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Heartbreak No. 8: John Rich Shills For The Republican Party

Here are Big & Rich, in 2004, on what still might wind up the best album any human beings make in the ‘00s: “People getting’ mad on CNN/Who’s right, Democrats or Republicans?/I don’t care who’s right or wrong/I know a way we can all get along.” Well, the getting along didn’t last long, did it?

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Here are Big & Rich, in 2004, on what still might wind up the best album any human beings make in the ‘00s: “People getting’ mad on CNN/Who’s right, Democrats or Republicans?/I don’t care who’s right or wrong/I know a way we can all get along.” Well, the getting along didn’t last long, did it?

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No. 41: Miley Cyrus, “See You Again”

You wouldn’t think it would happen this way, but the less people care about albums-as-such, the more they settle for “tracks” on hard drives and leave it at that, the less singles feel like singles anymore. Everything is just another song; here one month for its select target demographic, gone the next. But not this one; for long swaths of early 2008 it seemed inescapable.

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You wouldn’t think it would happen this way, but the less people care about albums-as-such, the more they settle for “tracks” on hard drives and leave it at that, the less singles feel like singles anymore. Everything is just another song; here one month for its select target demographic, gone the next. But not this one; for long swaths of early 2008 it seemed inescapable.

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No. 47: Daveigh Chase Sings “The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.” On HBO’s “Big Love”

So, why did they move that bojangle clock so far away from the bed? And what’s a bojangle clock, anyway? Mr. Bojangles danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the South, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band told us once, and in this remarkably unadorned, still-officially-unavailable-on-mp3 rendition of still-a-schoolteacher-at-the-time Donna Fargo’s No. 11 1972 country-crossover pop hit, adolescent actress Daveigh Chase reminds us it’s a skippity-do-dah day, which sounds an awful lot like zippedee-doo-dah, so: Song of the South, right?

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So, why did they move that bojangle clock so far away from the bed? And what’s a bojangle clock, anyway? Mr. Bojangles danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the South, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band told us once, and in this remarkably unadorned, still-officially-unavailable-on-mp3 rendition of still-a-schoolteacher-at-the-time Donna Fargo’s No. 11 1972 country-crossover pop hit, adolescent actress Daveigh Chase reminds us it’s a skippity-do-dah day, which sounds an awful lot like zippedee-doo-dah, so: Song of the South, right?

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No. 48: Jamey Johnson, “That Lonesome Song”

Reviews of Jamey Johnson always call him a country traditionalist, and he is; the guy clearly worships (and draws low sodden anchored-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean vocal influence from) Waylon Jennings, who probably never made an album this great. But calling Johnson a traditionalist ignores certain trappings—in a way, his grey-blurred and desolate album cover, his scraggly pioneer’s goatee, and his use of open space and clanking belfry sound effects align Johnson more with gothic art-metal acts like Neurosis than with anybody else on country radio.

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Reviews of Jamey Johnson always call him a country traditionalist, and he is; the guy clearly worships (and draws low sodden anchored-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean vocal influence from) Waylon Jennings, who probably never made an album this great. But calling Johnson a traditionalist ignores certain trappings—in a way, his grey-blurred and desolate album cover, his scraggly pioneer’s goatee, and his use of open space and clanking belfry sound effects align Johnson more with gothic art-metal acts like Neurosis than with anybody else on country radio.

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No. 51: Justin Moore’s “Back That Thing Up” Video

In the words of one YouTube commenter, “He’s kinda talkin about both her booty and a truck.” Well, yeah—that’d be clear from the chorus that goes, “Throw it in reverse, let daddy load it up,” not to mention the opening line about how some newly countrified city gal is still “scared of that cock-a-doodle-doo.” Arkansas-born Justin Moore’s first (and maybe last) country hit single went to No. 38, and it’s clearly country’s answer to “Pull Up to the Bumper.” “Back That Thing Up” has a pretty decent hick-hop beat, too—as 2008 surrogate Big & Rich goes, it didn’t quite match “Holler Back” by the Lost Trailers, but it beat “Ain’t Gonna Stop” by James Otto, easy.

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In the words of one YouTube commenter, “He’s kinda talkin about both her booty and a truck.” Well, yeah—that’d be clear from the chorus that goes, “Throw it in reverse, let daddy load it up,” not to mention the opening line about how some newly countrified city gal is still “scared of that cock-a-doodle-doo.” Arkansas-born Justin Moore’s first (and maybe last) country hit single went to No. 38, and it’s clearly country’s answer to “Pull Up to the Bumper.” “Back That Thing Up” has a pretty decent hick-hop beat, too—as 2008 surrogate Big & Rich goes, it didn’t quite match “Holler Back” by the Lost Trailers, but it beat “Ain’t Gonna Stop” by James Otto, easy.

