I love watching music videos, and I love analyzing art. So this is the first in an irregular, ongoing series where I analyze music videos, and eventually maybe other things. First up is Gotye. Somehow I didn’t know about this song until a few days ago:
Below are my semi-casual analytic thoughts.
2. OK, you don’t want to read any fucking super “Can creative writing be taught?” posts on here so don’t, just skip this link and start pounding avocado into paste (for the guac dip later), but this one has some interesting points and some decent links. So.
Creative writing is about doing the work of writing, and the experimental innovator benefits from time, support, and guidance.
11. Super exchange between John D’Agata and a fact checker, Jim.
Really, Jim, respectfully, you’re worrying about very stupid shit.
7. Jim Ruland over at Hobart is REALLY cheering for the Giants tonight.
2. What’s your AWP book fair budget? I like to take a big bundle of cash and leave my card behind. I bring the card, and it’s butter my biscuits crazy.
3. How to handicap this Superbowl? Brady plays it cool but you can see in his eyes the wake up daily, the “WTF? I own $8,000 flower pots and can do things with my hair. This kicks ass!” Eli looks like he cuts Brady’s yard, and not well. He walks through life in a daze. Brady gets nightly cunninglingus advice from his Brazilian goddess wife (who could buy him out X 20). “Clockwise, fucker!” “Sorry,” he mumbles again as he rubs the back of his neck and walks out back and throws a football through his walnut fence (lands in neighbor’s spleen-shaped pool). Eli likes Applebees but thinks the Wonton Tacos Chicken are “Too dern spicy.” Brady sometimes eats sushi fried, OK? Eli once wrote a complaint letter to Wal-mart (about some frozen waffles that split in half upon toaster entry) but didn’t send the letter because, in his heart, he loves Wal-mart. Brady did attend the opera in Italy last summer, but he also took two Lorcet and a V&T before settling in his seat. Eli is scared of horses (their heads are way too big!). Brady likes to smell the tips of his own fingers. Who knows?
One year ago on February 16, 2011, as Odd Future made their television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, maniacally performing “Sandwiches” in their nerd/hipster-thug stage presence, a girl dressed as Sadako from Ring (1998) and/or its remake The Ring (2002) listlessly stood around in clear view on stage with them, as if recently excised from hikikomori, a “midbrow” pop-conscious nod which I’ve always found interesting, if not brilliant. Where Warhol and Koons seem to didactically curate their references, attached to their affected semiotic detachedness, it is rap’s erratic and somewhat manic collision/collation of culture which is our “true,” or at least more effective commentary. At one point, near the loud climax of the song, cymbals crashing, bros screaming, Sadako cowers with hands over her ears — as if suddenly transported into the NBC studio on 49th street. Though it may be her fault, one imagines, her voluntary entry into our real world as she climbs out of the television, scaring the shit out of everyone in front of their own televisions at home. The artifice’s protective medium of the screen was now broken, its very transgression part of the narrative. And when Tyler the Creator jumped on Fallon’s back as the latter bid his audience adieu, the former made odd (somewhat unfortunate, immune to irony) Blackface expressions with almost apelike movements. It’s hard to know how subtle, if any, his sarcasm was. Was it the self-critique of concession to corporate complicity (a la Cobain’s “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” t-shirt for their Rolling Stone cover), or Tyler simply now had a friend in Fallon, a fellow conspirator in the conspiracy of success. One year later, they are not news anymore, the future turns old; another group of young highly intelligent men in an alt-rock or rap band will be heralded as the real deal. Every generation wants to believe what they see before them on a screen somehow transcends the shallow vapidity from which it cometh, even a cute girl on your floor, actually smiling behind all that hair.
