Posts tagged "1"

A dead dolphin would not be the strangest thing ever found in the waters of New Jersey, but it is probably the strangest thing found outside Jon Bon Jovi’s house.  The dolphin was part of a family that had been trapped in the Jersey waterways for several months, and Federal officials resisted moving the dolphins to the ocean despite the protests of rescue groups.  And now they’re dead, or one of them is, anyway.  Bon Jovi plans to record a country crossover hit entitled “Tuna Reminds Me of You (Dead Dolphin)” to commemorate the event. [WCBS]

YouTube’s Take On Columbine Is Predictable Yet Disturbing

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  I was curious to see if there were any tribute-style YouTube clips about the event, since it did take place before the advent of widespread online video.  Surprisingly, there are quite a few; more surprisingly, most are not altogether different from the graduation montages I looked at a little while back.  Both are sort of sad, wistful, and nostalgic, and accompanied by very similar tunes–but instead of fun in the sun, you get pictures of horror and loss and death.  But then they take an odd turn.  Let’s take a look.

Sarah McLachlan, “I Will Remember You”

McLachlan’s song is mixed in jarringly with audio from news reports; the two don’t really blend, and it results in making the song sound sarcastic.  If like Negativland or something put this out, it would make total sense.

Evanesence, “My Immortal”

This video has a Christian theme to this one, and is ostensibly related to the Virginia Tech shootings as well.  Maybe that’s why people made these videos after the fact?  There’s a similarly themed clip using Roxette’s “Never is a Long Time,” as well.

Rufus Wainwright, “Hallelujah”

Another creepy one, this one mixing the song with audio of the goddamn 911 calls.  (“Hallelujah” comes up in tribute videos for sad events all the time, of course.)  Again, there’s a Christian theme; this clip has a particular focus on Cassie Bernall, the girl who, the story goes, was shot after saying she believed in God.

Anouk, “One Word”

This song seems to be about regretting that you did not help someone who committed suicide, which is kind of weird given that the shooters were the ones who killed themselves at Columbine, but I guess that’s cool too.

Amy Grant, “Behind the Eyes”

Writes the creator: “In April 1999 I was stunned by the tragedy that took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. I didn’t have access to any media programs back then, but I created a PowerPoint accompanied by a song on a CD. It was a way to channel my grief.”  So that’s why they’re still popping up, I suppose.

Marilyn Manson, “The Nobodies”

And at this point, the videos began to take an odd turn: They began to be pro-shooters.  Manson, of course, was notoriously blamed for the incident, and instead of an ironic juxtaposition here the idea seems to be that the killers had the right idea.  A comment: “RIP Eric & Dylan.  They were the true victims.  They were bullied like fuck.  And they must have been bullied like hell if they came to the point where they had enough and was filled with so much rage and revenge that they killed those kids that made them depressed and treated them like nobodies.”

Michelle Featherstone, “God Bless the Child”

This one is just a mess, mixing a sad piano song with 9/11 calls on the audio, and then mixing news footage with statistics about gun violence and, I shit you not, scenes from One Tree Hill.  The on-screen text says things like “Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society; between 15% and 30% of students are bullies or victims.  On April 20, 1999, two men fought hard against it, resulting in one of the most horrific days in American History.” (All [sic].)

Superchick, “Hero (Red Pill).”

Writes the creator: “I think it’s very fitting, bullying was one of the main reasons for the shooters to commit suicide and take as many lives with them as they could.  But that doesn’t mean Eric and Dylan’s actings are justified.  I’m sorry for my bad English.”  The song is certainly anti-bully, losts of violence and things.

What to make of all this?  A few things, I suppose.  One would be that making tribute videos seems to be a way for people to work out their feelings in general about events unrelated to those being paid tribute to, given that most of the videos here were made long after the fact.  To memorialize someone who died in a meaningful way seems like an opportunity to either mitigate or encourage your emotions. 

But another thing would be that Columbine still seems to be powerful iconography for teenagers.  It’s hard to think of another shooting where the killers are actually mourned by anyone who didn’t know them, and despite the brutality and horror and general craziness of the Columbine shooters, their rhetoric and justifications seem to have a continued resonance with today’s youth.  Teenagers are not known for their empathy, of course, but it’s still interesting that they seem to find some justification for murder, identifying only with the shooters rather than the random teenagers who were killed.  The Columbine shootings served as a catalyst for making bullying a cause worth fighting against.  And, of course, from another angle it very much is: recently a young boy killed himself after being bullied for being “gay.”

But at the same time, of course, it’s hard to see the Columbine shooters as heroes except from an action-movie kind of perspective.  And teens seem to treat them that way, as almost freedom fighters. 