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No. 68: “Make It Stop! The Most of Ross Johnson”

I’d never heard of Ross Johnson before 2008, though I’d probably heard him—the Memphis journeyman has appeared as a sideman (drummer, mostly) on records by cult heroes like Alex Chilton and Panther Burns and Jon Spencer, which is to say, the kind of records you probably couldn’t help but be exposed if you’ve spent much time in mid-American college-town dive bars over the past 30 years. Make It Stop! The Most of Ross Johnson collects tracks spanning that time, which may make it, technically, a “reissue,” but it doesn’t feel like one, and not only because huge chunks of the hodgepodge had been previously released only as 45s or compilation cuts, if at all.

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I’d never heard of Ross Johnson before 2008, though I’d probably heard him—the Memphis journeyman has appeared as a sideman (drummer, mostly) on records by cult heroes like Alex Chilton and Panther Burns and Jon Spencer, which is to say, the kind of records you probably couldn’t help but be exposed if you’ve spent much time in mid-American college-town dive bars over the past 30 years. Make It Stop! The Most of Ross Johnson collects tracks spanning that time, which may make it, technically, a “reissue,” but it doesn’t feel like one, and not only because huge chunks of the hodgepodge had been previously released only as 45s or compilation cuts, if at all.

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The Script Get A Little Bit Choked Up

Though these Dubliners somewhat amusingly claim to merge rock (or rather, whatever wimpy music silly Irish people erroneously classify as rock) with “hip hop lyrical flow,” their self-titled Phonogenic catapulted up to No. 19 on the Heatseekers chart last week; the £6.99 iTunes price listed on their MySpace page was presumably not a major factor, but every little thing counts. Clearly they are following in Celtic soul-brother footsteps previously laid down by Thin Lizzy and Black 47 and House of Pain and people like that. “Think U2 versus Timbaland, Van Morrison remixed by Teddy Riley,” their bio on MySpace says, and their fans contribute comments written in cryptic Dublin hip-hop lingo: “Alri lads wats d story??,” goes one. “Was doin me business midterm test d oda day nd der was a question on break-even analises r sumfin nd wen i just saw breakeven ur song was n me head n i cudn concintrate, twas gas, i distracted nearly every1 else 2, am auctaly listening ta breakeven now lol!”

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Though these Dubliners somewhat amusingly claim to merge rock (or rather, whatever wimpy music silly Irish people erroneously classify as rock) with “hip hop lyrical flow,” their self-titled Phonogenic catapulted up to No. 19 on the Heatseekers chart last week; the £6.99 iTunes price listed on their MySpace page was presumably not a major factor, but every little thing counts. Clearly they are following in Celtic soul-brother footsteps previously laid down by Thin Lizzy and Black 47 and House of Pain and people like that. “Think U2 versus Timbaland, Van Morrison remixed by Teddy Riley,” their bio on MySpace says, and their fans contribute comments written in cryptic Dublin hip-hop lingo: “Alri lads wats d story??,” goes one. “Was doin me business midterm test d oda day nd der was a question on break-even analises r sumfin nd wen i just saw breakeven ur song was n me head n i cudn concintrate, twas gas, i distracted nearly every1 else 2, am auctaly listening ta breakeven now lol!”

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ohGr Plays With Celebrities, Capitalization

You can tell that ohGr is an extremely creative and artistic band because of the presence of a capital letter in the middle of its name instead of at the beginning, sort of like t.A.T.u.; also, one band member is named cEvin Key, which makes the band seem even more creative and artistic. ohGr’s new Devils in My Details (SPV) tumbles to No. 147 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart a week after entering at No. 18 (and spending a week at No. 9 on the Electronic album chart); one MySpace friend calls it “a bit darker and ominous than the other ohGr albums,” suggesting those earlier ones were perhaps all happy and sunshiney.

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You can tell that ohGr is an extremely creative and artistic band because of the presence of a capital letter in the middle of its name instead of at the beginning, sort of like t.A.T.u.; also, one band member is named cEvin Key, which makes the band seem even more creative and artistic. ohGr’s new Devils in My Details (SPV) tumbles to No. 147 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart a week after entering at No. 18 (and spending a week at No. 9 on the Electronic album chart); one MySpace friend calls it “a bit darker and ominous than the other ohGr albums,” suggesting those earlier ones were perhaps all happy and sunshiney.