20. Go Tell Fire to the Mountain – WU LYF
I noticed a band with a ridiculous name appearing on music blogs and googled the name. Something like World Unite Lucifer Youth Federation came up and I navigated to their website. The page was cryptic and dark. I watched videos of what seemed like old stock footage under the impossible-to-decipher vocals and heavy drum beats. I downloaded the album, and the next day listened to it while picking strawberries in the rain. It was a Friday and I was cold and my fingers began to prune. Later I would drive to my girlfriend’s house 100 miles away.
19. An Empty Bliss Beyond This World – The Caretaker
After a fight with my girlfriend weeks earlier—I think, or later, or maybe just moments earlier (it’s hard to remember a summer anyway)—I found myself on Facebook deleting the majority of my friends. I needed something to listen to, as the process would end up taking two hours. I put on The Caretaker’s new album and thought I’d made a mistake. It was just sounds, old-seeming sounds, like the musical accompaniment to a 1930s black-and-white Looney Tunes, or Louis Armstrong’s “St. James Infirmary Blues.” Weeks later I listened to it again lying on the ground, and then with my girlfriend in bed, where we agreed we would purchase the record on vinyl the following summer once we got a lease and I moved my record player from my parents’ house to New York.
18. Leave Home – The Men
At some point in the summer I wanted to only listen to loud music. But this record came out before then. Recommended by a friend, it took me three tries to get through the first song, usually stopping the track on my iPod at work before even 90 seconds had passed. When I finally did break through that first song, I listened to the album a lot more, mostly driving, once in my girlfriend’s hometown, after we’d purchased Blizzards from Dairy Queen; I remember she asked who the band was and upon my reply, said, “I thought this was from the 80s.” We would lie in her basement and eat the ice cream until one of us, almost definitely me, started to fall asleep.
I did this sort of post last month. Thought I’d do it again.
It’s Saturday. I’m reading L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine issue #6, which opens with a special section devoted to three chunks from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Michael Davidson offers the first contribution in the issue, which he begins by making a distinction between the two ways that Stein scholars tended to categorize her work (granted this issue came out in 1978, but the categories still seem to be pretty paradigmatic examples of orthodox Stein interpretation): on the one hand, Davidson argues, her writing is seen as all play, deriving strictly out of her early research work with William James and automatic writing and later invigorated by Cubist formalism; on the other hand, her writing is seen as hermetically Symbolist, concerned with encoding sexual and biographical information in complex little verbal machines which contextualize their own environments. Both views, Davidson says, operate on either side of a referential paradigm: one wants her to mean nothing and the other wants her to mean intrinsically. But what makes Tender Buttons so vital, Davidson argues, is not the strategies by which meaning is avoided or encoded but how each piece points at possibilities for meaning.
I like this argument. It’s not about meaning vs. meaninglessness, it’s about exploring the possibilities engendered by the confounding nature of the text.
Anyway, here are five albums (plus two extra bonus albums!) I’ve recently been spinning, which I thought you might find interesting (hint: if you click on the artist and title it will take you to the magic place):
Pitchfork says: “Unfortunately, none of these songs actually feel like songs. Only a few have choruses or any significant chord changes. Instead, they’re set pieces, which makes sense: Lynch’s films often seem to be more about luxuriating in his atmosphere than about following his plots, and that carries over to this music as well.”
Paste says: “What a mess…Crazy Clown Time, recorded in Lynch’s personal studio with engineer Big Dean Hurley, isn’t exactly fart-blank, but this visual master shouldn’t quit his day job.”
The Atlantic says: “Lynch dares to disturb, and that requires a bravery that cares not for our comfort, but for the integrity of the art itself.”
NPR says: “It sounds absurd, yes, and Crazy Clown Time … won’t be for everyone. But you can be sure that no two people will come away with the same experience of this record, and there aren’t many artists working today who can make that claim.”
Gorgeous video debut of my favorite band in Atlanta, Lyonnais, on the occasion of the release of their debut album “Want for Wish for Nowhere” from Hoss Records. This has become one of my favorite records to write to. Highly recommended.
