool too. Check your ingredients before you overdose, on The Cool…

Unforgettable, Vol. 10: N.E.R.D. – In Search Of…

Soundtrek, TK:ATL, Vinyl Cut Prose

NERD+Lapdance-295520x

“No one ever really dies… You believe that? Well, if not – for you – it’s almost over now.”

Where we left off with Justice’s French futuristic opera, we pick up with the album that almost was an electronic “eh,” but instead became a funk-infused flashback that found more in searching than most others did in attaining.

Pharrell “the Imperial Skateboard P” Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley, better known as N.E.R.D., while on the brink of The Neptunes’ next-level stranglehold on Western radio, retreated to Europe to release their highly anticipated debut album as a trio. Then, as modern lore has it, they recorded the original as an electronic album, decided it was trash (read: American Top 40 Treasure), went back in the studio to record the album with live instruments, and shipped it as a proper international release.

In 2010, in the spirit of moving on to the next one: I say we all embark on a similar search.

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?

4dc57034f388eebe_brit-awards-nominations

Unforgettable, Vol. 9: Justice – †

Soundtrek

justice technicross

At a time when nothing was sacred, everything real was artificial, and “America” was the culprit: we found freedom in the music – we found our Jesus and our Kubrick. Justice’s 2007 release Cross was the literal presentation of Arcade Fire’s standout album; the neon bible was authentic synth soul. The French came to the rescue again – via Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay – in a musical Yankee liberation movement. Cross was the 21st Century Lady Liberty, a shining beacon of hope for the sonically stranded stateside souls. Before Justice, it was just us brother – lonely.

When something falls out of place, take your time and put it back… to the start we go as Cross opens with “Genesis.” This is the kind of track that takes you back to confession, kneel before the turntable altar: because Justice is taking you to Church – not merely metaphysical, but a complete out-of-body spiritual experience.

A Dime, A Dozen: Lady Gaga and Kanye West – Monstrous Mavens

Soundtrek, TK:ATL

And then there were two: Lady Gaga and Kanye West – the only two.

1200px-Fame_Kills
Lady Gaga and Kanye West are the artists of the decade not only because they embodied Pop culture, but because they were integral catalysts engaging and propelling those artists and works that built this decade’s Pop landscape. Madonna and Jay-Z set the blueprint from a dictating parental standpoint. Gaga and Ye set the blueprint directly blazing the path, as conductors leading the way for the new creative class of which they themselves are members. They didn’t need a subtitle outside of their own names because their names are Pop – however, one can’t resist an alliterative play-on-words.

Lady Gaga: Pretense: Lady Gaga as we know her was created – not born – in 2006. Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” depicted the goddess’ epic emanation from the ocean. Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual passions, blew the goddess of love, sexuality, and beauty onto the shore. Lady Gaga emanated from Stefani Germanotta. Bowie, Warhol, Queen, and Lady Starlight – symbols of pure Pop Glam passions, blew the modern iconography of love, art, sexuality, and beauty onto the world’s greatest stage: New York. Gaga is only three years old, but her creator was as integral to Pop Art – within this or any decade – as her creation – if only because of the masterpiece she made.