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From Britney To Disney (And Beyond): Idolator Plunges Into The World Of Teenpop

Ten years ago this month–Nov. 3, 1998, to be exact–Jive Records released Britney Spears’ debut single “Baby One More Time” (b/w “Autumn Goodbye”) in CD and 12-inch vinyl configurations. Metal Mike Saunders–the most entertaining teen-pop critic of this decade if not human history, not to mention a Certified Public Accountant, not to mention the former singer of L.A.’s greatest early ‘80s punk band the Angry Samoans–had already purchased his copy of the song on promo cassingle two months earlier.

The album came out in January 1999, and by March (as is clear in this 5,000-word Village Voice diary, edited by yours truly), Metal Mike was predicting a multiplatinum long-haul career consisting of 20% music, 50% TV, “and—God help us all—30% s-e-x.” (“The game is over. Set, point, and match… the CD’ll go 3-4 million easy.”) And though nobody could then have anticipated what Britney would turn into (basically, a one-woman circus, as the title of her sixth album, due a week from today, makes explicit), Mike’s predictive math wasn’t all that far off; honestly, Nate Silver would be proud. When MTV aired its final edition of TRL earlier this month, “Baby One More Time” was named the show’s most influential video ever. (Of especially weird note are Saunders’ observations about Britney’s hardcore Protestant upbringing, “I’m better than you are and you’re boring me” facial smirks, and successful Saturday Night Live debut, all of which eerily anticipate Sarah Palin.)

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Ten years ago this month–Nov. 3, 1998, to be exact–Jive Records released Britney Spears’ debut single “Baby One More Time” (b/w “Autumn Goodbye”) in CD and 12-inch vinyl configurations. Metal Mike Saunders–the most entertaining teen-pop critic of this decade if not human history, not to mention a Certified Public Accountant, not to mention the former singer of L.A.’s greatest early ‘80s punk band the Angry Samoans–had already purchased his copy of the song on promo cassingle two months earlier.

The album came out in January 1999, and by March (as is clear in this 5,000-word Village Voice diary, edited by yours truly), Metal Mike was predicting a multiplatinum long-haul career consisting of 20% music, 50% TV, “and—God help us all—30% s-e-x.” (“The game is over. Set, point, and match… the CD’ll go 3-4 million easy.”) And though nobody could then have anticipated what Britney would turn into (basically, a one-woman circus, as the title of her sixth album, due a week from today, makes explicit), Mike’s predictive math wasn’t all that far off; honestly, Nate Silver would be proud. When MTV aired its final edition of TRL earlier this month, “Baby One More Time” was named the show’s most influential video ever. (Of especially weird note are Saunders’ observations about Britney’s hardcore Protestant upbringing, “I’m better than you are and you’re boring me” facial smirks, and successful Saturday Night Live debut, all of which eerily anticipate Sarah Palin.)

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Deadmau5 Builds A Strobe-Lit Trap

“In this world of ever evolving genres, sounds and trends, the word phenomenon is rarely if ever used,” Deadmau5’s bio unreliably asserts. Except in the case of, uh, this clearly phenomenal fellow, whose new album on Ultra, randomly titled Random Album Title, entered the Heatseekers chart at No. 65 last week, then dropped off this week. (His Clockwork EP did debut on Hot Singles Sales at No. 17 in its stead, though.) Very informative explanation of his music, from his Wiki page: “Deadmau5 (pronounced ‘Dead mouse’, birth name Joel Zimmerman) is a Progressive house and Electro house musician and DJ from Toronto, Canada. His extensive discography includes tracks such as ‘Arguru’ and ‘Not Exactly.’” Got that? You may call him Mau5y, you may call him Zimmy, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

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“In this world of ever evolving genres, sounds and trends, the word phenomenon is rarely if ever used,” Deadmau5’s bio unreliably asserts. Except in the case of, uh, this clearly phenomenal fellow, whose new album on Ultra, randomly titled Random Album Title, entered the Heatseekers chart at No. 65 last week, then dropped off this week. (His Clockwork EP did debut on Hot Singles Sales at No. 17 in its stead, though.) Very informative explanation of his music, from his Wiki page: “Deadmau5 (pronounced ‘Dead mouse’, birth name Joel Zimmerman) is a Progressive house and Electro house musician and DJ from Toronto, Canada. His extensive discography includes tracks such as ‘Arguru’ and ‘Not Exactly.’” Got that? You may call him Mau5y, you may call him Zimmy, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

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