I am no stranger to these sorts of attitudes; as you may have guessed from my post about the Butthole Surfers, I did not have the most pleasant middle school experience (though high school was mostly OK).  Columbine was a big deal to me when it happened, maybe just because I was not used to seeing people like me in the news.  Teenagers taking revenge on those who wronged them is an undeniably romantic image: that’s why it was so effective in Heathers, certainly one of the best movies ever made about being a teenager.  But I didn’t expect it to have such legs.  Ten years later, despite being eclipsed in scope and horror by other events, it remains resident in our national pysche.  Maybe this is because, unlike other shootings, this one didn’t seem like just senseless violence, mental illness transformed into death.  No, Columbine had meaning.  But as it turns out, of course, it was meaning created by someone suffering from mental illness.  The lucid insane have an odd ability to catch and hold our imaginations, and that, I suppose, is why they’re so dangerous.

Do We Blame the Columbine Parents? [NYT]

Perry Farrell Knows How To Keep His Name In The Press

Jane’s Addiction leader Perry Farrell has decided to save the complaints about his band’s upcoming reunion tour for conversations with reporters: “I’m not going to tell you it’s been all smooches and hugs. But it shouldn’t be because that would be a bore,” he told a Reuters writer while hanging out at Coachella over the weekend. And lo, a new angle for his band’s jaunt with Nine Inch Nails this summer–one that had nothing to do with Trent Reznor’s digital strategies for distributing his records or sniping at other ’90s alt-rock survivors–was born!

“If my band didn’t have issues, if they didn’t throw tantrums, I would think I was with a bunch of suckers. As long as they can handle it, I can handle it. After all we’re just delivering music that people love, so how bad can it be? It could be worse. We could be drafted.”

Drama and historical perspective–not to mention an opening for a reporter to craft a lede about “war”? Oh, Perry, you know how to open the door to 700-word profiles, don’t you. But don’t worry, those of you holding tickets for the NIN/JA tour (which starts May 8) (in case you forgot): Everything’s going to work out.

“I just talked to Eric man-to-man. We’re different people, that’s okay. He serves a different purpose, he’s got a different frequency he operates on. I’m overjoyed that we’re working together. I don’t care that we butt heads as long as when we hit the stage we blast on people.”

Later Farrell told the Reuters reporter that his band had a “small, five-year window left” during which they could milk the nostalgia cow capture the imaginations of those who were still nostalgic for the 1990s. Wait, does this mean that we’re going to have a Satellite Party reunion once 2014 rolls around?

Bitter feuding mars Jane’s Addiction reunion [Reuters]

Will Kelly Clarkson’s New Single Hook Up With The Top Of The Charts?

The ridiculously enjoyable “I Do Not Hook Up” has been teed up the second single from Kelly Clarkson’s All I Ever Wanted, and all systems so far seem to be go. The song is (deservedly) gaining steam on radio (it’s up to No. 28 on Mediabase’s Top 40 airplay chart), and a video for the track (after the jump) illicitly premiered this weekend; it’s also been added to MTV’s newly re-existent playlist. But will it top the Hot 100 like its pole-vaulting predecessor did?

Last week Mike wrote about the possible demise of the one-hit wonder in current pop, but if you talk strictly about chart performance, it would seem that even the most established pop stars can fill the role of the one-hit wonder for at least the course of an album’s promotional cycle. Madonna’s follow-up to the Hard Candy lead-in “4 Minutes” peaked at No. 57 on the Hot 100; Mariah Carey’s “Bye Bye,” which followed “Touch My Body” in the E=MC2 promotional parade, peaked at No. 19. And even successful follow-up singles like Beyonce’s “Halo” have had to reach the pop chart’s upper echelons at a slower pace than their predecessors.

What’s to blame more than anything? Digital-track sales, which seem to peak for established artists before their albums come out–when demand for new material for each artist is at its highest. “Hook Up” hasn’t hit the iTunes Top 100 yet, despite it being available a la carte as part of its parent album All I Ever Wanted; this may change soon (the very unscientific “popularity” metrix on iTunes has it outpolling the older “My Life Would Suck Without You”), but one wonders if sales (and illicit acquisitions) of the album won’t have the effect of cannibalizing peoples’ desire to cop the song for $1.29, thus torpedoing the song’s overall Hot 100 potential.

Katy Perry and Lady GaGa have bucked this trend with “Hot & Cold” and “Poker Face” respectively, but there’s an important distinction to be made between them and Clarkson; they’re both relatively new artists whose initial single-serving hit came after any pre-release hype for their albums. (Which have both sold well–Perry’s One Of The Boys is flirting with the million-sold mark after being available for 43 weeks, while GaGa’s The Fame has moved 659,000 copies after about half a year in stores. It’s probably worth noting that neither of those albums had a week of sales as big as Clarkson’s first-week mark of 255,000.) It seems like it’s harder for established artists to keep their pop careers, well, established in the singles-driven era for more than the life cycle of a single, which could be a testament to both the center falling away and peoples’ increasingly distracted attitude toward pop music.

