Lily Allen - "Sheezus" music video
Must be hard out there for a
bitch troll whose last video single aroused several hundred too many kneejerkin’ thinkpieces (and at least one great one) on race, gender, hips, sweat, freedom of expression, and all the other things rich young liberals can’t stomach anymore. What could possibly be left in the tank for round two? How about the most daring artistic move of the year? One that’s both good and bad… maybe?
See, conceptually, the “Sheezus” video does a bunch of obvious things very well: it extenze Lily’s feminist critique (also maybe homage) of Kanye’s dick-on-a-stick god statement, takes a big fat girly bite out of Kendrick’s smoked beef, and hammers a nail in some Easter time sacrilege for yr indignant grandpappy.
But she also cocks it up pretty bad, right? The take-on-all-comers single that, uh, singles out Rihanna, Katy Perry, Queen B, Lorde, Lady Gaga, and (check those visuals) MIA forgets to be, well, a single. In fact, “Sheezus” is barely a song. No melody, lazy hook, name drop: with nothing to pull up its laces but a heinous menstrual joke. It’s frankly more of a vagina monologue.
Or maybe not. Smart as Lily is, her ‘ha ha ha ha’ self-sample chorus and the video’s terminal hellspawn possession can’t have been accidentally conceived. “Sheezus” might in fact be, please forgive me, some pomo pop goddess blasphemy - a deconstruction to base elements for mockery’s sake. To see what I mean, pretend you’re not a literalist for a second, and read the song as Lily might’ve intended:
No melody (like all you ovah girls), lazy hook (aha! also like the rest of you girls), name drops (like Kendrick, Yeezy and the ovah boys): with nothing to pull up its laces but a heinous menstrual joke (which is something only Sheezus has the balls to try).
Fuck you, indeed.
So maybe it’s ugly on purpose: like dub hits blaring out of each passing car, or that dead guy you’ve got strung up around your neck. Perhaps being vapid is its mass appeal: like Adele or Pat Robertson. And objectification, as in all things, is its pre-existing feminine condition.
Or maybe the two of us are just milking fallacies. I guess it depends whether you’re a believer or not. I’m not even certain I believe myself. Call me an agnostic for now. But Sheezus? Whatever it is or is not, don’t call it a mumback. It’s sure as hell more interesting than that.
Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty EP (Columbia)
Speaking of scripture, wanna know why almost every other verse is more fun to read than Corinthians? Because philosophy is bullshit. Even philosophers are bad at it. And Lorde pity the poor storyteller who gives it a stab. We end up with the stuff like Murray Street, Mein Kampf, Atlas Shrugged and (not that these things are necessarily related) the modern Republican Party.
Now I’m not saying Bruce Springsteen is Hitler. In fact, I sympathize with this here pamphlet, and most of what it signifies. Dylan tries poorly to demure, and let him: Bruce is lefty murica’s bard - truly the people’s poet. And at 64, as citizen of a dying empire (not to mention planet), there’s gotta be a bad desire inside the ol’ Boss to lay down a few timeless hymns: salt of the earth broad strokes landscaping not just the America he lived but the one he was apparently born to run. That’s nothing if not noble.
But lines like “everything in your shadow / turns to vapor / you pierced my heart / like it was paper” weren’t exactly planted in soil fertile as your amber waves of grain. And there’s no award (cept maybe a Grammy) for squeezing into one song as many faceless American tropes as’ll fit. Count with me: in "Mary Mary" there’s a Mary, and a Charlestown, plus a Book of Love, some tattoos, a chorus of black backup gals, a neighborhood of homes plotted 2x2, and a lone ruby slipper. Oh, and the finale’s the most complicated metaphor for a “house” I’ve ever seen. Something about blood, and prisons, the 1%, and a naked lover on a leash. Eat your fucked up little heart out, Poe.
Anyway, you’ll have to listen for yourself. I can’t do it justice. Then again, neither can Bruce - which is particularly tragic when justice is sorta what he’s after. Maybe don’t listen.
Future - Honest (A1, Freebandz, Epic)
I could be forced to take back my claim that the modern pop record is schizophrenic. This Future jam is astonishing. Seventeen producers, and every song sounds exactly the same.
...well, except the two Epic bought him for Easter. The first, an Andre 3K history lesson so misogynistic I began to wonder if A Love Below meant “just some head” after all. Then of course Yeezus’ miraculous return: on a track radically more misogynistic, though it seems by accident. Evidently, in the futures exchange, absolute objectification = a praise supreme. Poor "trophy girl," whoever she is, is just a pretty figure on a spreadsheet. If this is our future, maybe you should listen to that new Springsteen.
Alright, what's next? Let's see… I covered hackneyed political parables, aggressively colorful music videos, deranged production, a woman so ironic she can’t even sing. Oh, right. tUnE-yArDs. Didn’t we throw a guy in jail way back for doing this kind of thing at a movie theater? Are there even jails in Brooklyn, or are the cafes pretty much the same thing? Don’t watch this if you’re prone to epileptic fits. And don’t listen if you’re victim to the plague of rational judgement.
PS. That outro’s the reason some of us are still creationists. Praise be to Sheezus, trophy mother to us all.
tUnE-yArDs - "Water Fountain" music video
140 Character or Less:
AKA Nicky's Scribbles Continued
- What Jason said.
The Beatles - The Beatles for Sale (Parlophone) - The idiot selling you the Beatles says his favorite Beatles song is "America." That's not a Beatles song. But it probably wouldn't have hurt.
- What Michael said.
Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast (Sub Pop) - These boys named themselves before 'Afghan Whigs' could've been a cruel joke about George W.... Though it's clear neither party cares about foreign policy. Or jokes. Or what happened in the 2000s.
- What Jason said.