It’s Saturday. I’m working on a paper I’ll be presenting in two weeks at the A.S.A.P. conference in Pittsburgh, entitled: “Gen-Web: The Emergent Literary Coterie.” My goal will be, in part, to bring the current online literary scene to the dinner table of academia. If you should find yourself in PA between October 27-30, you should come by the Wyndham Hotel and catch a panel or two. It’s gonna be a kick-ass conference, because it’s geared toward bleeding-edge research and innovative approaches to literature. The president of the association is a mentor of mine, Brian McHale, who has written extensively about innovative literature, including the seminal volume Postmodernist Fiction. The advisory committee for the organization includes Charles Bernstein, N. Katherine Hayles, Linda Hutcheon, Michael Berube and many other internationally recognized and groundbreaking scholars and distinguished practitioners in the contemporary arts. So the atmosphere should be pretty cool. If you’re around Friday night, for instance, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid) will be giving a plenary session at the Warhol Museum. Not to mention, Friday afternoon htmlgiant friends Johannes Göransson & Joyelle McSweeney will team up with Josh Corey and Monica Mody to present a panel on “The Pastoral and the Necropastoral.”
This post isn’t going to be about that, though. Instead it’s going to be about some music I’ve been listening to lately…
[Those in Pacific Standard Time, click on image if you want to fucking rock out with me, and turn it up you fags.]
LANDAU EUGENE MURPHY JR.
This former car wash employee turned Sinatra-style superstar walked away with $1 million last night after winning NBC’s summer variety program America’s Got Talent.
The West Virginia native will be featured as a headlining act at Las Vegas’s legendary Caesars Palace®, hosted by none other than Jerry Springer.
Watch America’s favorite contestant perform his acclaimed rendition of “My Way” below, and remember, the American dream is not dead so FUCK ALL YOU GREAT GATSBY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD ZEALOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you’re at all familiar with independent music and hip hop, chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about Action Bronson this summer. Hailing from Flushing, Queens, the Albanian-American chef’s debut record Dr. Lecter was received with universal acclaim with its slick, sometimes self loathing, sometimes violent, other times just straight clever rhymes, not to mention his numerous comparisons to Ghostface Killah. Along with the album came a number of music videos, the most memorable of which I’ve chosen to break down with you today.
The video opens with the line “know you broke my heart [something] when you said goodbye to me” coupled with the image of fat being trimmed away from a cut of raw meat. The meat (“carne” in Spanish) represents the carnality of love. As it is trimmed away, then spiced, such is the speaker’s heart and soul cut open, salt rubbed into the wounds. Here, an unconscious woman is revealed in the foreground of Action’s cooking. The literal death of a once meaningful relationship.
All the Albums that Have Been Released in 2011 Thus Far that I Have Downloaded Illegally (with Commentary)
936 – Peaking Lights → I like this, but I’m not gonna get all excited about it.
A I A : Alien Observer – Grouper → This seems like alien music maybe? Just kidding, but am I? I think I liked this.
A I A : Dream Loss – Grouper → This is the same as the other one, right?
All Eternals Deck – The Mountain Goats → Forgettable. Forgiveable.
Angels Exodus – Lil B → Can’t go wrong, but also… can’t remember listening to this ever. Still seems good.
Apocalypse – Bill Callahan → One of my favorite albums of the year. Very funny, very smart. Excellent songwriting by a consistently excellent songwriter. Listened to this walking from East Village to West Village several mornings. Really good music videos.
Maybe you see all these videos and think “I don’t have time for this shit” and while I totally sympathize with that, I strongly suggest you make the time for this video if you have so much as a passive interest in the art of music, which you should because literature is music; cavemen played music; music is probably older than language, probably they are more or less the same thing, which is interesting because it seems to me the only thing separating music from noise is some form of repetition.
Skip to like 4:30 to avoid the usual b.s.
Thanks to my friend Eric Schaefer, who puts out Answering Machine Recordings, for sharing.