Kelly Clarkson – I Do Not Hook Up (Video) [Blazing Swarm]

Pink Floyd Will See EMI On The Dark Side Of The Courtroom

Pink Floyd sues EMI over miscalculated royalty payments [Observer]
• Just in time for his album to drop, Rick Ross becomes as bored with 50 Cent feud as we are [XXL]
Madonna‘s horse accident may have been caused by a paparazzo, or some other sort of rodent that jumped out of a bush while she was riding around the Hamptons [Guardian]
Mary J. Blige and Big Boi touring the nation to help people who are upside-down on their mortgages; no word if they’ve reached out to Scott Storch yet [AllHipHop]
• New site you should bookmark alert: The Awl, from friends-of-Idolator Alex Balk and Choire Sicha [The Awl]

This Thursday, the Gospel Music Channel will air a documentary on American Idol‘s effect on the Christian music world, one of those unspoken synergies that’s always manifested itself in semi-uncomfortable ways for those of us not in the evangelical fold. Among the interviewees: Melinda Doolittle, Phil Stacey, and the sister of current Idol annoyance Danny Gokey, who I hope will discuss just how her family’s church claims to raise people from the dead. [AP / Pic via Top Idol]

Ne-Yo’s Bittersweet Record Store Day

The fourth single from Ne-Yo’s Year Of The Gentleman is the despairing breakup ballad “Part Of The List,” and its attendant video is a sad little clip that opens in one of the few remaining record stores in the world and goes into full-on European Vacation Reminiscence Mode from there. And then there’s a twist–one that throws a wrench into the whole space-time continuum of the video, not to mention the awkwardness of the opening scene where Ne-Yo is introduced to his beloved’s fiancé.

Ne-Yo – Part Of The List [Music Video Cast via Antville]

What Records Help You Chill Out?

Last night, between a very annoying Mets loss and a session of bug-searching, I took some time to listen to a side of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour while sitting on (well, leaning up against, really) a bean bag, a cold beer in my hand. And I did nothing else. It was nice! It was also the first time in a long time that I’d just spent listening to a record and staring into space and not doing anything else–not even a crossword puzzle. And today is a beautiful spring day in New York City, one that’s perfect for engaging in similar activities (while being outside). Three records that I need to really pull out and just chill out to sometime soon before I go crazy, after the jump. Feel free to share yours!

Broadcast, The Noise Made By People. Given that the climate in the Northeast is slowly (so slowly) edging away from the winter chill, the clock may be ticking on this album’s seasonal appropriateness. But Trish Keenan’s vocals–icy, precise, removed–are, paradoxically, like warm milk.

George Michael, Ladies And Gentlemen The Best Of George Michael: For The Heart. Yes, there’s a lot of emotion, but there’s also a lot of room to just sink in to the music. Scott MacIntyre, your future is in helping stressed-out hausfraus make it through.

Wye Oak, If Children. The aural equivalent of a fifty-foot featherbed and an endless rainy afternoon. Their new album is going to come just in time.

Just a note: It was way too hard for me to come up with just three of these albums. Can I blame the Information Age?

Clear Channel Coming To The Very Halting Realization That It Pretty Much Screwed Up Radio

Clear Channel has announced that it is going to try and “improve program quality” at all the radio stations that it owns in the country through–gasp–allowing station managers to program their charges in a way that’s relevant to their local audience. Yes, “hyperlocalization”–a buzzword that, since it’s being employed by a bunch of Internet startups these days, must be worth something, right?–is the new name of the game at the radio behemoth. Sort of!

The plan involves improving quality at each station’s day parts — the blocks of time stations use to sell broadcast advertising. Day parts are typically broken up into the 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. morning drive-time segment, the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. mid-day segment, the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. afternoon drive-time segment, the 7 p.m. to midnight segment and midnight to 6 a.m. late-night segment.

Managers will have the latitude to choose content and talent for their stations as a way to generate more audience and ultimately advertising dollars.

“Our programming objective is to increase audience size and engagement across all day parts and all platforms,” says John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio. “At the same time, we face a particularly difficult economy that makes it extremely challenging for some local stations to invest in developing the highest-quality programming and talent. Despite the difficult economy, we see enormous long-term opportunity in investing in things that immediately improve the competitive situation of our stations.”

Of course, any goodwill that those buzzwords garnered is torpedoed by Hogan talking about how it’s great that Ryan Seacrest and his invasion of pretty much every radio market in America are “part of the company’s long-term strategy to strengthen its competitive position,” thus solidifying his position as the most overemployed man in the country (if not the world). So basically CC’s position is “pick your talent, but just make sure you pick our talent.” It’s so… Mafiosish!

Clear Channel works to improve music, on-air talent [Dallas Business Journal]

The 30 Best Kanye West Blingees. How the example at left (which is in animated form at the link) didn’t win the top prize, I have zero idea. [Best Week Ever via goldenfidlr]